Here is the board with the pieces in the initial position. There are two players, black and white. Black moves first, after which players move, and must move, in turn.
If a player has no legal move he loses the game. This may come about either by being eliminated or being blocked completely. Draws may occur by mutual agreement or 3-fold.
Capture has precedence over a non-capturing move. If the player to move has no capture to make, he has the following options:
All movement follows the lines on the board.
- A man may move forwards only, to an adjacent cell.
- A mullah may move in any direction and along any distance of vacant cells.
Capture is compulsory. The direction of capture may be both straight or diagonal, in any direction along the lines.
- If a man is on a particular line, and next to it on that line is a cell occupied by an opponent's piece, then the man captures the piece by jumping over it to the cell immediately beyond, which must be vacant for the capture to take place. If the man can proceed in a similar way in the same or another direction, it must do so, taking care beforehand to establish the route that brings the maximum number of captured pieces. A captured mullah counts as one piece.
If there's more than one way to meet this criterion, the player is free to choose.
- Concerning removal of the captured pieces there are two variants, as stated in the first paragraph:
- Zamma (or Damma)
A multiple capture must be completed before the captured pieces are removed from the board.
- Srand (or Dhamet)
In a multiple capture pieces are removed immediately, before the next jump takes place.
- Zamma (or Damma)
- During a multiple capture, a cell may be visited more than once, but a piece may not be jumped more than once (in the Mauritanian version this is impossible in the first place).
- If a man in the course of a capture visits a cell of the back rank without ending its move there, it does not promote.
- A mullah looks along open lines. If it sees, at any distance, an opponent's piece and immediately beyond one or more subsequent vacant cell, it captures by jumping the piece and landing on one of these cell.
A mullah is subject to the same rules regarding majority capture: if it can proceed in the same or another direction it must do so, and it must likewise take the route that brings maximum number of captured pieces.
Note: the expression "... it captures by jumping the piece and landing on one of these cell", does not necessarily imply choice. In fact, during the capture the king will usually have no choice because it is subject to majority capture. After jumping the last piece it may choose to land on any of the subsequent vacant cell.