Release Date: 
Tuesday, May 15, 2001
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The Story

Every spring on May Day, sprites and spriggans, dryads and trolls across the world all gather together in a secret place for the Unseen Revel—one boisterous week of music, merriment, revelry and sport. One of the most popular games at the Unseen Revel is a simple game called “Lilypad”: Two tiny faries try to race across a pond filled with frogs and turtles without getting wet, and the first one across wins. To complicate things, one fairy is allowed to only step on turtles and the other is allowed to only step on frogs, and they start on opposite sides of the pond.

Now, I’ve never actually seen this game played—no human has ever been to the Unseen Revel (or it wouldn’t be Unseen, now, would it?)—but I have a reliable source who told me that the all of the best Lilypad players practice by playing the game that follows…

(Oh, by the way… If little sprites dancing on turtles and frogs is too fay for you, then just pretend that you’re futuristic gladiators battling on hover drones over a pit of red-hot magma. That should get your testosterone pumping.)


Get your pawn across the board by building a bridge of checkers from one side to the other.

You Need

A complete checkers set.
Two different pawns that can fit on the checkers.


Setup is identical to a normal game of checkers except each player places a pawn on top of one of his or her back row checkers at the start of the game.


Play proceeds like a normal game of checkers with these additional rules:

  • If you see a jump, you have to jump. You may not ignore a capture that is available to you.
  • On a turn, you may move your pawn onto a diagonally adjacent checker that you control instead of moving a checker. You may move your pawn as many squares as you want to in a single turn. You may not move your pawn if you are able to capture one or more checkers this turn.
  • The board must be different at the end of your turn from the way it was at the beginning of your turn.
  • The checker that has the pawn on it moves and captures just like a normal checker. If the checker with the pawn on it is captured, then the checker and the pawn on it are removed from play.


If you both lose your pawns, the game ends in a draw.
If you get your pawn all the way across the board, you win the game!


Big Faries
The checker with the pawn on it may not move or be captured.

Weak Frogs & Turtles
The checker with the pawn on it may not move but may be captured.

Walk, Don’t Run
Pawns may only move one space per turn.

Origin and Credits

Usually I write this section immediately after writing the game, but it’s been several weeks since I wrote these rules. With the Sluggy Freelance checkers variants and other checkers variants that I’ve been working on recently, I’ve had checkers on my mind a lot lately. I think that the initial idea for Lilypad first came to me while setting up a magnetic checkers / backgammon / chess set for a checkers variant test when I looked at the chess pieces; I figured that there had to be a way to use checkers and chess pieces in the same game. Lilypad is the result.

The banner art and thumbnail for Lilypad were created by Cathleen Heard of Smart Eye Design. Thank you Cathy! Thanks to Ben Gibbs and Sharon for playtesting.

The Lilypad story is just spun from thin air. Starting with Psi Squad, continuing with Lilypad, and for the forseeable future, I’m going to start each game with a Story section. The stories frame the games nicely and make them easier to grasp, I think.