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Winning At Chinese Checkers: 16 Tips / Strategies / Hacks (for Beginners)

Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by Gamesver Team and JC Franco

If you love board games, you might have already come across Chinese Checkers. Despite its name, Chinese Checkers did not originate in China! This game, also known as Sternhalma, is a strategy board game that originated in Germany. This article’s tips, hacks, and strategies will help you win most of your games. 

When playing Chinese Checkers, you need to get your opening moves right and use strategies to win. Practicing regularly will help you become better at the game. Another hint is always paying attention to the whole board, including your opponent’s moves. 

Chinese Checkers is a great strategy game that you need to practice regularly to win. Let’s look at different tips, strategies, and hacks that can help you win.

1. Get Your Opening Moves Right 

A strong game starts with an effective opening. One of the most basic opening moves is to move one of the front-end pieces inward. This will get you going fast. 

If you start inward, you can make a direct path towards the middle of the board. This move is called the cross caterpillar. You perform this move by moving your piece inward diagonally towards your centerline. 

You also don’t want any isolated pieces. Rather place two pieces near each other than move one forward alone. 

Another basic opener is moving one of the front-end pieces outward. This move is called the Sidewinder. This move can present many opportunities. It also creates a direct route across the board while keeping your pieces close to one another. It allows you to move to unexpected territories. 

2. Jump Rather Than Step

Jumping moves you two spots, and stepping only moves you one. Over some time, jumping can save you a lot of time. Jumping covers more distance. Rather step when it is the only move you can do. 

You can create ladders with your pieces to jump over them and move your piece to the greatest distance possible. However, you will need to plan this strategy and try to guess your opponent’s potential moves. 

3. Play Offense

Playing defense is not the best way to win Chinese Checkers. It would be best to keep moving to get all of your pieces in your opponent’s home base. 

Playing only defense will make it easier for your opponent to adjust their strategy and show you up. Rather focus on jumping sequences and hopping. Sometimes playing aggressive can be rewarding. 

4. Pay Attention To The Whole Board

If you want to win a game, you need to look at the whole board instead of just focusing on your pieces. Consider all the possible moves you can make and consider your opponent’s potential moves. 

Anticipate where each move will take you and look for paths you can take. 

5. Use Groups

Move your pieces in groups while keeping them in the middle of the board. This way, it won’t take many moves to get to your opponent’s side. If you separate your pieces too far from each other, you will have to waste many turns to relocate them. 

Keep all your pieces together in a cluster or line and move them through the middle of the board. You can also make a zigzag line with all your pieces. Then take the last piece in the line and jump over all the other pieces. 

6. Keep It Moving 

Don’t leave any pieces straggling and constantly stay on the move towards the opposing color triangle. If you leave pieces straggling, they can become trapped, and your opponent can stall to move their pieces into place. 

Try to move all your pieces through the center of the board to avoid having stragglers. 

7. Try The Chakra Maneuver 

Executing this move means that you will move down the center of the board from the beginning to the end of the game. It would be best if you played inward and through the center of the board. Ride this line as best as you can. You will need to combine this maneuver with other strategies. 

8. Build A Bridge 

If you build a bridge, your pieces will be able to hop quickly from one end to the other end of the board. You will need to defend the bridge from your opponent, as they will also be able to utilize it. That’s why you will need to block your opponent effectively. 

9. Block Effectively 

Stop your opponent from advancing by moving your pieces to their side to block their movements into your colored star point. It only requires two lines of pieces to block your opponent. This way, the other player cannot jump your pieces, but you will still be able to move forward. 

10. Take Your Time Planning Your Next Move

Chinese Checkers is a strategy game. There is no need to rush it. Take your time when playing this game and consider all your options before making a move. If you rush through the game, you will make mistakes and lose. Rather take some time to think through some strategies. 

11. Don’t Isolate Your Pieces

Don’t leave some of your pieces behind. You won’t win this way. Try to move them together. You risk leaving the piece open to be trapped by your opponent. 

12. Use Trios

You can move three connected pieces together effectively until they link up with your other pieces. Trios are a variation of a bridge. 

13. Anticipate Your Opponent

Try to see if you can’t recognize a strategy or pattern from your opponent. Try to block the other player from their next move. Constantly try to put yourself in your opponent’s shoes. 

14. Slide Inwards If You Are On The Outer Edges

There will be times you are on the outer sides of the board. Skirt yourself as best you can to make it to the opposite side. Then when you’re at the other player’s side, fill it up from the sides.

15. Try Advanced Strategies 

There are so many advanced strategies you can practice once you truly have the hang of Chinese Checkers. It’s important always to use a direct route to fill your opponent’s side with your pieces as quickly as possible. 

You can also utilize a defensive play by keeping one piece at the tip of your star so the other player can never fill it up. But eventually, you will need to move that piece too in order to win. 

You can also create a b-line with your pieces right to your opponent’s side. Cluster your pieces together to force the other player to move around your pieces. Remember, it’s a game of logic and skill. You can also use hop patterns which will allow you to jump multiple times. 

If there is a space between the pieces, you can jump as many of the pieces as you want. But you can only do this if there is a space between the pieces. You may also change directions. 

16. Practice Regularly 

Practice makes perfect. You need to play more to get completely comfortable with the game. Play as much as you can to become a pro! 

Playing this game will also boost your problem-solving skills. You can play with your friends until you are comfortable with the game.

Conclusion

Chinese Checkers is a fun game of strategy that, with regular practice, boosts your problem-solving skills. The more you play the game, the better you will get. Hopefully, these tips, hacks, and strategies will aid you in winning most of your games!

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This article was co-authored by our team of in-house and freelance writers, and reviewed by our editors, who enjoy sharing their knowledge about their favorite games with others!

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco serves as a New York-based editor for Gamesver. His interest for board games centers around chess, a pursuit he began in elementary school at the age of 9. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Mercyhurst University, JC brings a blend of business acumen and creative insight to his role. Beyond his editorial endeavors, he is a certified USPTA professional, imparting his knowledge in tennis to enthusiasts across the New York City Metropolitan area.