Chinese checkers boards have remained a staple of family game nights for over a century, proving to be every bit as popular with young children as it is for adults who relish the challenge of a strategic-thinking game.
To do that, you’re naturally going to need a board to play on.
That’s where we come in.
Whether you’re planning to introduce your young ones to this game-night favorite for the first time or you’re simply longing to rediscover a classic you haven’t played since your own childhood, we’ve tried out some of the top-selling chinese checkers boards around and offered our pick of the ten very best here in this handy guide.
What is Chinese Checkers?
One of our favorite wooden board games, chinese checkers doesn’t come from China at all, but was actually invented over in Germany back in the 1890s.
Today, this timeless strategy game remains popular all over the world, proving simple to be a hit with young children while requiring enough tactical thinking to keep adults captivated for hours.
The aim of the game is as straightforward as it gets:
Be the first player to move all of your pieces across the board from your starting corner to the corner directly opposite.
Ready to take on your friends but don’t yet have a board to play on? Here’s our pick of the best chinese checkers boards your money can buy in 2020.
Top 10 Best Chinese Checkers Boards
|1.||WonderToys 2 in 1 Chinese Checkers & Gobang||Wooden pegs|
|2.||Brybelly Wooden Chinese Checkers||Wood|
|3.||Chinese Checkers with Marbles||Glass|
|4.||Printed Maple Chinese Checkers||Glass|
|5.||YCBingo Chinese Checkers and Ludo Set||Wood|
|6.||CHH 15″ Jumbo Chinese Checkers with Marbles||Glass|
|7.||Cheerpet Wooden Chinese Checkers||Wooden pegs|
|8.||Pressman Chinese Checkers||Plastic|
|9.||CHH 11″ Standard Chinese Checkers||Wooden pegs|
|10.||QZM Chinese Checkers board||Wooden pegs|
1. WonderToys 2 in 1 Chinese Checkers & Gobang
Right out of the box, WonderToys offer the best value for money by delivering two enjoyable games in one set. Along with traditional chinese checkers, there’s also a Go board on the reverse so that you can play a traditional game of five-in-a-row.
That alone makes it a worthy addition to any list of the best chinese checker boards on the market, but what really earns it a spot at the very top of this list is that it has much more to offer than simply providing two games in one.
The centerpiece is, of course, the solid wooden board, professionally stained in non-toxic, water-based paint to create a highly attractive finish. Not only is this board very well built, but it’s also of a decent size, making it ideal for adults as well as children.
Unlike other boards that use traditional chinese checkers marbles, this one uses pegs that slot neatly into the board and hold steady in place even if the game gets knocked or bumped. If you’ve ever had your whole game thrown into disarray after somebody bangs the table too hard, you’ll no doubt appreciate how much better this peg-based setup really is.
All told, the quality of this wooden chinese checkers board surpasses all others and should make a welcome addition to your family game night for many years to come.
2. Brybelly Wooden Chinese Checkers
Measuring 11.5″, this all-natural, wooden board from Brybelly rivals our top-ranked WonderToys product in terms of both durability and design. Strong and solid without being excessively heavy, the attractive board comes with 60 wooden marbles, each one with a smooth, non-toxic painted finish.
Where this one triumphs over the WonderToys offering is that it’s more affordably priced, though that does mean compromising on some important aspects of buying a game like this one.
This is especially true when it comes to those wooden marbles. While Brybelly boasts that the board has been expertly crafted to ensure the marbles fit snugly into the holes, some players complain that they fit perhaps a little *too* snuggly and are actually pretty tricky to pick up and move around.
However, this definitely seems to be a problem only encountered by adult players. Children with smaller fingers will still have no problem moving the pieces around, meaning this is still a great option if you’re planning to introduce your kids to the game.
3. Chinese Checkers with Marbles
While all-wood sets may be practical and durable, if you really want the kind of authenticity you’d usually only get with a vintage chinese checkers game, then real glass marbles are the way to go.
That’s exactly what this attractive set from Classic Game Collection offers. The six lots of different colored marbles may not be as vibrant as you get with other brands, but that’s all part of the charm, creating a classic, traditional aesthetic that makes this one more suited to a sophisticated game among adult friends than as a child’s plaything.
The addition of a pouch to store all of those marbles is also a nice touch. So too is the very well-built, 12″ checkers board, all thanks to the carefully-drilled holes that hold the marbles snuggly without making them a chore to pick up again and, of course, the gorgeous, oak-like finish.
4. Printed Maple Chinese Checkers
Looking for a set that combines authentic marbles with more child-friendly appeal than our last pick? This Made in the USA model from Maple Landmark may be just the thing.
The large wooden chinese checkers board measures 11.5″ inches in diameter and comes in a beautiful maple finish, yet that’s far from the only thing that makes one of the best traditional game sets out there.
On the board face itself, you’ll find that each hole is connected with lines to help you work out where you need to place your marbles as play commences, making this a great option for beginners.
Then there’s the glass marbles themselves. Every bit as attractive as those in our third-placed pick, these are also much more vibrant, ensuring that the whole game is just as much fun for young ones as it is for grown-ups.
5. YCBingo Chinese Checkers and Ludo Set
While the majority of the products on this list are designed for all ages, this vibrant, multi-game set from YCbingo is definitely designed with young children in mind.
On one side, there’s a wooden chinese checkers board with thick, brightly-colored pegs that are easy for small children to move around without the risk that they’ll become a choking hazard. On the other side, there’s a cute, oversized Ludo board that’s perfect for introducing your young ones to this classic strategy board game.
Although technically billed as a two-in-one set, YCbingo has also incorporated features suitable for a game of Flying Chess (also known as airplane chess), a fun game that can work wonders in helping toddlers build their developmental skills.
6. CHH 15″ Jumbo Chinese Checkers
If there was a prize for the best looking chinese checkers board on the market, this handsome, wooden board and glass marble set from CHH would definitely win it.
The solid redwood board is a thing of beauty and is truly so elegantly designed that you’d be happy to leave it out on display after you’re finished playing. Likewise, the glass marbles eschew the childish primary colors used in most sets in favor of more subdued and sophisticated tones. Like our third-placed pick from Classic Game Collection, this makes the CHH option a great pick for grown-up game nights.
Looks aside, one thing we love about this board is its jumbo-sized design, with deep holes that keep the marbles in place without making them difficult to grasp. If you find smaller boards too much of a hassle to play on, you’ll find a lot to like about this one.
7. Cheerpet Wooden Chinese Checkers
Cheerpet pitch their take on chinese checkers as an early education toy, and while the large, brightly colored pegs definitely make it a good choice for young children, the solid design and smaller size mean its equally as equipped to serve as a travel game, or for those family game nights with the older kids.
The hexagonal shape of the 9″ diameter board may not have many practical advantages over the usual circle-shaped boards, but it’s certainly an attractive design feature, while the professionally drilled holes ensure each peg fits snugly in place.
One of the better-priced wooden boards out there, the only thing we’d improve about this one would be the addition of some kind of decent pouch to store those pegs once the game is over.
8. Pressman Chinese Checkers Board Game
If you’re looking for a timeless heirloom that can take pride of place next to your ornate chess set and serve as the focal point of your game room, you might want to give this one a miss.
If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a lightweight chinese checkers game you can easily tuck away in your travel bag for taking on vacation, or simply a low-cost way to introduce your kids to the game before spending more on a traditional vintage chinese checkers board, then this fun little set from Pressman is certainly worth a look.
The most noticeable thing about this one is that the actual game board is made out of cardboard. This makes it great for folding away when not in use but doesn’t provide the kind of lasting durability you’d get with the standard wooden boards.
The colored marbles are actually made out of plastic, but this does make them a little easier to grip than some of the glass marbles we’ve tried out in the past.
Sure, this is hardly the kind of set you’re going to keep using for years to come, but if you’re more concerned with playing a few fun games than with making a serious investment for your games room, then this budget-friendly set offers good value for money.
9. CHH 11″ Standard Chinese Checkers
Like our first-placed game from WonderToys, this affordable, 11″ set from CHH forgoes the traditional chinese checkers marbles in place of wooden pegs that slot snuggly into the pre-drilled holes. This makes it a great option for travel, or if you’re simply fed up with your marbles rolling off the board every time you try to play.
The large, colorful pegs are also very easy to grip, making this just as ideal for adults as it is for small children.
On the downside, the included instructions leave a lot to be desired and aren’t exactly the easiest to follow. Still, if you already know how to play chinese checkers, this isn’t going to matter. On the upside, this sturdy, well-built board boasts a strength and durability which belies both its lightweight nature and low cost.
10. QZM Chinese Checkers Board Game
Another game that uses pegs instead of actual marbles, QZM’s take on the vintage chinese checkers setup comes with a unique, hexagonal board rather than the traditional round one.
While that certainly helps set it apart in terms of style, the one thing we like best about this one is its big, chunky design. The actual game board is nice and thick, so you know it’s built to last, while the pegs are among the largest we’ve seen on any game of this type.
While adult players may prefer a little more finesse to their game, the brightly-colored, oversized playing pieces make it another wonderful option for introducing younger children to the game.
We also like that this is one of the few chinese checkers sets that actually includes spare pieces. Along with the standard 60 pegs, you’ll need in order to play with six people, QZM also throw in six additional pieces (one of each color), just in case.
Chinese Checkers Boards: Your 2020 Buyer’s Guide
While a chinese checkers board may not be the most expensive investment you ever make, there’s still a lot to be said for doing your research and making sure you get the best possible value for your hard-earned money.
We’ve provided you with our pick of what we consider to be the ten very best boards currently around but, for you, deciding which one of these (or any others) will all depend on a number of key factors.
Below, we’ll discuss exactly what these factors are, and how they’re likely to influence your buying decision.
This is one instance where size definitely does matter. Chinese checkers is a game that can be played by as many as six people at the same time. So, if all six of you are crammed around a tiny board, it’s going suck all of the enjoyment out of your game.
With that in mind, if this is something you’re buying for your family’s regular game night then the larger the board, the better.
On the other hand, if you’re planning to pack this up and take it along to a pub game night, you’ll no doubt want something that’s small, lightweight, and portable.
Traditionally, chinese checkers was always played with genuine glass marbles. So, if you’re looking for a truly authentic experience, then this is the way to go.
Keep in mind, however, that not only can marbles be dangerous if they get into the hands of really small children, they’re also more prone to rolling around should somebody bump into the table or even just slam their drink down a little too excitedly.
As you’ll see above, an increasing number of sets now come with wooden pegs that fit firmly into the board. This is infinitely more practical but, in our opinion at least, lacks the aesthetic appeal of an actual marble.
Child-Friendly Features vs. Grown-Up Game Sets
If your chinese checkers game is likely to be an adults-only engagement, then you can focus more on quality craftsmanship and beautiful design when it comes to choosing a board.
If you’re using your new set to introduce young children to the game of chinese checkers, however, then you’d be better off choosing a game with child-friendly features such as larger pegs, bright colors, and clear instructions.
How to Choose the Best Chinese Checkers Board For You
Taking those three key factors into consideration, the type of chinese checkers board you buy will all depend on where you plan to play and, more importantly, who with.
If you’re looking for a fun way to keep the family entertained on those long travel journeys, then the small size of the Cheerpet Wooden Chinese Checkers will work brilliantly.
If you’re on the market for a more elegantly-designed game that’s well-suited for adults, then you’ll find a lot to like about the Chinese Checkers Board with Marbles from Classic Game Collection.
However, for the best all-round board that’s also suitable for children, look no further than our top-ranked pick, the 2 in 1 Chinese Checkers & Gobang set from WonderToys. Large enough to comfortably suit a six-person game yet light enough to carry around and colorful enough to appeal to your children, it really is the best board for all occasions.
The fact that you can also flip it over and play Go when you’re finished is just an added bonus that means you’ll get even more hours of classic gaming fun.