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54 What other games can be played on a backgammon board?

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This article is from the Backgammon FAQ, by Mark Damish damish@ll.mit.edu with numerous contributions by others.

54 What other games can be played on a backgammon board?

* Acey-Deucy
* TricTrac
* Jacquet
* Moultezim
* Plakoto (Portas)
* Fevka (spelling?)
* Narde
* Gioul (Turkish variation)
* Nackgammon
* Cubeless, one point backgammon games.
* Many versions of `diceless' backgammon.
* Hyper-Backgammon
* On some boards, you can flip it over, and play checkers or chess.



Newsgroups: rec.games.backgammon
From: mau@world.std.com (Michael A Urban)
Subject: Re: 3-Checker Hyper Backgammon
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1993 02:23:24 GMT

Each side starts with 3 checkers on their respective 24, 23, and 22
points. The cube is in play. Jacoby rule in effect. Matches will start
at 7 points and work their way up in later rounds. All other normal
backgammon rules apply.


From: kleef@cs.utwente.nl (Rolf Kleef) at SMTP-Post-Office 10/15/93

Nackgammon: The same as backgammon, but with a different starting
position: instead of five men on both your midpoint and 6-point, you
just put four there. The remaining two men end up at the 23-point:

       13 14 15 16 17 18       19 20 21 22 23 24
      +------------------------------------------+ X:
      | O           X    |   |  X           O  O |
      | O           X    |   |  X           O  O |
      | O           X    |   |  X                |
      | O                |   |  X                |
      |                  |   |                   |
     v|                  |BAR|                   |
      |                  |   |                   |
      | X                |   |  O                |
      | X           O    |   |  O                |
      | X           O    |   |  O           X  X |
      | X           O    |   |  O           X  X |
      +------------------------------------------+ O:
       12 11 10  9  8  7        6  5  4  3  2  1

This was invented by Nack Ballard (hence the name), to force his bg
students to practice positional play. Games tend to be much longer,
since you can't easily start a race with a 65 or 66 opening-phase
roll. In July this year, we hosted the first European Championship
Nackgammon during our series of Kater Cup tournaments. Teun Ruardy
from Groningen, The Netherlands became the first EC Nackgammon!

[What are the cube and gammon rules for Nackgammon?]



From: vladimir@cs.ualberta.ca 1/24/95
Subject: Tapa (yet another kind of backgammon)

The word "tapa" means "bottle cap" and it's an apt name because one
seeks to block out the opponent's pieces. The starting position is as
shown below

             13 14 15 16 17 18       19 20 21 22 23 24
            |                  |   |                OOO|
            |                  |   |                OOO|
            |                  |   |                OOO|
            |                  |   |                OOO|
            |                  |   |                OOO|
     O     v|                  |BAR|                   |
   moves    |                  |   |                XXX|
    this    |                  |   |                XXX|
    way     |                  |   |                XXX|
            |                  |   |                XXX|
            |                  |   |                XXX|
             12 11 10  9  8  7        6  5  4  3  2  1

The move direction and game objective are the same as in BG. There is
one important difference:
Blots (single men) are not taken out when hit. Rather, the opponent's
man rests on top of the blot and thus forms a point. Points can also
be formed in the usual way, by placing two or more of your men at the
same slot.

If you leave a blot at your home slot (1 or 24) and it gets covered,
you certainly lose a backgammon (unless your opponent has done the
same, in which case it's a tie).

A long doublet (5 and 5 or 6 and 6) in the initial stage of the game
can be very useful because usually the opponent would have some blots
in their home quadrant and you may cover them. The closer this happens
to their home slot, the better, because the later you will free the
blot when you are bearing off.

Tapa is very much a game of strategy. Even if you get caught very
close to your home row, you may be able to force the opponent to free
it by blocking enough of his men, so that he doesn't have any other
move. During most of the game it better to move SLOWER rather than
faster. Primes are not necessarily useful, eg when the opponent has
enough space for short moves behind the prime.

If nobody gets caught in the early stage, the two players try to
advance their men in "almost primed" formations. Then the
passing-through of the two armies can be a rather dramatic clash.

Tapa is quite popular in Bulgaria. In fact people play three games
--BG, Gul Bara, and Tapa-- in a row. The cube isn't used and there are
no backgammons (although there are gammons, called "mars"). I think
these games (or at least the names) have come to Bulgaria from Turkey.
Some people (esp. the older ones) use Turkish names for the rolls, eg
"shesh-besh" is "6 and 5". I'd say backgammon is the favorite
recreation of Bulgarian pensioners.

Gul Bara is similar to Narde (the actuall name is Nardy where "y"
signifies the Russian letter "ery" as in "byk" (bull)), but double
rolls are very powerful, eg if you roll 1 and 1 then you get to move 4
ones, 4 twos, 4 threes, ..., 4 sixes.



From: zweije@wi.leidenuniv.nl (Vincent Zweije)

In Kazachstan, and probably Russia too, people play a game called
"Narde" on a backgammon board. It is also played with 15 checkers
each, in the following starting position (point numbering is taken
from backgammon).

O's side

          13 14 15 16 17 18       19 20 21 22 23 24
         |                  |   |                OOO|
         |                  |   |                OOO|
         |                  |   |                OOO|
         |                  |   |                OOO|
         |                  |   |                OOO|
        v|                  |BAR|                   |^
         |XXX               |   |                   |
         |XXX               |   |                   |
         |XXX               |   |                   |
         |XXX               |   |                   |
         |XXX               |   |                   |
          12 11 10  9  8  7        6  5  4  3  2  1

X's side

Do to language problems I never got a formal introduction to the game.
I'll have to write down the rules out of my head. It is played like
backgammon, with the following exceptions:

1: Both players move in the same direction. X moves from 12 down to
1, then to 24 and down to 13, and finally off; O moves from 24 down
to 13, then to 12 and down to 1, and finally off.

2: A point is already made with one checker on it. There is no
hitting in the game.

3: Doublets are not special. If you roll 3-3, you get to move a
checker three pips twice. Possibly the same checker.

Bearing off is like backgammon. Moving is mandatory when possible. I
don't know whether, like in backgammon, you have to move the higher of
the dice if you have to choose. It never happened during actual play.

The game is almost fully one of chance. The main thing is to take care
not to get blocked by a six-point prime (already made with six
checkers in a row!).

[ There seems to be quite a few games with this starting postion,
going the same direction, where 1 blot is a blocker, and there is no
hitting. The rules vary with how many may be in a row, doubles, and
starting criteria. It seems to be a game where 'blocking' is the
predonimant strategy. Some games have double games, triple games, quad
games, depending upon what quadrant the opponent has his remaining
checkers in. I've never seen this played in the USA. ...Mark ]


Diceless Backgammon

From: igor@krest.kharkov.ukraine.ussr (Igor)
Newsgroups: rec.games.backgammon
Subject: Re: Diceless Backgammon?
Date: 27 Mar 92 00:48:51 GMT
Organization: Society of connoiseurs of female beauty

In fact, there's a version of backgammon, which is much more popular
than regular bg in USSR, especially in Azerbajdzhan and Uzbekistan.
Main features are following:
* both players go same direction ( namely counterclockwise )
* starting position is different
* you're not allowed to hit ( which changes strategy a lot).

And, as far as I know, there are tournaments, where people play this
version without dices, i.e. calling their rolls. Consequently, there
exist time control in this tournaments.



In this game all the men start off the board. They enter and move
around the board in the same way as men sent home in regular
backgammon. In other words, the white men enter in black's home board
and move around through black's outer board and white's outer board
until all are gathered in white's home board; then white can start to
bear them off. Black enters his men in the white home board and moves
around in the same manner.

Rules are the same as for backgammon, except that you can move any man
you want to at any time, whether or not you have men to bring in. In
addition, the roll of 1-2 -- acey-deucy -- is an especially valuable
roll. You begin by playing your ace-deuce. Then you play any number
four times (in other words, you pick any double you wish). Then you
get an extra roll. and if this extra roll is also 1-2 you get the same
extras with it.

Early game strategy in acey-deucy is to try to establish advanced
points as quickly as you can, and if possible also establish adjacent
points as base for a prime. If both sides develop primes right smack
up against one another, the advantage lies with the prime that is
farther advanced. Even if the man with the farther-advanced prime has
to break his first, he will probably win the game; if he can hold his
prime longer, he almost surely will win.
Credit: The Backgammon Book, Oswald Jacoby/John Crawford

My own comments: Acey-deucy is a fun game, with a much greater element
of luck or chance than regular backgammon. 1-2 rolls are deadly. You
are never out-of-it right to the end. The pace is fast and furious (at
least compared to regular backgammon -- which, incidentally, I still
prefer, but Acey-deucy makes a nice change of pace once in a while).
One key point of strategy -- block your opponent from a play of 1 or 2
if you can. This opportunity only occasionally presents itself, but
watch for it. If you can't play your lowly 1-2, you lose the bonus
double and extra roll.

Acey-Deucy typed/submitted by Peter Nickless


One Point Matches

This variant is played the same as `regular' backgammon with two
exceptions; the cube is not used, and gammons/backgammon don't exist.
This often leads to very strategicaly played games, where a back-game
is more of an option than in the regular version since staying back
forever never leads to losing more than one point. Since all games are
played to to completion, `slime vigorish' to turn a game around
suddenly occurs more frequently since you cannot cube your opponent

Why play `one point matches'? Well, similar games occur all of the
time in tournament play. Double match point, and crawford to an even
score are examples.

One point matches have been labled the `Crack' of backgammon at the
New England Backgammon Club (NEBC), and the opium of the game by



From: sheyn@cs.bu.edu (Igor Sheyn)
Newsgroups: rec.games.backgammon
Subject: Re: Greek Backgammon
Date: 4 May 1995 14:10:31 GMT

OK, here's the attempt to put down a complete set of rule for the game
called feuga in Greek.

Equipment: Backgammon board, 15 checkers for each player, 2 pairs of
dice ( we play it with 1 pair, but let's keep it to bg as close to
possible )

Initial checkers setup: Each player has all of his checker on the same

   24 23 22 21 20 19  18 17 16 15 14 13
    1  2  3  4  5  6   7  8  9 10 11 12

Direction: Both players move counter clock-wise. Using numeration
above, O moves from 1 to 19-24 quater, which is his home. X moves from
13 to 24 and then continues 1 to 7-12 quater, which is his home.

Goal: Bring your men home and bear them off as in backgammon.

Main difference from backgammon: Hitting is not a part of a game,
hence the point is considered made when there's only 1 checker on it (
no blots and slotting in this game ).

Various aspects: the initial point for each player ( 13 for X, 1 for O
in the setup above ) is called "head". A player is allowed to move
only 1 checker from his head per roll. If he can't obey this rule on
any given roll, he can't play his roll fully. Exception: if your 1st
roll of the game is 6-6 or 4-4, you're allowed to play 2 checkers off
your head, 1/7(2) with 6-6 and 1/9(2) with 4-4.

Priming: there's one restriction on building a 6prime. You can build a
6prime only provided there's at least one opposing checker ahead of
your prime. E.g., if you want to build your prime from 1 to 6 as O, X
has to have at least 1 checker anywhere from 7 to 12. This rule is to
prevent trivial strategy of building 6prime right in the beginning and
then just rolling it home.

Gammon: Gammon is counted in same way as in BG. Backgammons do not
count ( as far as I know ).

Cube: No cube is used ( this can be easily fixed though ).

If u have any questions or if u think I left smth out, please let me


Greek/Turkish variation called ?

From: eadengle@cgl.uwaterloo.ca (Ed "Cynwrig" Dengler)
Subject: Re: Greek Backgammon

As taught to me by my uncle (who is a Greek):

Setup: All 15 of your men start on your 24 point (farthest point from
your bearoff).

Initially: Each player rolls 1 die, whoever rolls the highest uses
both dice to move. Play alternates with each player rolling two dice.

Movement and bearing off is the same as standard backgammon. The big
difference in Greek backgammon is that you never 'hit' an opponent's
checker and send it to the bar. Instead, you 'trap' the checker under
your own. Your opponent is not allowed to move his checker until you
uncover it. In addition, the trapped checker acts as one of your own
to form a blot (ie. equivalent to two checkers of your own colour on a

Because of the trapping rule, if you manage to trap an opponent's
checker in your bearoff quadrant, you can pretty much force a gammon,
unless you get trapped yourself and are forced to break the trap
first. Also, backgammons are much more common than in regular


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