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Zamma is a two-player abstract strategy game from Africa. It is especially played in North Africa. The game is similar to Alquerque and draughts. The board is four Alquerque boards combined together to form a square board. The initial setup is also similar to Alquerque, where every space on the board is filled with each player's pieces except for the middle point of the board. Furthermore, each player's pieces are also set up on each player's half of the board. The game specifically resembles draughts in that pieces must move in the forward directions until they are crowned "Mullah" (or "Sultan") which is the equivalent of the king in draughts. The Mullah can move in any direction. In North Africa, the black pieces are referred to as men, and the white pieces as women. In the Sahara, short sticks represent the men, and camel dung represent the women.
The game goes by several names such as Damma, Srand, and Dhamet. In Mauritania, the game is referred to as Srand or Dhamet. It is a national game. Mauritania's version is different from the other variants in that the pieces captured are instantly removed from the board, whereas, in other variants the removal of captured pieces is deferred.
The player who captures all their opponent's pieces is the winner.
The board is a 9×9 square grid, or an 8×8 square board with pieces played on the intersections with diagonal lines running throughout the board. Each player has 40 pieces. One plays the black pieces, and the other player plays the white pieces.
Gameplay and rules
- Players decide what colors to play.
- The board is filled in the beginning with all the players pieces. The only point vacant on the board is the middle point. Each player's pieces are placed on their half of the board, and lined up on the right-hand side of the 5th. rank (the middle horizontal line of the grid board).
- Players alternate their turns. Black moves first. A piece moves forward only (straight forward or diagonally forward) one space per turn following the pattern on the board until they are crowned Mullah by reaching the last rank. Only one piece may be moved or used to capture enemy piece(s) per turn.
- A (non-Mullah) piece may capture an enemy piece by the short leap as in draughts or Alquerqe. The capture can be in any direction. Multiple captures are allowed, however, the line with the most captures must be taken. Captures are compulsory for non-Mullah and Mullah pieces.
- When a piece reaches the other player's rank, it is promoted to Mullah. The Mullah can move in any direction, and capture in any direction. It can also move any number of spaces as in the King in international draughts. The Mullah can also land anywhere behind the captured piece.
If playing a variant where enemy pieces are not removed immediately when captured, the Mullah can not go back to any of them and leap them again. However, in a variant (e.g. Mauritania's variant) where captured pieces are removed immediately, the Mullah can leap over them again in order to leap another enemy piece(s).
- If a non-Mullah piece reaches the other player's rank as an intermediate step of a capturing sequence, the piece does not get promoted to Mullah.