Byopia Press Advent Calendar 2020: Day Three and Stern-Halma

Another updated post today, with the addition of some DIY playing pieces at the end.


I made an artist’s book for the March #areyoubookenough_hexagon challenge on Instagram. It included a game of Chinese Checkers.

In doing some research I discovered that Chinese Checkers are not Chinese at all.

From the Wikipedia entry:

Despite its name, the game is not a variation of checkers, nor did it originate in China or any part of Asia (whereas the game 象棋 xiangqi, or “Chinese chess”, is from China). The game was invented in Germany in 1892 under the name “Stern-Halma” as a variation of the older American game Halma.[6] The “Stern” (German for star) refers to the board’s star shape (in contrast to the square board used in Halma).

If you would like to play Stern-Halma and don’t own a board, you can print a small version. (This is the smaller board used in Japan and Korea.) Download “Chinese” Checkers and print. You will need to use either the ‘Fit to page’ setting or the ‘Center’ setting, depending on your printer. The files will print on either A4 or 8.5 x 11″ stock. If you print on card stock your board will be more durable, but regular copy paper is fine. The black and white version is suitable for hand colouring.

Playing pieces can be made from a variety of things you likely already have around the house: buttons, beans, washers, coins, Chinese lucky stars folded from magazine pages… (The Chinese lucky stars were the easiest to handle when playing. You can find instructions for folding them here.) If you prefer, you can make card stock playing pieces. (See end of post.)

If you are using white beans, you can colour them with felt pen, or watercolours, or even nail polish if you have some distinctly different colours. I marked some navy beans with felt pen. (They were somewhat difficult to handle. A larger bean, like a white kidney bean, would be better.)

You will need a minimum of six pieces —and a maximum of ten— per player. Set up six pieces like this. If you have ten, you can fill the next row as well. Decide the order of play by flipping a coin.

The object of the game is to move all of your pieces from their home triangle to the same colour triangle on the opposite side of the board. Pieces may only be moved along the paths indicated by the diagonal lines on the board. The two possible first moves if starting with the centre piece are shown below.

When a path is blocked by an opponent’s piece or pieces, you may jump them.

Opponent’s pieces may be jumped, as in checkers, but the jumped piece stays in place.

This jump is not allowed.

The winner is the first to get all their pieces in their opposing triangle.

For a more detailed introduction to the rules of play, read the Wikihow article (with illustrations), the Wikipedia article, or watch any of the multiple instruction videos.


If you wish to make coloured playing pieces, print either the third or fourth page of “Chinese” Checkers on card stock. (You can hand colour the circles on the black and white version to match your hand coloured board. The printed colours are intentionally just slightly different than the board colours to make them easier to see.)

You will need six to ten playing pieces depending on which version of the game you want to play. (Extra circles are provided as you may want them later in the month!)

Since a playing piece made with a single layer of card stock is difficult to manipulate, you will need to make your pieces thicker. Cut off one strip of circles in each colour. Cut a strip of blank card stock approximately the same size, and glue the circle strip on top. (I used glue stick.) Cut a second blank strip, and glue the double layer strip on top. If necessary, press under weight until dry.

When your glue is dry/set, cut the little circles apart. This will make it easier to trim them.

Trim the circles to finish your playing pieces. I did all my cutting with scissors.


About Byopia Press

I have been working in the book arts field for more than twenty years, and operating Byopia Press with my husband David since the late 1990s. I began producing artist's books and altered books in 2004.
This entry was posted in DIY, free printable, instructions and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Byopia Press Advent Calendar 2020: Day Three and Stern-Halma

  1. Pingback: Byopia Press Advent Calendar 2020: Day Sixteen and a Game of Tic-tac-toe | Byopia Press

  2. Pingback: Byopia Press Advent Calendar 2020: Day Nineteen and Masu Box Variations | Byopia Press

  3. Pingback: Last Post for the Year and an Index for the Byopia Press Advent Calendar 2020 | Byopia Press

  4. Pingback: A Little Game for Hot or Wet Weather | Byopia Press

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