This is a variant of the popular game of Alquerque, described elsewhere on this site. In the Sahara desert, the board was quadrupled to give the game of zamma, each side having 40 men. There is a common version of the board where some of the lines are omitted from the board. A difference between this game and alquerque is that men may only move forwards, or diagonally forwards, though they can capture in any direction as in alquerque. When a piece reaches the last row, it is promoted as in draughts, and may then move in any direction.
History of Zamma
Alquerque is a game of unknown antiquity which spread around the old world and the new. It had a board of five rows of five points, connected by lines including some, but not all, diagonals. In the Sahara desert, the board was quadrupled to give the game of zamma, each side having 40 men.
The rules were altered so that pieces may move only forwards, until they reach the back row, at which point they are promoted. This implies an influence from the European game of draughts.
Rules for Zamma
1. Zamma is played by two people on the intersections, or points, of the board illustrated. Pieces are set out in the symmetrical pattern shown, leaving just one point empty. Players decide at random who will make the first move.
2. In his turn a player will move a piece one step along a marked line, to an adjacent empty point. At the start of the game pieces may not move backwards (diagonally or otherwise).
3. A piece captures a neighbouring enemy piece by jumping over it to land on the empty point beyond. If a capture is available, it must be made.
4. Once a piece reaches the back row, it is promoted and may then move backwards along the marked lines, as well as forwards and sideways.
5. Having captured an enemy, a piece must make a further jump and capture from its new location if possible. Any number of captures can be chained in this way.
6. The game is won by the player who captures all the opponent’s pieces.