Dam Haji….. It’s Like a Combo of Checkers and Chess Altogether
Dam Haji I saw being played in Penang Malaysia and they just called it Dam (pronounced Dom).
-The game is played on a 12X12 checkered square board with dark and light colours. (Checkers and chess is played on 8X8)
-Each player has 30 pieces that are placed on the dark squares in the first 5 rows in front of you.
BASIC RULES & How To Play
-To win you must jump and eat all the other oponents men. You do this like checkers…. If there is an open man diagonal from you (this means there is an open space behind it) you can jump it and eat the man (take off the board), if there is another open man right or left ahead you can jump and eat that one too.
-In the begining of the game you take turns moving only one square at a time or jumping. You are trying to get to the oposit side to become crowned (your oponent will add another one of your pieces on top to show it’s a king)
-This is when it becomes complicated…. the Kings can moves much differently from regular men. Kings can slide along diagonally and can move anywhere along a diagonal line if it’s clear. If there is an oponent open they can slide over and eat that man AND can continue to any black square after that, AND can change directions forward or back diagonally IF there are any other open pieces. As long as the King eats a man in any direction they can continue as long as they can. (I saw someone in Penang take over 9 men once it was crazy. Watch this video several times to see it in action.
-Example of this…. Say you are playing with a black King that is on the corner right side across the board, and your openent has a piece 5 squares towards you…. the black king can slide over and eat that man, and can stop any square after that as long as the space is not blocked. If there is another open man in that line it can be eaten as well, OR if there is one in a diagonal path (say 2 squares furthur on that line and then over one square back on the left, and again can keep going and change directions if there are any more open.
-If there is a jump you MUST take it even if it sets you up to be eaten. If you have more then one jump here is the protocol of which one you must take…
-If there is a jump with a regular man and a king the King MUST always go first
-if more then one king has a jump then the one with the most jumps must go
-if it is regular men then whichever has the most jumps.
-If you miss a jump your oponent can remove your man (or if your nice tell them they missed it, if both players miss it for awhile you can decide what to do?)
ABOUT THE GAME
This game is seriously adictive and once you get the hang of it you can start to see the strategy. a hint that could help is try to keep your men moving in groups so that you are not an easy target to be jumped. Also try to guard the black sqares in front of you to prevent the oponent becoming a king.
If you want to start slow to get the hang of it you can start ona regular 8X8 board with 12 men each. It’s faster and you can get the hang of it but not nearly as exciting as with the big board.
In Penang Malaysia I would sit around watching all the old guys play on the ground down the street from my Indian restaurant hang out. They used beer caps for there pieces and it’s a serious gambling game. The men were really nice and friendly and the ones watching explained the rules to me. When other tourist came by and asked to take photos or ask questions they were very nice….. however they got very pissy when people came up and interupted the game or shoved cameras in there face. I miss them, and hope that I will see them again. Also I hope to improve on my game before I travel back to Malaysia :).
Enjoy the game :). And if you see any better videos showing it please send a link :).