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Game Review


Ages 8 and up
Game ©1997-2001 Pardee Games
Date reviewed: 2/14/2005
game board

2 Players 30-60 minutes


Combine elements of Checkers, Backgammon, and Chess  -- race to move your pieces to the finish or trap your opponent's king to win.


The goal of the game (in general) is to move your pieces to the other end of the board following a zig-zag path. The path is best described by looking at the quick reference card provided, but basically alternates solid color (matching the player) and intersection of squares. 

Players have two types of pieces at their disposal -- regular pieces and a king.  Kings may move backwards at any space on the board, and count as a stack of two normal pieces.

Each player's turn has two phases:

  1. Dice movement

  2. Jumping

On each turn, the player rolls their two 6-sided dice.  Players may move pieces based upon the number rolled.  Like Backgammon, each die may represent the movement of separate pieces, or may be combined to move a single piece. A roll of doubles allows double movement ( ex. double 3s will yield four movements of 3.) Pieces may only enter the finish section of the board by an exact count, and once they arrive in the finish, they cannot leave.

As with Backgammon, if all of your pieces are within 5 spaces of the finish, then you may move the furthest piece into finish when you roll a 6. Check the official rules for the full explanation.

During the dice movement phase, you may use your pieces to attack your opponent.  If you land on an intersection occupied by your opponent's piece(s), their pieces are sent back to start. However, in order to do this, you must land on the intersection with the same number (or more) of pieces as your opponent.

You may stack up to four pieces together at a time.

If you attack an opposing king, the king will not be sent back to start, rather it is flipped and changes to your control.

If a player successfully uses all of their dice movement, they may enter a jumping phase.  One piece (or one stack of pieces) may jump per turn. You may only jump over your own pieces that are located on intersections of the board.

You may not jump out of start or into the finish area.

The first player who moves all of their pieces to the finish, wins.  However, there is an alternate method of winning.  If you capture your opponent's king in a configuration called a chebache, you end the game.

A chebache is formed when you control three consecutive points on the board in the form of  intersection, solid color, intersection. The chebache formation causes two things to occur. First, your opponent may not land on the space controlled by the chebache formation -- (usually an adjacent solid color space).  Second, if there are pieces trapped in the chebache, your opponent has one turn to move them, or break the chebache -- otherwise the pieces are returned to start. If the trapped piece is a king  -- the game ends and you win!  The chebache formation may be broken by attacking either of the intersections of the chebache.

Starting setup

Game in play

Winning Conditions:

  • Move all of your pieces to the finish before your opponent

  • or
  • Capture your opponent's king in a chebache

Our Opinion:

Thumbs Up!This is a complex game to describe briefly. If the description seems odd, please check here and read the official rules.  The game itself is a lot like a Backgammon variant.  If you enjoy Backgammon, you're likely to enjoy this game.

The most difficult part of this game is the movement pattern.  The serpentine path takes some getting used to, and it often leads beginners into some strategic errors.  Once you get used to the path, the game really takes form.

Strategically, players must decide between a few tactics -- consolidate your pieces into a few stacks, race for the finish no matter what, or work to maintain a chain of chebache formations to contain your opponent.  When you figure in the roll of the dice, the tactical choices can change every turn.

This game on the surface feels like backgammon -- and if you play the game simply, you can play it just like backgammon.  The biggest two differences that this game brings compared to backgammon is the fact that no stack of pieces on an intersection is ever safe from attack, and that pieces can sometimes move backwards!  When you use these abilities, the game changes drastically from backgammon. 

Overall, we liked the game.  It's well designed and balanced. The box version is well constructed and has a clean presentation that merits the price.  For fans of backgammon-like games, this is an excellent choice. 

There is an online version of the game, if you'd like to try it before ordering the box version. Details can be found at the Chebache website.  We didn't evaluate this version -- but it may be a good starting point if you are curious about the game.

Where to buy:

Visit It costs about US $30.

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