Salta is two-player abstract strategy board game invented by Konrad Heinrich Büttgenbach in 1899 in Germany. The game attained its highest popularity in the early 1900s before World War I especially in France and Germany. The World Trade Fair of 1900 in Paris exhibited a Salta board made of mahogany with golden counters adorned with more than 5,000 diamonds. Famous players were the US chess master Frank Marshall, the German World Chess Champion Emanuel Lasker, and the French actress Sarah Bernhardt (the "Divine").
Salta means "jump" in Italian or Latin. The game is related to Halma, Chinese Checkers, and Conspirateurs. Players attempt to jump over pieces without capturing them, and be first to advance their pieces to the other player's side. Salta is played on a Continental Checker board with 10x10 chequered squares. One player has green markings and the other player has red markings on the pieces.
The player that can first bring each of their pieces seven rows forward is the winner. The pieces must retain their original order in each row.
A 10x10 chequered square board is used as in a Continental Checker board. Each player has 15 pieces that are initially lined up on the dark squares of the first three ranks of each player's side. The five pieces on the first rank are called stars, and are marked with one to five stars in ascending order from left to right. The five pieces on the second rank are called moons, and are marked with one to five moons in ascending order from left to right. The five pieces on the third rank are called suns, and are marked with one to five suns in ascending order from left to right. An alternative marking system is to simply number the stars 1 to 5 from left to right, number the moons 6 to 10 from left to right, and number the suns 11 to 15 from left to right. One player has the white pieces with the green markings, and the other player has the black pieces with the red markings. Pieces are only played on the black squares.
Rules and Gameplay
- Players decide who will play green or red, and who will start first. Green moves first.
Pieces are initially placed on the first three ranks as described under the Equipment section.
- Pieces are played only on the black squares.
- Players alternate their turns. Only one piece may be moved per turn. A piece can move diagonally forward or backward.
- Alternatively, a piece can diagonally jump over an adjacent enemy piece forward, and land on an unoccupied square on the other side. Only one piece may be jumped. The jumped piece is NOT captured as in draughts.
- Jumps are compulsory.
- If a player does not jump when presented with the opportunity, the other player calls "Salta", and the player must take back their last move, and jump before play continues.
- A player cannot block the other player's pieces such that he or she cannot perform a legal move. Each player must always have the ability to perform a legal move.
PS: There is also a more compact version of Salta, named QSalta for Quick Salta, that is faster to play and great for trying out Salta
PPS: The latest development is Lucky Salta that borrows from games like Backgammon or Ludo to make it more fun to play; you also might be interested in Memory Salta which is a crossover from the Memory game and QSalta; and - Salta gets inflationary - there is now Catch Salta - a truly wacky version of the classic Salta game!