Altdeutsches Damm-Spiel (Old German Checkers Game), also known as Altdeutsche Dame or (outside of Germany) as Gothic Checkers and Gothic Draughts, probably derives from the 17th century. Some people claim that it might have influenced the creation of Turkish Checkers and Frisian Checkers. "Damm" may be either a dialect form of "Dame" (lady) - the "King" in German Checkers, or it may refer to the "Damm" (i.e. the dam), which is formed by the men before the start of the game.
The game was implemented on BrainKing using rules that are not compatible with the German sources.
A German checkers player wrote in 1769 (in German):
"Das Dammspiel ist nicht weniger edel und hat in gewissen Stükken vor dem Schachspiel in so weit den Vorzug, als man nicht gar so vieles mit einer lebhaften Einbildung sich zu schaffen machen darf, wenn man es rein und nach den Regeln spielen will. Seine Stärke besteht darin, daß der Spieler bei gewissen Zügen die ganze Pathie seines Gegners, die er auszuführen gedenket, muthmassen und auch wohl, als gewiß, bestimmen kann."
The game is played on a chess board. The lower right corner square ("White") must be dark.
The 16 men of each player are on their first two rows. One player rules the white men, his opponent the black men.
White starts. Players then alternate moves.
The men move diagonally forward to the next square, when nothing can be captured.
When a piece reaches the furthest row from the player who controls that piece, it is crowned and becomes a "Damm". One of the pieces which had been captured is placed on top of it so that it is twice as high as a single piece.
A Damm moves in any direction like a King in chess.
A piece making a capturing move (a jump) leaps over one of the opponent's pieces, landing in a straight line on the other side. Only one piece may be captured in a single jump; however, multiple jumps are allowed on a single turn. The direction may be changed each time, but 180° turns are not permitted.
The pieces are not removed during the jump, only after the whole move.
The men may jump sideways, diagonally or straight forward, that is, in five directions. The Damm may jump in any direction, forward, backward or sideways, that is, in eight directions.
Captures are mandatory. Players must continue to capture as long as they can and they must chose the sequence, which captures most.
A player wins the game when the opponent cannot make a move. In most cases, this is because all of the opponent's pieces have been captured, but it could also be because all of his pieces are blocked in.
The chess notation is used to record games.
In recent times players in Germany have started to use "flying" Damms: they can move freely multiple steps in any direction (like a Queen in chess) and may jump over and hence capture an opponent piece some distance away and choose where to stop afterwards, but must still capture the maximum number of pieces possible. This leads to a very interesting and highly challenging game.