This variant of backgammon starts off with all your pieces placed on the
point where the two pieces are placed in standard setup (in your opponent's
home quadrant.) The object of the game is still to make your way around the
board and bear off all your pieces. The major difference, though, is that
when you land on one of your opponents piece on a point by itself, their
piece does not come off and go to the bar; instead, the piece becomes
trapped, unable to move until you move your piece trapping it. This
seemingly slight variant of standard rules has an amazing impact of general
strategy. Furthermore, I found it very stimulating and interesting to play
each style back to back (as they do in casual tournaments in Crete,
supposedly.) It forced you to switch between different strategems and it
would also sometimes be a great confidence builder, whereas you might be
getting slaughtered on the one variant, only to be consistently ahead on the
My question, of course, is: Does anyone know the name of this variant and
whether or not official rules exist for it? Has anyone written about the
different strategies and techniques for this variant?
Thanks ahead of time.
The other one is called 'plakwto' meaning ' trapped' or 'buried'.
This is what your friend was talking about.
The third variant is called 'portes' meaning 'doors', and this is the
version which is known internationally, played by FIBS etc.
At least all the people I know of, play all three variants back to back
in tournaments of 3 or 5 or 7 points.
There is an ongoing argument about which game is less based on luck and
more 'startegic'. 'portes' or 'plakwto' ? Of course those best in one
of the variants claim that this particular variant is the true mental
challenge. It makes for lots of funny conservation.
These games are also known in Turkey and several Middle Eastern countries,
where other variants also exist. I have played a fourth version with a
turkish name, which was very very much based on luck. The secret:
If you got doubles , like say 4 4 with your dice you play the equivalent
of 1 1 , 2 2 , 3 3 and 4 4. As you understand, the first to get doubles
above say 3 3 effectively wins. I don't remember anything else about this
I hope one day to write a program to play 'plakwto' since the 'portes'
variety has already received lots of attention among programmers.
Marc Jacobs (jcbs...@uhura.cc.rochester.edu) wrote:
: I lived in England last year and had one good friend from Crete who loved to
: Thanks ahead of time.
: Marc Jacobs
\ bo...@gate.net | STRESS!--That confusion created when one's mind /
| CIS 76360,3477 | overrides the body's desire to choke the living |
/ GEnie R.PARIS2 | sh*t out of some as*h*le who really needs it! :-\
Some time ago Pasteel M. wrote:
From: mpas...@vub.ac.be (Pasteel M.)
Subject: RULES OF PLAKOTO (BK-LIKE GAME)
Date: 7 Feb 1994 11:24:18 GMT
Organization: Brussels Free Universities (VUB/ULB), Belgium
LOCKING (from the greek word "PLAKOTO") :
The way the stones are moving (including when you roll doubles) ,
the goal and the end are the same as in backgammon
(you have to bring all stones into your home table and then in your
pocket), you get two points if your opponent has no stones in his pocket
when you have all yours in your pocket.
The main differences are :
. all your stones are initially at the first rank of the table and have
to complete a whole circuit to reach your home table; your opponent has
all his stones in the first rank (rank 24) of your home table
When a stone is isolated, the opponent' stones can capture.
He simply puts his stone on your stone.
Your opponent can bring other stones on this ranks which belongs to
him just as he had two stones on it.
Your stone is locked until there is no more opponent's stones on it.
obody can double the value of the game. It's 1-0 or 2-0.
If somebody wants to leave the game, it's 2-0 for his opponent.
The other rules are the same, you have to play all possible moves.
Tactically, you should take care of never letting a isolated stone
in your opponent's home table (in your starting table).
A other trick to control the game is to try to get the central ranks 11,
12, 13 and 14)
On 1-10 scale, let'say that the backgammon' luck rate
is 6/10 and the plakoto's luck rate = 3/10. It is not statistical
but nosemetrical (You use your nose to mesure).
In Plakoto, you will soon see that unlike the BACKGAMMON,
when the game seem to be lost, you will lose it in most of
the cases. So doubling is not appropriate for this game.
There is another fascinating game to explain. I am waiting for
your reply to explain it to you and to give you more details on LOCKING.
Sincerely yours, PASTEELS Jean-Michel (half greek)
| Pedro Quaresma de Almeida |
| Departamento de Matem\'atica |
| Faculdade de Ci\^encias e Tecnologia |
| Universidade de Coimbra |
| P-3000 COIMBRA --- PORTUGAL |
| e-mail: pe...@mat.uc.pt |
> In Greece we play routinely 3 variants of backgammon.
> The simpler one is called 'feuga' (arbitrary transliteration ) meaning
> ' run ' and that defines its strategy more or less. YOu don't get
> opponents' stones out of the board or trap them. You can only block them
> by closing a six-consecutive-doors area with your stones.
> The other one is called 'plakwto' meaning ' trapped' or 'buried'.
> This is what your friend was talking about.
Would you be able to clarify the rules and game play of 'feuga' (which I've
never played) and 'plakwto' (which I have)? I haven't played it in about a
year and I want to have some written description of rules so that I don't
I just want to add that I really enjoy the idea of rotating between
different variations. It makes long evenings of backgammon consistently more
As a matter of fact, there are three variants which, in reality, are so different
that are considered as different games.
1) The first variant is the one you refer to as 'standard'. It is what is ment
by Europeans when they say 'backgammon'. In Greece the game is called "DOORS"
(PORTES in greek, accent in O).
This is because the player is constantly trying to build 'doors'. A piece on
top of another piece is called a 'door'. The importance of the door is obvious:
A door cannot be hit by the opponent, so it is the most basic element in the game.
2) The second variant you describe below is called "PLAKOTO" (accent in last O).
I can't find a single english word to translate this. When an opponent's piece
founds itself under one of your pieces (so it is trapped and cannot move until
released) it is said that it is 'plakoto'.
3) The third variant (which you and your greek friend seem to ignore completely)
is called "RUN" (FEVGA in greek, accent in E). For most of us it is the most
challenging and fascinating variant, although it may sound too simplistic
at first glance. Here is the main difference:
You can put your piece only on top of other OWN pieces or on empty slots.
There is no 'hitting' or 'trapping' or any other way to damage your opponent.
You can only force him to make movements he doesn't want to, by good
positioning of your own pieces. The perfect (almost!) achievement is to have
six consecutive pieces, so that all of your opponents' pieces are stuck and
cannot proceed to the end. Of course at the same time, your opponent is trying
exactly the same thing and that makes things complicated and the game exciting!
There are also somewe other differences which I can't describe here.
> This variant of backgammon starts off with all your pieces placed on the
> point where the two pieces are placed in standard setup (in your opponent's
> home quadrant.) The object of the game is still to make your way around the
> board and bear off all your pieces. The major difference, though, is that
> when you land on one of your opponents piece on a point by itself, their
> piece does not come off and go to the bar; instead, the piece becomes
> trapped, unable to move until you move your piece trapping it. This
> seemingly slight variant of standard rules has an amazing impact of general
> strategy. Furthermore, I found it very stimulating and interesting to play
> each style back to back (as they do in casual tournaments in Crete,
> supposedly.) It forced you to switch between different strategems and it
> would also sometimes be a great confidence builder, whereas you might be
> getting slaughtered on the one variant, only to be consistently ahead on the
In real life tournaments, all of the 3 variants are played back to back.
One has to win 7 games (usually) to win a tournament.
> My question, of course, is: Does anyone know the name of this variant and
> whether or not official rules exist for it? Has anyone written about the
> different strategies and techniques for this variant?
As most Greeks, I'm only an average rank amateur and I'm not very interested
in officially organised championships (if any in Greece). Perhaps the beauty
of this game is that in some coffee shops in Greece you can find super-expert
players (usually over 55 years old) that can beat any so-called european champion
scoring 7-0 !!
I'm not aware of any officially defined rules (everybody knows them!) or any books
describing techniques etc.
If you are very interested on this I can write you details (personal e-mail),
provided I will have enough time for this.
> Thanks ahead of time.
> Marc Jacobs
I hope I did something for you.
I have only one book whose main aim is to explain the different versions of
backgammon. It is called _Backgammon Games and Strategies_, bt Nicolaos and
Basil Tzannes, 1977. The book says "printed in America" and gives A.S.
Barnes & Co., Cranbury, N.J. 08512 as the publisher, yet also lists Thomas
Yoseloff Ltd, Magdalen House, London as a publisher. The price on the dust
jacket is in British pounds.
The chapter titles are as follows:
1. The Game of Hit (Portes)
2. The Game of Plakoto
3. The Game of Moultezim
4. The Game of Gioul
5. Doubling and Chouette
The Tzannes brothers are passionate about these games, and write in the
hopes of popularizing them in North America:
"It is incredible to us that the two games that [plakoto and
moultezim] are not known to the western world. They are by far much more
interesting and exciting than "hit." It is our strong belief that the
doubling cube may become obsolete, once these games are learned and
Plakoto is without any doubt the king of backgammon games. Moultezim
is a serious game for the fundamentalist, the pure startegist, the complete
backgammon player. A player who does not know these games is not really
It's hard to imagine Americans being lured away from our doubling cubes, yet
there may be a wealth of fascination we are missing out on here! Surely,
backgammon-type games are more of a cultural treasure in the Mediterranean
countries than they are in America. Is there such a thing as "a complete
backgammon player" in America?
Next time I run across European or Middle-Eastern players in Harvard Square
this summer I think I'll try to learn some of these games from them.
"When it was proclaimed that the Library contained all books,the
first impression was one of extravagant happiness. All men felt
themselves to be the masters of an intact and secret treasure.
-Jorge Luis Borges, "The Library of Babel"
: There are also somewe other differences which I can't describe here.
I'd really like to play this game in US. I used to play it in Russia.
In some regions it was far more popular than backgammon. Now I'd like
find out if rules in Greek differ. 1st, u can take only 1 checker off
the "head" per each move EXCEPT some doubles on your very 1st move. I
believe u can move 2 checkers on 6-6. Now I am not sure what can u do
with opening rolls 4-4 and 3-3.
2nd, u can have 6 consecutive piece ONLY behind your opponent. For
example, u have 5 in a row, and your opponent jumps over it with 6s.
ONLY after he jumps u can make 6 consecutive.
3rd. How is determined who has the opening move? Same way as in
I'll apreciate any feedback.
: As most Greeks, I'm only an average rank amateur and I'm not very interested
: in officially organised championships (if any in Greece). Perhaps the beauty
: of this game is that in some coffee shops in Greece you can find super-expert
: players (usually over 55 years old) that can beat any so-called european champion
: scoring 7-0 !!
Maybe in other backgammon variations, but not in backgammon itself.
Western world bg is FAR ahead.
: I'm not aware of any officially defined rules (everybody knows them!) or any books
: describing techniques etc.
: If you are very interested on this I can write you details (personal e-mail),
: provided I will have enough time for this.
: > Thanks ahead of time.
: > Marc Jacobs
: > jcbs...@uhura.cc.rochester.edu
: I hope I did something for you.
: George Kouseras
: Athens, GREECE