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OVERVIEW

Two players, each with nine pieces, or "cowboys," try to form a posse — three of their own pieces in a straight line either horizontally or vertically. Pieces are placed only on the red/blue spots, the color is not relevant to play. Creating a posse allows that player to remove an opponent's "cowboy" from the game. A player wins if the opponent is left with no legal moves or when the opponent has lost all of their pieces.

STEP 1: PLACING THE COWBOYS

Cowboy checkers starts on a cleared board and each player has nine red or black "cowboy" checkers. The players decide who plays first, and then take turns placing their cowboys, one per turn on any empty point. If a player is able to place three of his pieces in a straight line, a posse is formed and he removes one of his opponent's pieces from the board. Any piece can be chosen for the removal, except pieces in an opponent's posse are safe if others are available.

STEP 2: MOVING COWBOYS

Once all the cowboys have been placed, players continue to alternate moves, this time moving a piece to an adjacent point. A cowboy may not "jump" another piece. Players continue to try to form posses and remove their opponent's pieces in the same manner as in step one. A player may break up their own posse by moving one of the pieces out of an existing posse, then moving the piece back to form the same posse again, each time removing one of his opponent's pieces. When one player is down to only three cowboys, step three begins.

STEP 2: MOVING COWBOYS

Once all the cowboys have been placed, players continue to alternate moves, this time moving a piece to an adjacent point. A cowboy may not "jump" another piece. Players continue to try to form posses and remove their opponent's pieces in the same manner as in step one. A player may break up their own posse by moving one of the pieces out of an existing posse, then moving the piece back to form the same posse again, each time removing one of his opponent's pieces. When one player is down to only three cowboys, step three begins.

STEP 3: "JUMPING"

When a player is reduced to only three pieces, there is no longer a limitation of moving to only adjacent points. The player's cowboy may jump from any point to any other vacant point.

WINNING THE GAME

Once a player has less than three pieces, they cannot form a posse and have effectively lost. Games may also end in a draw.

STRATEGY TIPS

It is wise to place pieces in versatile locations rather than try to form posses at the beginning of the game. An ideal position is to be able to move one piece back and forth between two posses, removing an opponent’s cowboy with every turn.

STANDARD CHECKERS INSTRUCTIONS

Visit our standard checkers instructions page!

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