I am totally new to checkers/draughts. I have just learned the rules today, and I have a question about a specific rule: why is capturing mandatory?

What would happen if we changed the rules so that capturing is optional like any normal move? Would the game become completely unplayable?

  • It could be that it is a rule that is beneficial at the starting and high level plays. When starting off your opponent must notify you if you miss a capture and later on you can use forced captures to control your opponents moves potentially.
    – Guvante
    Feb 28, 2015 at 0:20

3 Answers 3


No, the game does not become unplayable.

Years ago, I regularly played without mandatory capture rules, and found the experience enjoyable.

There is also something called the Huffing Rule variant, where the capture is not forced, but by not taking the capture you lose that piece after your turn.


The game does not become unplayable.

In my opinion, for beginners like you I would actually reccomend playing with non-mandatory capture rules. I started out with non-mandatory capture rules and I actually found it thoroughly enjoyable.

Once you've gotten the hang of checkers, move on to mandatory capture rules. With mandatory captures rules, the game goes by faster than with non-mandatory capture rules, which is one one of the reasons why there are mandatory capture rules in moderate to high level play. This is the case because you can use this to control some your opponent's moves, which results in a lot more trading and taking. A friend introduced me to mandatory capture rules just as I'd gotten past beginner level, and I really got the hang of it.

There is something called the Huffing Rule variant, in which capturing is not mandatory, but if you don't capture the piece you forefit the would-be-capturer piece. I find this variant quite stupid, and would very rarely be of good use to a player.


Yes, without the compulsion to jump 8 x 8 checkers/draughts becomes an absolute farce, whereas with it it is as skilful as any mind sport. Also, remember that in the days of huffing, you could always insist that your opponent retracted the illegal move and jumped anyway. Finally, in serious play to overlook a jump is extremely rare and a source of acute embarrassment -like a chess grandmaster not noticing they were in check!

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