peg board

Leap Frog (board game)

Leap Frog is a two-player abstract strategy game. It can actually be played by several players at once. The game is an old classic, and may have derived from Solitaire and draughts. It is essentially a multi-player version of Solitaire. A square board is used with 15 to 18 squares on each side. All the pieces are laid out in the beginning of the game covering the whole board. On each player's turn, a piece is chosen to hop over and capture other pieces on the board. The winner is the one who captures the most pieces (or the most points) when it's impossible to capture anymore. There are two versions to this game. The older version has undifferentiated pieces on the board. The version described and invented by the game historian, H.J.R. Murray, in his book published in 1898 has different point values for the different colored pieces on the board. The older version was played in England where it may have originated from. The game is also known to be spelled as one word, Leapfrog.

As a side note, Murray never stated that the moves are limited to orthogonal directions. The game might still work with diagonal moves.


The player who captures the most pieces (or the most points) is the winner


A square board with 15 to 18 squares is used. It is best to use a marble board or peg board. The number of pieces needed is n2. For example, a 15 x 15 square board requires 152 = 225 pieces.

When the pieces have different colors and therefore different point values, the number of pieces per color are divided as follows: 1 green for every 2 red, for every 3 yellow, for every 4 white. In a 15 x 15 square board that would be 22 green, 45 red, 68 yellow, and 90 white pieces.

Game Play and Rules

1. All the pieces are laid out on the board at the beginning of the game. For the multi-colored version (Murray's version), the four colored pieces are distributed randomly throughout the board. Green pieces are worth 4 points, red pieces are worth 3 points, yellow pieces are worth 2 points, and white pieces are worth 1 point.

2. Each player removes one piece from the board for their first capture.

3. Players decide who starts first. Players alternate their turns.

4. All moves must be capturing moves (short leap method). A piece from the board is chosen by a player on their turn, and is used to leap over piece(s) on the board which are captured and removed from the board. All leaps must be orthogonal (not diagonal). To be more specific, the chosen piece leaps over an orthogonally adjacent piece, and lands on a vacant space on the other side similarly as in draughts. Multiple captures are allowed as long as there exist exactly one vacant space in between the pieces, and a vacant space beyond the last piece. During a multiple capture sequence, the chosen piece can change directions orthogonally. A player can decide how many captures to be made, but at least one piece must be captured in a player's turn. The chosen piece remains on the board at the end of its leap(s), and that player's turn ends.

5. If on a player's turn a capture is no longer possible, the game ends, and the player with the most pieces (original version) or the most points (Murray's version) wins the game.

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