Rules History Checkers tournaments Checkers Draughts players


Players 2
Age range Recommended 12 years and up.
Playing time 15-30 minutes
Random chance None
Skill(s) required Tactics, Strategy

Tiers, also known as Ultra Checkers, is a complex variant of checkers that allows players to upgrade their pieces beyond kings. It is played on a standard eight by eight checkers board with two opposing players. The game has gained popularity amongst many northeastern collegiate students in the US.


Using a standard checkers set, pieces are divided into Red (light) and Black (dark). Players are traditionally referred to by the color of their pieces. The colors are chosen either by a friendly agreement, by a game of chance or by a neutral third party. Each player begins with twelve pieces which they may arrange in a configuration of their choice, confined to the back three rows of their side. These formations are agreed to by both players before the game starts. Red moves first.

The players alternate moving one piece at a time. Standard (beginning) pieces move in three forward directions (relative to each player), straight ahead, and diagonal to the left or right, and move one unoccupied space at a time unless jumping.

Jumping involves capturing the other player’s pieces by moving two spaces in the same direction, jumping over the opponent's piece in the intermediate square. Multiple opposing pieces may be captured in a single turn provided this is done by successive jumps made by a single piece. Pieces must jump into an unoccupied square, and jumping enemy pieces is mandatory in all circumstances (including each successive jump). If multiple opportunities are available, players may choose which piece to jump with. Normal pieces may only jump in their three forward directions.


When a standard piece reaches the opponent’s closest row (known in checkers as the crownhead or kings row), it becomes a “king.” Pieces may be upgraded beyond this level (tier) by returning to the original players first row. The process of going back and forth further upgrades piece reaches its fifth tier (reaching the original players side for a second time). Each tier provides the upgraded piece with new abilities.


The complex rules for Tiers allow for a number of successful strategies. Rapidly upgrading a single piece before the opposing player is a common and generally successful strategy. Another common practice is to trap a stronger piece by forcing it to jump into a place where it can be taken. The ability to create unique formations for each player before the game begins is also considered very important to the overall outcome of the game.