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Subject: A Changed Perspective rss

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George Husted
United States
East Hartford
Connecticut
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I came across this game board in the checkers gallery. It reminded me of a childhood trip to The Cloisters museum in upper Manhattan where I saw real medieval tapestries for the first time. I thought this game board so much like them and it was absolutely beautiful, so I copied the picture and took it down to an office store where I had it printed on parchment and laminated. I had the glass pieces already, so I was ready to try it out.



My wife kindly agreed to play with me. At first I thought it was just going to be a normal game of checkers on a very pretty board...but I was wrong. I was very wrong.

I am used to playing on a standard 8x8 board of alternating light and dark squares. This new board was more than pretty, it was very different. It wasn't displayed in the classic checker pattern. It had more of a rope mesh with knotted intersections feel to it. Somehow, the lack of unused spaces changed the way I thought about movement and opened up new ways of looking at how my pieces supported each other. It was easier for me to see my pieces as part of a line of mutually supporting pieces rather than individual pieces.

I can't really explain it. I know that it shouldn't make any difference whether I play on the standard board or this one, but it really did change how I understood the layout and plays that my pieces could make. It felt a lot more like I was playing Fox and Geese or Asalto or Tigers and Goats on an Alquerque board than it felt like playing checkers. Perhaps for the more experienced players, this is old hat. I admit that I am absolutely a novice player of checkers, so perhaps that accounts for the feeling of epiphany with this board. I don't know. I recommend that you give it a try. You don't have to print out this beautiful board...you can just draw your own and give it a try and see if it doesn't change your perspective on how the game is played.

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The one and only (but one of two in BGG)
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Minnesota
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I saw a different version of this board in a book I once had (maybe still have) on checkers. It had a regular checkerboard look to it, but all the white squares were removed and the black squares scrunched together (they had borders so you could tell them apart). The effect was to show only the usable spaces--just as the "tapestry" board does.

I've read that playing Alquerque on a chess board was just an expedient once upon a time. It just happened to catch on, and most people today think the board was meant for checkers. Actually, the "tapestry" board is more traditional--more in keeping with the game's roots.
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Michael Howe
United States
Cromwell
Connecticut
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I like this kind of board also and used it for the Zillions implementation of my checkers variant "Pommel".
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Benedikt Rosenau
Germany
Göttingen
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I have made the same experience. Representation matters - I play differently on the differently looking boards, although they are isomorphic. I know some people do not like the serrated edges of the reduced Checkers board, yet I tend to prefer that.
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