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Game Review

A Variant of Draughts
Alvydas Jakeliunas
game illustrated in rules

2 Players30+ minutes


Alva is a variant of Draughts ( For Americans, draughts is more commonly known as checkers.)

The first difference between Alva and traditional checkers is that the board is EMPTY to begin. Players place pieces on the board until they are able to jump their oponnents pieces. The player who captures the most of their oponnents pieces by the end of the game, wins.

The second major difference is that players can jump any number of their opponent's pieces -- having two in a row won't protect your piece. Jumping may be in a horizontal or vertical direction, but not diagonal.


The board is a standard chess or checker board (64 squares in an 8 x 8 grid). Each Player has 32 pieces to use in play.

On his/her turn, a player will place a piece on the board in any square, except the corners or if possible jump the opposing pieces. By the rules, if a player has the opportunity to jump a piece, he/she MUST jump the piece(s).

The game ends when there are no legal moves left.

For the complete rules, click here.

game in play

Winning Conditions:

  • The player who has captured the most pieces at the end of the game wins. (Pieces on the board do not count.)

Our Opinion:

Thumbs Down! If you read the rules to Alva, you'll notice that they are very brief. This is good, in my opinion -- the rules aren't overly complex. The illustration of the jumping rule is particularly helpful in comprehending the rule variant (so I used it at the top of my review).

We were asked to review this game by the author. The author's e-mail address ended in ".lt" which implies that they are in Lithuania...or at least the e-mail account is. This fact will explain the minor English errors in the rules. Don't let that bother you, the game is still easy to understand.

While playing Alva, it quickly becomes apparent that you need to force your opponent to jump your pieces BEFORE they can set up to jump a lot of your pieces. This is much easier said than done with two strategy-minded players in the game. Placing pieces is very important, as is capturing a corner space while jumping. Alva combines elements of Othello, Draughts (checkers), Pente, and Go.

Unfortunately, the rules presented on the web page have changed in the past week. Since then, it appears that Alvydas added a starting position for a few pieces, disallowed jumping sets of two pieces and now allows pieces to be moved on the board other than by jumping. The first two rule changes didn't hurt the game -- actually not being allowed to jump two pieces created more oportunities for players to get pieces near each other. The rule that hurt the game the most was allowing the pieces to move by one space. This disrupted the flow of play in our game -- it also caused the Baronness and I to play the last few pieces for 20 minutes longer than the original rules would have allowed. The game became a drawn out stalemate with the introduction of that rule.

What I would suggest for Alvydas is this: put a version number on your rules -- and put links on your site to old versions of rules. Then, before you update the newest version of your rules, play it several times to see how the new changes will affect the game. Eliminate the new rules that don't work the way you'd like.

If you like Chess, Checkers or Othello, then you'll like Alva. Let's hope that Alvydas can fix his rules problems with Alva and introduce other games in the future. We recommend that you give it a try (I suggest that you don't allow place pieces to move without jumping, though...) -- then let Alvydas know what you think.

Where to buy:

Any local toy store -- buy two cheap sets of checkers if you have to... the rules are free.

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