This game from Iceland is very old, and may date from Roman times.
Chasing the Girls
Setup: The players have just six checkers each, one on each point in the opposite right-hand table, as shown below. The checkers move in a counterclockwise direction and continue to circle the board until one player has no checkers left.
Each player rolls one die. The player rolling the lower number goes first and rolls both dice again to start his turn.
Moving the checkers: Only rolls of doubles or rolls containing a 1 or a 6 are played. A roll of 6-6 is played twice (as in regular backgammon); all other doubles are played just once.
With a mixed roll, any number other than 1 or 6 is ignored. The 1's and 6's are played as in normal backgammon. For example, a roll of 6-1 permits a player to move one checker a total of seven points, or one checker six points and another checker one point.
Only one checker is allowed on a point. If a roll brings a checker to a point already occupied by one of the same color, the checker is placed on the next available point beyond it.
If a checker lands on a point occupied by an opponent's checker, the opponent's checker is removed from the board.
When a player has only one checker left, that checker is known as a corner-rattler and the method of play changes:
- The corner-rattler may land only on points numbered 1, 6, 7, and 12.
- A roll of 1 moves the corner-rattler ahead to the next corner point.
- A roll of 6 moves the corner-rattler ahead two corner points.
- A roll of 1-1 or 6-6 move ahead two corners or four corners respectively.
- Any other double allows the player to roll again.
For example, suppose your corner-rattler is on the one-point and you roll 6-1. The 6 moves you ahead two corners to the seven-point, and the 1 moves you ahead one more corner to the twelve-point.
One other feature of a corner-rattler is that it is imune from attack if it is sitting between two enemy checkers. In the example below, Red has a corner-rattler between two of White's checkers.
If White rolls 3-1, he may not use the 1 to hit Red. (If White wants to move the checker on the five-point, he must move it to the eight-point, the next available space). However, if White rolls 6-1, he can first use the 6 to move the checker from the seven-point to the far one-point, and then use the 1 to hit Red and win the game.
If both players are reduced to corner-rattlers, a long chase may develop before one of them is hit.
- R. C. Bell: Discovering Backgammon.
- H. J. R. Murray: A History of Board-Games other than Chess; Oxford University Press, Oxford, England; 1951 (page 121).