Monkey Queen

Monkey Queen is a two-player abstract board game played on a square checkerboard that was invented by Mark Steere in 2011.


Monkey Queen is played on a 12x12 checkerboard. A larger board can be used by experienced players for longer games.

The game starts with two Monkey Queens: one stack of 20 ivory colored checkers and another of cigar as shown in the following picture:


A player wins when he captures the opponent's Queen or leaves the opponent without legal moves.


Players move alternately, starting with the Ivory player.

Players take turns moving their Monkey Queen (the stack of checkers) or a baby (single checkers) the same way as Queen in Chess, i.e. any number of squares along a straight line in any direction (horizontally, vertically or diagonally). A piece (either Monkey Queen or a baby) may not jump over other pieces but may land on a square occupied by an opponent's piece (either Monkey Queen or a baby). In this case the opponent's piece is captured and removed from the board. If the captured piece is the opponent's Monkey Queen then the game ends and the player wins the game.

There are two additional rules about non-capturing moves (i.e. the moves that end up on an empty square):

  • When the Monkey Queen makes a non-capturing move, it gives a birth to a baby, i.e.  the Queen leaves its bottom checker behind on the originating square, reducing the stack height by one. If the height of the Queen is only two checkers then the Queen cannot make a non-capturing move.
  • When a baby makes a non-capturing move, it must move toward the opponent's Queen, i.e. the straight line distance between your baby and the opponent's Queen must be shortened by your move. Below are some examples of legal (yellow arrows) and illegal (red dashed arrows) non-capturing for babies:

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