# Variation of BG

2 views

### John Heckler

Feb 23, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/23/96
to
There might already be a game or variation of the rules of Backgammon in which
this has already been tried, but I was thinking the other day that it might
make for an interesting twist if the rules of BG allowed you to move backwards.
All other rules being basically the same. Does anything like this exist?

Just curious...

jt

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### Colin Bell

Feb 23, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/23/96
to

John Heckler <hec...@lexis-nexis.com> wrote:
>There might already be a game or variation of the rules of Backgammon in which
>this has already been tried, but I was thinking the other day that it might
>make for an interesting twist if the rules of BG allowed you to move backwards.
>All other rules being basically the same. Does anything like this exist?
>

A group I'm in likes to try out variations on standard games like this, and
we've played what you suggest and several others. What you suggest doesn't
really work very well as a game: once separation occurs, the correct
strategy for the player who is behind seems to be to move pieces backward
chasing the other person, and playing a sort of reverse-backgame while
making their entire homeboard (or as good as they can manage). If a blot is
hit, the other player comes on, and if they're now behind in the race as they
usually are, the position reverses, so it's essentially who can get their
men off without ever leaving a blot: a bit random.

Playing with two forward dice and one backward one (doublets including the
backward one have no effect) is more of a game, but very long-winded (hitting
is far too easy).

The best version we've had along these lines seems to be that you have to
declare whether your dice are forward or backward before you throw. In this
variant you can move backward from your opponent's home board onto yours,
but only bear off forward. The strategy is quite odd: control of the 1 points
tends to be crucial.

Other variants: two rolls versus choice. One player rolls (and plays) two
rolls per turn, the other doesn't roll but may choose whatever roll they
wish, except for doubles. This seems to be reasonably balanced and a fair
degree of skill is involved.

Another involves one person starting with five pieces on the opponent's 1
point and two on the midpoint (this was played first when someone set up the
board incorrectly by accident). More balanced than you might expect, and
good practice in backgames and some holding games (the 'odd' player almost
always makes an advanced anchor very early - or loses a gammon).

Finally, normal backgammon but with each player rolling three dice, and the
opponent selecting which two are to be played. In subsequent turns only two
dice are rolled and the third number is one removed last time.

Needless to say, none of these games is as good as regular backgammon, and
the better ones seem to be the ones that resemble it most. But they're fun
to try once in a while.

--
Colin Bell, cr...@cam.ac.uk. Dept of Pure Mathematics, University of Cambridge
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It's Tuesday evening in The Ploughman's, and Christine has
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### Charles Sumner Zack

Feb 24, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/24/96
to
John Heckler <hec...@lexis-nexis.com> wrote:
>There might already be a game or variation of the rules of Backgammon in which
>this has already been tried, but I was thinking the other day that it might
>make for an interesting twist if the rules of BG allowed you to move backwards.
>All other rules being basically the same. Does anything like this exist?
>
>Just curious...
>
>jt

I tried this ... once. Since any blot is almost guaranteed to be
hit, it can take a while. In fact, I think both my opponent and I had about
7 checkers each in the, uh, board that you start in off the bar, when we
gave up. It might work if you rearrange the starting positions a little,
but as is, playing 'backward-gammon' is kind of like playing War (the card
game).

Charley,
cszack on FIBS