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BACKDRAUGHTS RULES v. 3 ( last edit 12.31.2009)



  • Created by Thomas Gale, © 2002 - 2010
  • All copyrights belong to the attributed creators. All rights reserved.
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  • Number of Players: 2
  • Duration: 15-40 min
  • Atmosphere: light racing/capture game
  • Theme: abstracted combat


  • 8x8 grid (chessboard)
  • 10 black pawns
  • 10 white pawns
  • 2 six sided dice (for dice version)


Race to enemy goal and capture opponents who stand in your way.


The first player to have one of her own pawns occupy the enemy's corner-space wins. (A winning player needn't occupy his own corner-space.) Black must enter white's corner-space and vice versa.

A player may also win if the enemy has no surviving pawns.


Place 10 black pawns and 10 white pawns on the board as shown below.

      O O O O  
        O O O  
  O       O O  
  O O       O  
  O O O        
  O O O O      

The opposite corner spaces are the two goals. The other two corners are neutral and serve no special purpose.

White will win by occupying the red square. Black will win by occupying the blue square.



Roll to see who goes first. Players alternate turns.


When it's your turn follow these steps:

1. Roll 1 six-sided die.

2. If you rolled a 1,2,3,4 or 5 then move one of your own pawns a number of spaces exactly equal to the die roll according to the movement rules below.

3. If you rolled a 6 then you have a choice of movement OR capture, but not both!


  • A pawn can only move in a straight line horizontally or vertically. There is no diagonal movement.
  • A pawn must always move the full amount shown on a single die. If this is not possible due to a block, then that piece may not move in that direction at all. Friendly and enemy pawns block movement in this way.
  • A pawn may not voluntarily be moved off the board, nor may it push or jump over other pawns.
  • Multiple pawns may never occupy the same board square.
  • A player must move if there is a possible move. Otherwise the player must pass. If the player passes without moving or capturing any pawns, then the other player has the option of making any legal move for the other player that was overlooked. For example, George is stuck and can't find a move and passes, but Betty sees a possible move and performs the move for George (to his benefit or loss).


If a player rolled a 6 then she has the option to capture enemy pawns or move.

  • If you choose to make a capture then NO movement is allowed on that turn.
  • Choose any one of your own pawns that has enemies next to it and remove all of the adjacent enemy pawns from the game. They are vanquished forever!
  • Diagonally adjacent enemy pawns are always safe from capture. Up to 4 enemy pawns (north, east, south ,west) can be captured in one turn by the same pawn.
  • You may never capture your own pawns.
  • If there are no enemy pawns adjacent to your own pawns then you must move one of your pawns 6 spaces, if possible.


It's Willy White's turn (W). George rolls a 3. George moves a single pawn 3 spaces north.

It's Betty Black's turn (B). Betty rolls a 2. She moves one pawn 2 spaces south.

    W       -  
    -       B  

It's Willy White's turn (W). He rolls a 4. He moves east.

It's Betty Black's turn (B). She rolls a 5. She moves west.

    - - - - W B
W B - - - - -  

It's Willy White's turn (W). He rolls a 6 and decides to capture the nearby black marked with a ---

It's Betty Black's turn (B). She rolls a 6. She decides to capture the 2 nearby whites marked with a ---

          W ---
--- B          

and so on.


"NO DICE MOVE" - Rather than rolling dice players move based on how many pawns the enemy has captured, accordingly:

  • Enemey has captured 0-1 pawns - Move 1 pawn exactly 1 space if possible.
  • Enemey has captured 2-3 pawns - Move 1 pawn exactly 2 spaces if possible.
  • Enemey has captured 4-5 pawns - Move 1 pawn exactly 3 spaces if possible.
  • Enemey has captured 6-7 pawns - Move 1 pawn exactly 4 spaces if possible.
  • Enemey has captured 8-9 pawns - Move 1 pawn exactly 5 spaces if possible.
  • Enemey has captured 10 pawns - You lose the game.

"NO DICE CAPTURE" You may choose to forfeit your move to capture instead, but only if you have no pieces in spaces adjacent to the edge of the board. (i.e. no need to roll a 6).

"TURNING" Turning is allowed as follows:

    • If you move forward and meet an edge or another pawn you must turn and continue on (left or right).
    • You may not move backwards.
    • If you are blocked again further on then you must continue making left or right turns until your full movement is used or you can't move further. If you get stuck you stop there.


This game struck me rather suddenly and very recently. [well, when I first wrote this it was 2002] I came up with domino version first but liked the dice version better because it was simpler. It stemmed from using the two valued sides of a domino as movement costs. At first I tried setting up the board with 8 pawns per side and with the pawns starting position aligned along the edge as in chess. It was a race to get to the other side, But I thought of corner checkers and the game seemed better in theme with the "must bend rule". The name of course is a mix of backgammon (taking the race elements and the dice and the "kidnapping") and checkers which is also called draughts (8x8 grid and similar corner checker setup). Hence, Backdraughts. Originally the pieces were to be eliminated upon adjacency, but I preferred the kidnapping as the balance is offset too quickly otherwise.

Differences between version 1 and version 2. Version 2 is much simpler. Maybe too simple? Version 1 had a player roll 2 dice on his turn instead of just 1 die. If a player rolled doubles rather than just a 6, then adjacent pieces could be captured. Bringing back lost pieces has been removed in version 2. Formerly you could return pieces to the game by rolling doubles but this prolonged the game too much. Sixes were a frustrating roll in version one and the 2 moves in one turn also led to complicated moves.

Optional diceless and turning rules added for versions 3. Untested. I wonder if it would be better on a smaller board with fewer pieces. The no dice rule is intended to do away with annoying randomness and allow for a bit of balancing for the losing player, as you are able to move faster the worse off you are. The optional turning rule is added to speed up the game and add some interesting ricochets. I changed the setup to allow for faster play and b/c of the optional capture rule.

Please, please let me know if you actually played this game. Email: tomgale@)

version 1 last edit 8.9.2002

version 2 last edit 1.28.2004

version 3 last edit 12.31.09



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