Forum Archive :
I read a complete thread that was dealing with "the turkish coffeeshop way
of playing backgammon" and "the middle age of backgammon".
Actually, in those countries, backgammon (also called Tavli in greece and I
think in turkey also, and Shesh-besh in some arabic countries and in
armenia) is a _real_ society thing. Much more than the simple fact of
playing with money, betting, gambling and calculating positions.
Imagine one minute you all are playing without the cube. I perfectly know
some will say "Then it's no more backgammon". Okay, right. It's no more
_your_way_ of playing backgammon.
Actually playing without the cube offers more interest than you may think.
It first develops the attention on the game itself, and not what has been
made _around_ the game (eg. gambling, the cube, etc). Then, it develops
social links. You play with _your friend_ and not your opponent. I will not
develop the hatred I have towards professional players, who have turned a
traditionnal middle-eastern game into a job and a way to earn a living. I
couldn't play with such a player (and I think that everyone which is used
to the _traditionnal_ play will say the same).
But greek backgammon (or turkish, or arabic, or whatever, I don't like
calling this "backgammon": let's call it "tavli") is not made up only with
the game you all know (which we call "portes"). It's actually made up of
three games, played alternatively, each game won gives one point, gammon
gives two points. No backgammon. The two other games (whose names are
"fevga" and "plakoto") differ from "portes" in term of initial disposition,
and the possibility to "block" a checker with an opponent one, and the fact
that the two player turn in the same way, or in opposite ways (like portes)
This is the way I have ever been used to play, and million peoples have
been used too. You all who play what I will call "gambling backgammon"
cannot understand this.
Imagine one instant that the game you play has thousands years of playing,
and that gambling with a backgammon is a pure american point of view. Try
once to play without cube a portes/fevga/plakoto complete game with a good
coffee and you will see.
By the way, fevga and plakoto (which are simpler than portes to learn)
offer many more possibilities to develop powerful strategies, and very good
plakoto and fevga players are rare, because it is very very hard to
develop. Much more, to my mind, than your american backgammon. And without
the gambling that creates no social link. Remember that tavli is a real
social cohesion game.
If you ever go to Greece, or Turkey, or such countries, you may notice
- the boards are wood-made, the checkers doing a "clac-clac" noise on the
board which is perfect for initiating a noisy conversation
- They only use _one_ pair of dice (plastic-made, 10 cents the little bag
- Checkers are plastic made, and very cheap (thus being able to get
remplaced easily if lost)
- The game is _really_ noisy
Whereas is the US (or any backgammon-playing country) the boards are made
to play a quiet and silent game, with a personnal pair of dice and
beautifully-made boards/checkers/dice. A good board in greece (pretty with
good woods and well made) costs hardly 15 $.
These kinds of characteristics are lost when the backgammon is
In Greece :
- Only one pair of dice is used, the move is done when the second checker
has moved. Everyone avoids, as far as possible, to redo one move.
- For the first game, the who players throw one die each, and the higher
- For the other games, the winner of the previous game begins.
- Games are played up to 5 points (or 3 or 7, depending on the available
time), alternating the three kinds of games usually played : Portes /
Fevga / Plakoto.
- No backgammon (ie. only "simple" games, and "double" [diplo] games, ie.
- No rule of "no hit and go" : you can hit and then go with the same
- No rule of the "higher die must be played"
- The loser usually pays for the drinks.
Tavli (and definitely not backgammon) player.
- Acey-deucy (J. Nagel, Dec 2004)
- Acey-deucy (Steve Ewert, June 1998)
- Acey-deucy (Lee+, Jan 1997)
- Acey-deucy (John David Galt+, Dec 1995)
- Acey-deucy (James Eibisch, Apr 1995)
- Backwards play (Colin Bell+, Feb 1996)
- Bad advice (Jason Lee+, Mar 2004)
- Best-of-n variant of match play (Tim Chow+, Feb 2009)
- Bluff Cube (Timothy Chow+, Dec 2012)
- BluffGammon (Christian Munk-Christensen, June 2009)
- Cancelgammon (Ilia Guzei+, Mar 2004)
- Domino backgammon (Laury Chizlett, Sept 1999)
- Duodecagammon (David Moeser, Dec 2000)
- Duplicate backgammon (Dean Gay+, Jan 1997)
- Duplicate backgammon (Albert Steg, Feb 1996)
- Exact bearoff (Chris Moellering+, Dec 2002)
- Fevga (George, Sept 2004)
- Fevga (or Moultezim) (Igor Sheyn+, May 1995)
- Freeze-out match (Dave Brotherton, July 1998)
- Gabgammon (jckz, Oct 2005)
- Greek backgammon (Alexandre Charitopoulos, Aug 2003)
- Greek backgammon (Alexandros Chatzipetros, June 1997)
- Greek backgammon (Marc Jacobs+, Feb 1994)
- Hit man (Matt Reklaitis, Jan 2004)
- Hyper backgammon (Gregg Cattanach+, Dec 2000)
- Hyper backgammon (Michael A Urban, Oct 1993)
- International backgammon (Bob Lancaster+, Oct 2002)
- Jacquet (Mark Driver, June 2001)
- Joker cube (Joe Russell+, May 2011)
- Khachapuri (Michael Petch+, Sept 2010)
- Kleinman's tandem backgammon (Fabrice Liardet+, May 2010)
- LongRun (Bill Hickey, Mar 2010)
- Longgammon (Michael Strato, Dec 2000)
- Low number first, fixed dice, others. (Walter Trice, Jan 1997)
- Mexican (Tom Henry, Apr 1997)
- Middle Eastern backgammon (Alan Cairns, Mar 2002)
- Misere (backgammon to lose) (Jason Lee+, July 2004)
- Misere (backgammon to lose) (Jason Lee+, Apr 1995)
- Misere, Chase, Skewed dice (Stein Kulseth, Jan 1997)
- Nackgammon (Ken Arnold, July 1996)
- Nackgammon Shuffle (Stick, Sept 2011)
- Nackgammon opening moves (Warwick+, Feb 2002)
- Narde (narde, Nov 2006)
- Nardi (KL Gerber+, Nov 2002)
- No hit (RedTop+, May 2004)
- Nuclear backgammon (Walt Swan, Apr 1997)
- Old English (Nick Wedd+, Feb 1996)
- One roll lookahead (Stephen Turner, Mar 1997)
- Opening slot rule (Gregg Cattanach, June 2006)
- Other variations (Douglas Zare, Feb 2000)
- Plakoto (Ed Dengler+, May 1995)
- Plakoto (Pasteel M., Feb 1994)
- Plakoto express (Athansios Vagias, Feb 2005)
- Portes (George, Sept 2004)
- Roll-over (Edward D. Collins, Oct 1997)
- Russian backgammon (Daavid Turnbull, Aug 1991)
- SassanGammon (Chiva Tafazzoli+, June 2009)
- Shesh Besh (G.S., May 2003)
- Simborg Rule (Scott+, Feb 2005)
- Slot backgammon (Fabrice Liardet+, Aug 2008)
- Sudden death, Woodpecker, Gerhardsen (Fredrik Dahl, Jan 1997)
- Tablestakes betting (TrueMoneygames, June 2002)
- Takhteh (Bruce Scott+, Mar 2003)
- Tandem Backgammon (Mislav Kovacic, Feb 2012)
- Tavla (Arda Findikoglu, Nov 2004)
- Tavla (ucc02cx+, Feb 1997)
- Tavli (Portes, Plakoto, and Fevga) (Jens Larsen, July 1997)
- Tavli question (Brus+, Apr 2011)
- Tracy turn around (Michael J. Zehr, Feb 1996)
- Tri-gammon (Gregg Cattanach, Sept 2000)
- Trictrac (David Levy+, May 1998)
- Trigammon (James Eibisch, Jan 1997)