Forum Archive : Variations


From:   Ed Dengler
Date:   4 May 1995
Subject:   Re: Greek Backgammon

> Does anyone know the rules of a popular backgammon variant played in
> Greece?

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

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 backgammon.

Have fun!

Dean Jameson  writes:

Ed describes what is usually called Greek backgammon (plakoto).  An
interesting discussion of plakoto and moultezim, with lengthy strategic
analyses, can be found in "Backgammon Games and Strategies" by Nicolaos
and Basil Tzannes (A.S. Barnes & Co., 1977) (probably out of print).

Both variants are worth looking into.  Although quite different in
structure, they share the common characteristic of having all men start
on the point farthest from home, and so take two or three times as long
to play as the regular game.  They require a fair amount of long-term
strategic thinking (and a fair amount of patience) in order to play well.
Plakoto, IMHO, tends to be boring, because if one player can trap one of
his opponent's pieces in its starting table, the game is essentially over
unless the trapped player can equalize with a similarly far-from-home pin.
Usually, he can't.  BTW, a computer version of this game is included in
the backgammon module of Software Toolworks' "Games People Play."
Did you find the information in this article useful?          

Do you have any comments you'd like to add?     



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