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Damii Draughts

A Game from Ghana
Games from Everywhere
Games from Everywhere

Damii – Ghanaian Checkers & Draughts
Damii (or Dame) dates back on the African Continent to around
3,000 BC and is considered part of the Alquerque style of games.
International draughts is played on a chequered board with one
hundred squares.
Pieces move diagonally, one square at a time, and may capture by
jumping over an adjacent opponent’s piece.
Capturing is obligatory, and if there is a choice of capture, the player
is obliged to choose the move that takes the maximum number of
pieces. This last rule differs from continental draughts and is
frequently omitted in West Africa.
Apart from the obligatory multiple capture, international draughts is
strategically similar to what is played in West Africa. Small
differences, such as playing on the white instead of the black fields,
or a different position of the board between the players, may also be
present. In tournaments, players seem to play faster than average
and show particular resilience in tactical combinations.
The playing style of West Africans has often been characterised as
that of the classic school, with defensive play making them difficult
opponents to beat.
Their fast play and love for combinations in the game have made
them popular with the audience.
Damii is, for a board game, tremendously kinetic and kinaesthetic.

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To begin with, the players are physically linked through the wooden
board that rests upon their knees.

Pieces are not simply moved, but are

moved with style: One might tap a piece
twice on its side and then slam it down;
or slam it down, pick it up, turn it over,
and slam it down again; or slam it down
and then lift up a corner to flick it against
the board.
At the very least, the player will with two
fingers push very hard against the piece
while sliding it to make a satisfying rasping sound against the
wooden board. In any case, a move is not only seen, but is heard.
The game is played so rapidly that it can often sound like a bizarre
miniature tap dance.
Damii is a high-speed affair. Players do not like delays, a player
might knock on the board to indicate that his opponent is taking too
long, shake a handful of captured pieces to indicate impatience or
confidence, dance to the extent that dance is possible with a
delicate board resting on his knees, or beat his chest while shouting
‘Me! Me!’

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Damii is played on a ten by ten board or dame with alternating
squares of dark and light hues, as per an American checker-board
pattern. All play is on the dark squares, which means that only fifty
of the one hundred squares are available for play.
Each player begins the game with twenty men, or mma in the form
of small wooden squares or circles.
Players are placed at opposing sides of the board. The standard
practice is for each player to have a dark square (and, thus, a man)
in the close left- hand corner.
The twenty men are placed on the
twenty dark squares of the four rows
closest to each player. Mma may move
diagonally forward and players take
turns moving, one piece at a time.
The objective of the game is to
eradicate all of the opponent’s pieces.
This is done through capturing.
An piece may capture any opposing
piece diagonal to it, provided that the
square immediately behind the piece to be captured is empty.
If a piece can capture, it must capture.
Having captured an opposing piece, the capturing piece rests one
square past its victim.

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Multiple captures may be made in a single move. Further, though an
aba may not regularly move backwards, it is possible to capture
In international Draughts, if presented with multiple capturing
options, a player is required to capture the greatest number of men.
This is not mandatory in damii though more often than not it is
logical to do so.
When an piece reaches the row most distant from its player, it
becomes a king (flying King). This change in status is indicated by
stacking an piece (aba) of the same shape on top of the newly
promoted piece. Flying Kings (Nkorçma) move differently from men
They may move backwards, as well as forwards, and provided that
their way is unobstructed, they are permitted to move any distance.

If a player fails to take a piece when he can, he forfeits his own

piece. A winner is declared when an opponent only has one piece

Enjoy The Game!

Games from Everywhere

Games from Everywhere

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