Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Title: Halma
Author: Julian Bury
License: Freeware (donation requested)
Website: http://games.julianbury.com/Halma.htm

Halma is strategy game for 2 to 4 players. If you familiar with Chinese Checkers, Halma is Chinese Checkers played on a square grid instead a hexagonal grid. If not, the objective of Halma is get all of your pieces to other side the board before your opponents do. Each turn, you can move one of your pieces to any empty neighboring square. Better, you can pick a piece and start series of jumps. These jumps can be orthogonal or diagonal. The jumped pieces can be either your or an opponents. So long as the next square is open, you can keep jumping.

The secret of the game is to organize your pieces so that you can make a series of long jumps. Thus minimizing the number of turns needed to get from A to B. With a little experience, you start to notice the patterns which allow for long jumps. The real depth comes from noticing and blocking your opponents' long jump paths.

This version of Halma is sweet and simple. The interface with perfect. Click on the piece you want to move. The possible end positions are displayed. Finish your move by clicking on the end position. You can play with any combination of human and computer opponents.

The biggest disappointment with this game is the computer AI. I had never played Halma before downloading this game and almost won my first game. I have won every game since. Still, I have enjoyed playing against the computer, learning good configurations for allowing long jump sequences.

There is a Halma module in Zillions of Games. It plays a much better game, but I do not like interface nearly as much. Also, it supports only the two player version.