Even games with a lifespan of only decades (such as Monopoly) evolve several variations. It stands to reason, then, that Backgammon, which traces back thousands of years, should have evolved its own variations. And so it has. Following are some of the most popular variations which are still played
In this version, each player begins with four checkers rather than two on the opponent’s home board. This makes for a longer game, but also requires greater skills, since your checkers aren’t as easily retrieved.
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This one follows most of the standard rules, except that all players use three checkers. These are placed on the 1, 2 and 3-points of the opponent at the beginning.
Also called “Misere Backgammon,” the object is to be the last player who bears off. The game is incredibly challenging and sometimes utterly frustrating. However, eventually, somebody is left with nothing to do except place his markers over the other end–and thus lose the game.
This is like the standard Western game, with a few modifications. First, the player winning the opening roll also gets a second roll; together, these constitute the first turn. Also, a point is given for a single win, two are given for a gammon, and there are no triple games or Backgammons. There is also no doubling cube used.
Sometimes called “Tavli,” which means “board” in Greek. In this variation, all players share one pair of dice. In the first game a single die is rolled by all players, with the highest one going first. The person going first then rolls both dice fir his first turn. Whoever wins the game lays first in the following game. There are no bonus points in Tavli for getting a Backgammon, and no doubling cube is used. Tavli is meant to go extremely quickly. It’s expected that as one person is still moving, the other person grabs the dice and rolls immediately after the previous player sets down his checker. It’s considered poor sportsmanship if you take too long to roll after the previous player moves.
As you probably guessed, this is a French variation, played with three players. We could devote a whole page to Chouette, since its rules and play style are complicated. Put simply, the game is played between one team of two people, with one of them designated as the captain, and the third player, known as “man in the box.” If the Box wins, the captain of the two-man team takes his spot as man in the box. The members of the two-player team consult together and must agree on a move before it’s made by the captain. If the two-player team loses, then after the captain becomes the man in the box, the remaining player takes over as captain. Once you master the complicated rules and game play, this game is high-energy, and an absolute riot.