Full Report for Dameo by Christian Freeling

Full Report for Dameo by Christian Freeling

A Checkers-like game that uses linear movement

Generated at 28/10/2020, 18:33 from 107122 logged games.


Representative game (in the sense of being of mean length). Wherever you see the 'representative game' referred to in later sections, this is it!


The rules mention men and kings. A king is a promoted man. If the difference doesn't matter, they may also mention pieces, for instance 'the number of pieces on the board'.

Linear movement

Linear movement is defined as the move of a straight unbroken line of men of the same color, one square along the line of squares they occupy, provided the square in front is vacant. It includes the move of a single man, which may be considered as a line-of-one. Linear movement does not apply to kings.


The object is to leave your opponent without a valid move, either by capturing all his pieces, or by blocking them completely. Draws may occur by mutual exhaustion of material.


Men, whether single or linear, move forward (including diagonally forward) only. A king moves queenwise.

If a man moves onto the opponent's back row, it is promoted to king. If a linear move reaches the back row, only the head man is promoted.


Capture takes precedence over a non-capturing move. Only if the player to move has no capture to make, may he move a single man, or a line of men, or a king.

Although pieces may move diagonally, all captures are straight only. Men may capture forwards, backwards and sideways by the short leap.

Kings may move queenwise, but they capture only rookwise, by the long leap.

Capturing, whether by men or kings, is compulsory.

If a piece makes a capture and is now in a position to make another one, it must do so. Thus multiple captures may be made in the same turn. When a multiple capture is being made, the captured pieces are only removed at the end of the turn, and it is not allowed to jump over the same piece twice in that turn, although vacant squares may be passed over more than once.

Majority capture takes precedence: if a player has a choice of captures, he must choose the one that results in the largest number of pieces being captured (kings and men counting equally). When a king has more than one option in terms of captures and destination squares, it must choose its route so that it maximizes the capturing sequence. If there is more than one way to do this, it is free to choose.

If a man ends its move on the opponent's back row, it is promoted to king. A man passing the back row in a capture, but not ending on it, does not promote.


General comments:

Play: Combinatorial

Family: Draughts/Checkers games

Components: Board

Level: Standard

BGG Stats

BGG EntryDameo
BGG Rating7.70638
BGG Weight2.8333

BGG Ratings and Comments

fxjohnN/ACheckers board and pieces
mrraow8Fast and brutal checkers variant. I like it :)
Nap165Free Print & Play Checkers-like game that uses linear capture.
rayzg5I'm not a big fan of checkers or their variants.
orangeblood10Updated to a 10 after 50 plays. This game is what you always wanted checkers to be. Full of strategy and cutthroat tactics. Surprising combos. Multiple ways to win, including slow and defensive or fast and risky. == I've never played a lot of checkers because the American game is not that exciting to me. But I'm delighted to discover how great the game can be with Dameo and International Draughts. And if you doubt the superiority of Dameo over all of them, read “Draughts Dissected” by Christian Freeling for the most thorough comparative discussion of all forms of Draughts you'll ever see: http://mindsports.nl/index.php/draughts-dissected?showall=1&limitstart=
anemaat7.5I know this game through the Dameo Problems and a single play, but as far as I can see, it is definitely superior to [gameid=26920]. Dameo has a very narrow draw margin, which is seen as an advantage. I am more comfortable with the wider draw margin in [gameid=26952], where you can fight for a draw once you fall behind. This checkersvariant certainly has depth. Keep the corners occupied, so that you can easily trap an enemy king.
elhnadN/AIggamecenter or littlegolem
mjf71N/A2 40m
ed_in_playN/Ause Othello board and pieces to play
tckoppang8The designer created Dameo with the imperfections of International Checkers in mind. These imperfections include, especially problems with the endgame that lead to an above-average number of draws among expert players. Wow, does that not apply to me! I play and enjoy all number of checkers variants including regular old American Checkers/English Draughts, International Checkers, and a bunch of lesser-known "weird" variations. They all hold something for me as a casual player who grew up playing with his grandfather. That said, how can I resist a designer version of a folk game I love? Answer: I can't. Dameo feels like checkers, but only once you start playing. To look at the board, or to hear the rules is to think of Dameo as an alien game. Even if you think of it as a blend of International and Turkish Checkers, there are concepts that would seem to violate the spirt of both. For example, you can move an entire line of men (think Abalone or Epamimondas), not just one at a time. You must move forward, as in any checkers variant, but you can move both diagonally and straight ahead. Once kinged, you can move in any direction, as a queen in Chess. The board is set up as a stunted pyramid instead of a clean rectangle of men. There are reasons for all of these rules, and they are good reasons, but you there's no use telling a checkers player that it all makes sense because on first blush it feels different. Dont' let any of these difference prevent you from playing the game, however, even if you're a die hard traditionalist, because Dameo is wonderful. It plays quickly and manufactures excitement and turnarounds like it was born to do it. The game feels like a chess match in that there is both breadth and depth to each move. The funny setup and the increase in checker movement options worth to create a board state that is wide open from the start, and that makes for lines of attack that are sometimes unintuitive (or surprising), especially when you first start familiarizing yourself with the game (and more so if you're coming from a checkers background). The bottom line is that the game has a lot to offer, and not just for checkers enthusiasts. If you're interested in abstract games at all, this one is worth checking out. My wife and I were recently on a camping trip, and we both played game after game at the picnic table because we were having so much fun, and because we both wanted to test out new strategies. That the game can manage both fun and strategy with only the basic framework of checkers (as weird as it may look at first) is a testament to Dameo's strengths.
The Player of Games9Excellent checkers variant! Usually I am not that much into [thing=2083] [/thing]. However, this agressive variant with fast pieces development, orthogonal captures and a very powerful flying King is right up my alley. Needs 18 checkers pieces of each color and a standard 8x8 chess board. I can play this game using my standard Chess board and my [thing=197405] [/thing] pieces. However, I have now sets (seven different colors, 50 of each) of 1.75'' Backgammon pieces, which perfectly fit my Chess board as well as my two 10x10 [thing=70802] [/thing] boards. Thus, I have nice playing materials allowing me to play most checkers variants including Dameo.
Colonnello Vincent5
gmcnishN/ADoesnt immediayely appeal, but have read great things about it. Chessboard, 2x16 bits
T0afer10Dameo is absolutely outstanding and outclasses all other draughts variants including International Checkers, Turkish Checkers, and the various solutions that have been proposed to fix the draw issue of high level play. It absolutely deserves a 10 for its depth and variety in gameplay that you just don't see in any other variant. I can confidently say that I wouldn't be sad at all if dameo replaced the other checkers games.
bdeinkN/ADameo is a lot of fun, but doesn't get played that much.
JimmyMikeN/AAdapted my 9x9 Go board to do the trick.
cdunc1239.5I've only played eight or so games of this, but I enjoyed it immensely. The extra movement and more powerful kings are a great improvement on the checkers I know from my childhood! Data from thousands of games on BrainKing.com suggests that Dameo is remarkably balanced in terms of first-player / second-player advantage. It also has a very low draw rate. (Though I suspect that draw rates among beginners are higher than the draw rates on BrainKing, since beginners typically won't know [url=https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1772778/dameo-kings-vs-king-question]the method for beating one king with two kings.[/url]) It also has lots of drama for such a simple rule set (dramatic come-from-far-behind wins are possible). If there is an justice in game appreciation, humans will still be playing this hundreds of years from now.
CDRodeffer7The description above is not quite accurate. Dameo is a high-powered Turkish Checkers type game that also adds linear movement (from Bob Abbott's Epaminondas / Crossings). I really like this one, and it can be played on a Chess board with either Poker chips or a double or Continental Checkers set. Its only flaw is that the end game is a draw if it's one-on-one kings, but that's true for almost all Checkers games.
longhunterN/APurchased 2 sets of checkers to play Lines of Action and Dameo on my chess board.
Zapawa8Probably the most beautiful Draughts variant I've ever seen. It took me some time to dissect it and see what little design element serves what purpose in the gameplay, but as soon as I understood it, I fell in love. The game suffers from a "dull opening" problem, but probably less so than Dameo. And, to be fair, having to play a lot of moves before serious exchanges start has its upsides too -- you get more control over your position. In general, control is a central theme of Dameo, as varied possibilities of movement feel liberating when compared to other Draughts variant. I seriously doubt the game will ever meet its stated goal of replacing International Draughts -- but the world would be a better place if it did.
D Beau10I like it! All the multi-capturing craziness of Turkish Checkers, but with fewer draws and a lower first player advantage. In fact, of all the Checkers variants playable at Brainking.com, Dameo has the lowest player imbalance (based on the 2000+ plays logged at said site). The only bummer is that it requires more checkers than a standard Checkers set contains. Not that having less would make it a better game, but it would certainly be more accessible (a la Lines of Action). Dameo is well worth the trouble of finding some extra checkers though. --- Okay, I am seriously loving this game. It's so dynamic, that even when you're way below on material and things are looking grim, you still have a chance to turn the game around if you can sneak a pawn through for promotion. This is pretty much everything I enjoy in a abstract; elegance, drama, excitement, bloodshed, and a stunning capacity for clever tactics. --- Okay, I've played Dameo enough now to feel comfortable giving it a 10. In fact, anything lower would feel absurd, as it has slowly worked it's tendrils into my brain and become one of my favorite games. No flaws have surfaced, every game is interesting and enjoyable, and there's a huge amount of room for creativity (unlike most forms of checkers, which feel very rigid). The only disappointment is that, though opponents are readily available online, there doesn't seem to be much of a devoted following. It is deeply frustrating to have an enthusiasm which cannot be effectively shared with others.
Alteffor8Best draughts variant. Tons of interesting play here. The row movement, the flying kings, and the disconnect between the forward movement and orthogonal capture rules are downright fascinating. This game is worth exploring.
Zickzack8As Croda, a serious and informed approach to improve on Draughts. Less crammed than it, too. Pieces have additional range of movement leading to combinations spanning the whole board.
BozoDel10I don't have much experience with checkers, just a few matches of [geekurl=/boardgame/157416/brazilian-checkers]Brazilian[/geekurl] under my belt. I think this is pretty good. The opening in Brazilian Checkers was very opaque to me, it seemed random, even. I guess that a lot of traditional variants rely on opening memorization. But in Dameo it's easy to make sense of things from the very beginning. At first I wasn't very excited about the addition of diagonal movement to an orthogonal game, nor about linear movement, it all seemed very uncheckerlike (I don't know how Mr. Freeling thinks this is natural, while considering Killer Draughts' solution "tacked-on"). But after the first match it all felt very natural. I still want to try [geekurl=/boardgame/45764/harzdame]Harzdame[/geekurl], though, seems like a more elegant solution. -------- I too, after some dozens of plays, am compelled to rate this a 10! It's so... yummy...
milomilo1229Superb. This is checkers variant, and I dislike checkers, but ADORE Dameo. It's a beautiful illustration of what you can do with modern design principles. This is the final of Christian Freeling's "major" games I've explored, due to my aforementioned apathy towards checkers, but after a year of playing it with focus, it's on my Mt. Rushmore of games. It feels free and creative in a way most checkers games don't to me, as well as balanced and decisive. The scope for combinations is breathtaking. I love the kinds of comebacks that are possible through them. It also has a warmth and approachability many combinatorial games lack. On the whole, it's illustrative of the great (and mostly unknown) progress made in combinatorial game design in the modern era. There's a great beauty in these developments I wish I could help more people discover. If there are any problems with it, they only show themselves at a level of play FAR above anything I've experienced. My open questions about high-level play are a) will the edges become too important?; b) what are the chances of creating a full "lock up", where the game ends when neither player can move (if it would happen, it would happen in the opening, which for me would be anticlimactic)?; and c) will it become too much a battle of breakthrough, since Dameo Kings are *crazy* powerful?
Talisinbear8This one really grows on you. Excellent
andyofsweden10I consider Dameo to be the best game of the draughts family and one of the greatest modern abstracts. Game experience is simply sublime.
arcticnightsN/Acheckers board
FiveStars6.9nice crossover between Epaminondas and Checkers
pezpimp4Based on one play: A Checkers variant where a line of your pieces can move forward or diagonally forward together one following the other in a row. Kings are seriously overpowered as they can capture while jumping over empty spaces continually thus taking out large parts of the board. Can't say I enjoy the basic mechanics of Checkers and this variant makes it a little more chaotic and an error can really cost you.

Kolomogorov Complexity Analysis

Size (bytes)28269
Reference Size10293

Ai Ai calculates the size of the implementation, and compares it to the Ai Ai implementation of the simplest possible game (which just fills the board). Note that this estimate may include some graphics and heuristics code as well as the game logic. See the wikipedia entry for more details.

Playout Complexity Estimate

Playouts per second21748.02 (45.98µs/playout)
Reference Size1882530.12 (0.53µs/playout)
Ratio (low is good)86.56

Tavener complexity: the heat generated by playing every possible instance of a game with a perfectly efficient programme. Since this is not possible to calculate, Ai Ai calculates the number of random playouts per second and compares it to the fastest non-trivial Ai Ai game (Connect 4). This ratio gives a practical indication of how complex the game is. Combine this with the computational state space, and you can get an idea of how strong the default (MCTS-based) AI will be.

Playout/Search Speed

LabelIts/sSDNodes/sSDGame lengthSD
Random playout21,7411041,550,2147,2097117

Random: 10 second warmup for the hotspot compiler. 100 trials of 1000ms each.

Other: 100 playouts, means calculated over the first 5 moves only to avoid distortion due to speedup at end of game.

Mirroring Strategies

Rotation (Half turn) lost each game as expected.
Reflection (X axis) lost each game as expected.
Reflection (Y axis) lost each game as expected.
Copy last move lost each game as expected.

Mirroring strategies attempt to copy the previous move. On first move, they will attempt to play in the centre. If neither of these are possible, they will pick a random move. Each entry represents a different form of copying; direct copy, reflection in either the X or Y axis, half-turn rotation.

Win % By Player (Bias)

1: White win %50.00±0.30Includes draws = 50%
2: Black win %50.00±0.30Includes draws = 50%
Draw %20.88Percentage of games where all players draw.
Decisive %79.12Percentage of games with a single winner.
Samples107122Quantity of logged games played

Note: that win/loss statistics may vary depending on thinking time (horizon effect, etc.), bad heuristics, bugs, and other factors, so should be taken with a pinch of salt. (Given perfect play, any game of pure skill will always end in the same result.)

Note: Ai Ai differentiates between states where all players draw or win or lose; this is mostly to support cooperative games.

UCT Skill Chains

MatchAIStrong WinsDrawsStrong Losses#GamesStrong Scorep1 Win%Draw%p2 Win%Game Length
1UCT (its=2)608463159690.6206 <= 0.6512 <= 0.680546.654.7548.6172.78
3UCT (its=4)5741143049920.6057 <= 0.6361 <= 0.665543.9511.4944.5677.45
8UCT (its=9)5102422369880.6082 <= 0.6387 <= 0.668033.9124.4941.6086.12
23UCT (its=24)4982652279900.6064 <= 0.6369 <= 0.666232.2226.7741.0199.73
32UCT (its=33)5172272259690.6201 <= 0.6507 <= 0.680036.1223.4340.45103.31
45UCT (its=46)5531562689770.6153 <= 0.6459 <= 0.675242.2715.9741.76102.31
52UCT (its=141)61434707180.8529 <= 0.8788 <= 0.900748.614.7446.6689.44
53UCT (its=384)618261027460.8182 <= 0.8458 <= 0.870047.863.4948.6687.61
54UCT (its=1044)617271297730.7868 <= 0.8157 <= 0.841449.423.4947.0988.66
UCT (its=1044)
0.4745 <= 0.5055 <= 0.5364

Search for levels ended: time limit reached.

Level of Play: Strong beats Weak 60% of the time (lower bound with 95% confidence).

Draw%, p1 win% and game length may give some indication of trends as AI strength increases.

1st Player Win Ratios by Playing Strength

This chart shows the win(green)/draw(black)/loss(red) percentages, as UCT play strength increases. Note that for most games, the top playing strength show here will be distinctly below human standard.


Game length99.33 
Branching factor21.83 
Complexity10^107.93Based on game length and branching factor
Computational Complexity10^10.64Sample quality (100 best): 21.84
Samples107122Quantity of logged games played

Computational complexity (where present) is an estimate of the game tree reachable through actual play. For each game in turn, Ai Ai marks the positions reached in a hashtable, then counts the number of new moves added to the table. Once all moves are applied, it treats this sequence as a geometric progression and calculates the sum as n-> infinity.

Move Classification

Distinct actions182149Number of distinct moves (e.g. "e4") regardless of position in game tree
Killer moves25763A 'killer' move is selected by the AI more than 50% of the time
Too many killers to list.
Good moves54562A good move is selected by the AI more than the average
Bad moves120371A bad move is selected by the AI less than the average
Terrible moves119207A terrible move is never selected by the AI
Too many terrible moves to list.
Response distance3.17Mean distance between move and response; a low value relative to the board size may mean a game is tactical rather than strategic.
Samples107122Quantity of logged games played

Board Coverage

A mean of 93.62% of board locations were used per game.

Colour and size show the frequency of visits.

Game Length

Game length frequencies.


Change in Material Per Turn

This chart is based on a single representative* playout, and gives a feel for the change in material over the course of a game. (* Representative in the sense that it is close to the mean length.)


Table: branching factor per turn, based on a single representative* game. (* Representative in the sense that it is close to the mean game length.)

Action Types per Turn

This chart is based on a single representative* game, and gives a feel for the types of moves available throughout that game. (* Representative in the sense that it is close to the mean game length.)

Red: removal, Black: move, Blue: Add, Grey: pass, Purple: swap sides, Brown: other.


This chart shows the best move value with respect to the active player; the orange line represents the value of doing nothing (null move).

The lead changed on 26% of the game turns. Ai Ai found 10 critical turns (turns with only one good option).

Position Heatmap

This chart shows the relative temperature of all moves each turn. Colour range: black (worst), red, orange(even), yellow, white(best).

Good/Effective moves

MeasureAll playersPlayer 1Player 2
Mean % of effective moves49.8152.8946.66
Mean no. of effective moves5.545.985.08
Effective game space10^51.7010^27.1310^24.56
Mean % of good moves29.0841.7116.19
Mean no. of good moves4.315.802.80
Good move game space10^30.8810^22.1610^8.71

These figures were calculated over a single game.

An effective move is one with score 0.1 of the best move (including the best move). -1 (loss) <= score <= 1 (win)

A good move has a score > 0. Note that when there are no good moves, an multiplier of 1 is used for the game space calculation.

Quality Measures

Hot turns90.91%A hot turn is one where making a move is better than doing nothing.
Momentum25.25%% of turns where a player improved their score.
Correction42.42%% of turns where the score headed back towards equality.
Depth2.02%Difference in evaluation between a short and long search.
Drama0.84%How much the winner was behind before their final victory.
Foulup Factor35.35%Moves that looked better than the best move after a short search.
Surprising turns3.03%Turns that looked bad after a short search, but good after a long one.
Last lead change81.82%Distance through game when the lead changed for the last time.
Decisiveness11.11%Distance from the result being known to the end of the game.

These figures were calculated over a single representative* game, and based on the measures of quality described in "Automatic Generation and Evaluation of Recombination Games" (Cameron Browne, 2007). (* Representative, in the sense that it is close to the mean game length.)



Opening Heatmap

Colour shows the success ratio of this play over the first 10moves; black < red < yellow < white.

Size shows the frequency this move is played.

Unique Positions Reachable at Depth


Note: most games do not take board rotation and reflection into consideration.
Multi-part turns could be treated as the same or different depth depending on the implementation.
Counts to depth N include all moves reachable at lower depths.
Inaccuracies may also exist due to hash collisions, but Ai Ai uses 64-bit hashes so these will be a very small fraction of a percentage point.

Shortest Game(s)

No solutions found to depth 4.



White to win in 17 moves

White to win in 15 moves

White to win in 13 moves

Black to win in 15 moves

Black to win in 11 moves

Black to win in 11 moves

White to win in 9 moves

Black to win in 11 moves

White to win in 5 moves

Black to win in 7 moves

Black to win in 5 moves

White to win in 5 moves

Black to win in 5 moves

White to win in 5 moves

Black to win in 5 moves

Black to win in 7 moves

White to win in 7 moves

Black to win in 3 moves

Black to win in 7 moves

Weak puzzle selection criteria are in place; the first move may not be unique.