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tom@bkgm.com

Backgammon Variants

The Never-Finishing Game

This game was invented by Nicholas Frantzis. It combines the features of standard backgammon, where checkers are hit, and Plakoto, where checkers are trapped. As you might guess from the name, a game of Never-Finishing Backgammon can take a very long time to play.

Setup: Each player starts with fifteen checkers on the opponent's one-point.

Object: The object of the game is to move all of your checkers around the board to your own home table and then bear them off. The first player to bear off all of his checkers wins the game.

Start: Both players roll one die and the higher number goes first. That player rolls both dice again to begin his first turn. After the first game, the winner of the previous game goes first.

Movement: The roll of the dice indicates how many points, or pips, the player is to move his checkers. The following rules apply:

• A checker may be moved only to an open point, one that is not occupied by two or more opposing checkers.
• The numbers on the two dice constitute separate moves. For example, if a player rolls 5 and 3, he may move one checker five spaces to an open point and another checker three spaces to an open point, or he may move the one checker a total of eight spaces to an open point, but only if the intermediate point (either three or five spaces from the starting point) is also open.
• Doubles are played twice. For example, a roll of 6-6 means the player has four sixes to use.
• You must use both numbers of a roll if possible, or all four numbers in the case of doubles.

Hitting and trapping: A checker sitting alone on a point is called a blot. When one of your checkers lands on an opposing blot, you have a choice of either trapping the blot or hitting it.

To "trap" an opposing blot, you move your checker onto the same point occupied by the blot. The trapped checker may not leave that point as long as your checker remains. You now own the point and your opponent may not use the point either to land on or touch down.

To "hit" an opposing blot, you move your checker to the point occupied by the blot and the place the blot on the bar.

Reentering hit checkers: Any time a player has one or more checkers on the bar, his first obligation is to reenter those checker(s) into the opposing home board. You enter a checker by moving it to an open point corresponding to one of the numbers on the rolled dice. If you are able to enter some but not all of your checkers, you must enter as many as you can and then give up the remainder of your turn.

Bearing Off: Once you have moved all fifteen of your checkers into your home board, you may begin bearing off. You bear off a checker by rolling a number that corresponds to the point on which the checker resides, then remove it from the board.

If there is no checker on the point indicated by the roll, then you must make a legal move using a checker on a higher-numbered point. If there are no checkers on higher-numbered points, you must remove one of your checkers from the highest point that has a checker.

Scoring: The first player to bear off all of his checkers wins the game and scores one point. If the winner bears off all his checkers before the loser has borne off any, he gets two points.

No doubling cube is used in this game.

Differences from Backgammon
 Players start with all fifteen checkers on the opponent's one-point. The winner of the opening roll rerolls for his first turn. You have the choice of either hitting or trapping an opposing player's checker. The winner scores one point for a normal win, two points for a gammon. There is no backgammon. There is no doubling cube.