The name of the game is derived from the fairy-tale Sleeping Beauty ("Dornröschen" in German) which is well known in many parts of Europe, including Germany and Russia. Although the game may appear superficially as a variant of Anglo-American Checkers, it has many unusual features that are not known in any other Checkers game:
- Adjacent enemy ladies (the equivalent of kings in Checkers) are captured by the short leap backwards, but never forwards.
- If a man reaches the opponent's back rank, he is promoted to a sleeping beauty (and turned upside down), if the player has already a lady. A player can never have two or more ladies at the same time. Sleeping beauties are inactive until they are woken up.
- A lady can also capture in the Chess way by replacement, not just by jumping.
- Not all captures are compulsory. Sometimes the lady has the choice between both ways of capturing, which is called "Royal Privilege".
- A sleeping beauty may not move or capture, nor may she be captured.
- After a sleeping beauty is woken up, she is permitted to make a "jump of joy", a rule that was was inspired by the Kurierspiel.
- A game can never end in a draw, thus "vanquishing the curse of the Checkers draw" as Kerry Handscomb, the editor of the Abstract Games magazine put it. There are rare positions very similar to jishogi, or impasse in Japanese Chess that need special rules, however.
- A point scoring system is used to determine the margin of win.
The game has been extensively covered in the Abstract Games magazine whose Canadian editors described it as "fascinating" and "rather strange".