First To 8 is played on the same 8 by 8 standard board used for Chess or Checkers.
The aim of the game is to be the first player to get 8 pieces to the other side of the board.
It is arguably at a level of strategy difficulty between Checkers (the easiest) and Chess (the hardest).
Both players have 24 regular pieces, one player has one colour and the other player another colour.
Each player places their pieces on all the squares of the first three rows nearest to them.
The players decide who has the first move of the game. Each player then takes turns to move one of their pieces.
Any piece can move to 1 of 3 different squares if available: Forwards Diagonal Left, Forwards Vertically, or Forwards Diagonal Right.
“Forwards” is moving towards the opponent’s side of the board.
A movement is completed when the player removes their hand from the piece.
Only one piece can occupy any square of the board.
If before moving, a player’s piece is Diagonally Forwards adjacent to an opponent’s piece and there is an empty square in the same direction behind the opponent’s piece, the player’s piece must move to the empty square and remove the opponent’s piece from the board.
If after taking, there is a new opportunity to “take”, then the player must take again in the same move until no longer applicable – this is known as a “multi-take” and can take up to 3 of the opponent’s pieces.
A player can not take Vertically Forwards.
The player must take if the taking opportunity is noticed by the opponent.
If there is more than one opportunity to take then the player has the option to choose which piece to use for the taking move.
The other side of the board is the first row of squares nearest to the opponent.
A piece can not move when it has reached the other side of the board.
The end of the game is when one player has a piece on all 8 squares of the other side of the board – they are the First to 8 – or the end of the game is when one player can no longer move.
The winner is the player at the end of the game with the most pieces on the other side of the board.
The differences with Checkers are:
- The aim is to move quickly to the the other side of the board – not like in Checkers which is to take all the opponent’s pieces.
- Pieces can move vertically forwards as well as diagonally forwards.
- Pieces can move on both square colours.
- There are 24 pieces per player instead of 12.
- A piece can not move when it has reached the other side of the board – there are no Kings like in Checkers.
All these differences require the players to adopt different tactics from Checkers.