Instructions for Checkers: How to Play the Straight Variant

Contrary to what most would believe, checkers is not a monolithic term for a single game. Much like a label, checkers refers to a group of board games that share fundamental features that bind them together and more or less group them into one category.

The variations of the game are spread all over the globe and it is very much likely that a player of the popular board game from one country would not agree with another player from a different country as the rules and conventions of the game are very much likely to vary from country to country. Since some countries are more populous and more influential than others, this caused inequality as far as the popularity and the player awareness among the different variations are concerned. Thus, it can be said that 'all variations are created equal but some became more equal than others'.

In the league of those that are 'more equal than others' is the straight variant of the game. It is also known as 'American checkers' or 'English draughts', which are testament to the extent of the variant's reach. The variant is named so primarily because of its preeminence among other variants in the United States and England and given the two countries influence on the rest of the world, it is hardly surprising why straight checkers is one of the most recognizable and widely played variation of the game.

Straight checkers can be seen as the 'vanilla' variation of checkers since most of its features conform as to what most players think of the board game. Furthermore, it also has no features that deviate from the pack save for one rule that can be regarded as atypical among all of the checker variants.

Like all variations of the game, straight checkers is played by two players who each have in their command twelve game pieces, or 'men', which they can use to realize the game's objective, which is to eliminate the other side's pieces or render the opponent's men incapable of moving by blocking the squares where they can land on. The same can be said with the board, as the variation's eight by eight size and colors very much conforms with the ones that are used by other strains of the game.

The rules also play out the same way as in most of the other variants. The pieces move and capture in a diagonal-forward motion unless that piece has been 'crowned', or reached the other end, which then makes it capable of moving and capturing in forward and backward directions.. This movement of the crowned piece in straight checkers can be regarded as its only feature of the variant as the kings in other types of checkers have the capability to 'fly' or move diagonally though any number of squares may they be in a backward or forward direction.

With its popularity and familiarity to most players of the game, one can regard the straight variant lacking as far as uniqueness and individuality is concerned which is rather unfair for the variant as such a view is brought upon only by its exposure and familiarity to the players. Rather, one must realize that such aspects make straight checkers the best introductory variant due to its straightforwardness and lack of relatively complicated mechanics that can be found in other variations of the game.

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