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Backgammon Variants

Backgammon boards can be used for much more than just playing backgammon. There are many other wonderful games you can play. They range from very simple games for children to elaborate games such as Trictrac. Here are rules for many of the most popular games you can play on a backgammon board.

Games for Children

Blast Off A simple game that involves no hitting designed for children who are just starting to learn to move the checkers.
Blocking
Backgammon
The strategy for this game is easier than other games of backgammon, so it is often the first game taught to children in the Middle East.
Eureika A game of pure luck taught to children in the Middle East to familiarize them with a backgammon board.

Acey-Deucey

American
Acey-Deucey
This form of Acey-Deucey has been a favorite of the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Merchant Marine since the First World War.
European
Acey-Deucey
The European differs from the American game in that doubles are played on both sides of the dice.
Greek
Acey-Deucey
A unique feature of this game is that you can force your opponent to hit one of your blots.
Mexican Backgammon In this form of Acey-Deucey, you are allowed a maximum of five checkers on a point.

Middle Eastern Games

Fevga This Greek game is similar to Moultezim and Narde. It features no hitting and the players move in the same direction around the board.
Gul Bara This game is similar to Moultezim in that one checker controls a point. However, in Gul Bara doubles are very powerful.
Gioul Gioul originated in Turkey and is played throughout the Middle East. The setup and movement are the same as Plakoto, a single checker on a point forms a block as in Moultezim, and doubles are very powerful as in Gul Bara.
Moultezim This Turkish game is similar to Narde and Fevga. It features no hitting and the players move in the same direction around the board.
Narde This Russian game is similar to Moultezim and Fevga. It features no hitting and the players move in the same direction around the board.
Plakoto This is one of three backgammon games popular in Greece. The unique feature of Plakoto is that opponent's checkers are pinned rather than hit. The same game is played in Bulgaria, where it is called Tapa.
Plakoto
Express
This game is similar to Plakoto, except that if you roll doubles you get to play that roll and every succeeding doubles roll up to 6-6.
Portes Portes is one of three backgammon games popular in Greece. It is very similar to Western backgammon.
Shesh Besh Shesh Besh is a Turkish game very similar to Western backgammon.
Tapa This is game is popular in Bulgaria. The unique feature of Tapa is that opponent's checkers are pinned rather than hit. The same game is played in Greece, where it is called Plakoto.
Takhteh Takhteh is the Persian name for backgammon. It is very similar to Western backgammon.
Tawula Tawula is also known as Turkish backgammon. Players start at diagonally-opposite corners and move around the board in the same direction.
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.

Old Games

Chasing the
Girls
This very old game is from Iceland, and may date from Roman times.
Doublets This very old game of pure luck was still played in Iceland at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Fayles This game was played in Spain and England from the thirteenth to the seventeenth century.
Irish Irish is probably backgammon's direct ancestor. The game dates back to the sixteenth century when it was played in several European countries under different names.
Jacquet Jacquet was once popular in France and several other European countries.
Tabula Tabula is a Roman game played using three dice instead of two.
Tourne-case Tourne-case was popular in France in the seventeenth century. Each player has just three checkers.
Trictrac Trictrac was very popular in France prior to the Revolution. The rules are quite elaborate. The goal is to score points for particular positions and movements.

Modern Games

Hyper-Backgammon This backgammon variant is played with each side having just three checkers.
LongGammon LongGammon is the same is regular backgammon except that each player starts with all his checkers on the opponent's one-point.
Misere
(Backgammon
to Lose)
The object of this game is to be the last player to bear off all your checkers.
Nackgammon This backgammon variant was invented by Nack Ballard. It is the same as the regular game except that each player starts with two additional back checkers.
Propositions These are a class of games where the rules for the two sides are different.
Roll-Over Each player has one chance per game to ask for the dice to be rerolled.

Games of Pure Skill

No Chance Backgammon A game devised by Naim Çagman in which players select the numbers to be played instead of rolling dice.
Domino Backgammon A game invented by Matt Crispin in which the player uses dominos instead of dice.
Grasshopper A racing game invented by Matt Crispin in which no dice are used.

Miscellaneous Games

Dutch Backgammon A game in which both players start with all their checkers off the board.
French Backgammon A game in which both players start with all their checkers off the board, and in which doubles are played on both sides of the dice.
Old English Backgammon A game in which both players start with all their checkers off the board, and in which doubles are played on both sides of the dice.
Russian Backgammon Russian Backgammon is a true race, with both players moving their checkers in the same direction and bearing off from the same table.
The Pin Game This is similar to the Greek game Plakoto in which checkers are trapped rather than hit.
Poof This is just like regular backgammon except you always play your lower number first.
Swedish Tables Swedish Tables is played much like backgammon except that the two players move in the same direction around the board and there are more ways to win than simply bearing off your checkers.

Forms of Competition

Duplicate Backgammon Duplicate Backgammon was inspired by duplicate bridge. Multiple pairs of combatants compete at the same time using the same dice rolls in the separate games.
Chouette Chouette is a form of backgammon for more than two players. A captain and a team play against the box.
1931 Chouette Rules Chouette rules prepared by the Racquet and Tennis Club of New York.
ABA Chouette Rules Chouette rules prepared by the Atlanta Backgammon Association.

Earlier Rules of Backgammon

1931 Rules Rules prepared by the Racquet and Tennis Club of New York which formed the basis of backgammon rules as it is played today.
1969 Rules Rules prepared by the International Backgammon Association and published in Obolensky's and James's book Backgammon: The Action Game.
1970 Rules Rules prepared in conjunction with the International Backgammon Association and the Inter-Club League of New York and published in Jacoby's and Crawford's book, The Backgammon Book.

More Variants

The Backgammon Forum Archive has descriptions of several other games, such as:
  • Backwards Play: You may move your checkers either forward or backward according to the number rolled.
  • Bad Advice: On each turn, your opponent "suggests" a move for you to make. If you don't follow his suggestion, he can veto (once only) your alternate choice.
  • Chase: Both players set up and play clockwise, moving around the board in the same direction.
  • Duodecagammon: Backgammon played with 12-sided dice.
  • Exact Bearoff: When bearing off, you must roll the exact point number of a checker to be able to take it off.
  • Freeze-out Match: You play as many games as required until one player leads by a predetermined number of points.
  • Fixed-dice Backgammon: The opening roll is repeatedly played for the entire game.
  • Gerhardsen: The winner of the game rolls two dice, and if he rolls 2-1 the result is reversed.
  • No Hit: If you hit your opponent, you lose.
  • Nuclear Backgammon: At any point in the game, a player may launch a "nuclear attack," sending all blots (yours and his) to the bar.
  • One-Roll Lookahead: You get to see the opponent's next roll before completing your play.
  • Skewed-dice Backgammon: One player uses regular dice; the other uses one four-sided die and one eight-sided die.
  • Sudden Death or Hit Man: First player to hit a shot wins the game.
  • Tracy Turn-Around: If your opponent drops a cube that you think is a take, you may ask him to pay twice the normal amount for dropping and continue the game with the sides reversed.
  • Woodpecker: This game has a two-stage doubling rule, as though you are playing with two doubling cubes which cannot be used simultaneously.

Mel Leifer's Gammon Links page has links to many other creative backgammon-type games, some of which require special boards or other equipment.

Backgammon Variants
Ace-Deo
Ace-Mid Switch
Acey-Deucey
American Acey-Deucey
Backgammon to Lose
Backgammon 1931 Rules
Backgammon 1969 Rules
Backgammon 1970 Rules
Blast Off
Blocking Backgammon
Chasing the Girls
Chouette
Crazy Narde
Domino Backgammon
Doublets
Duplicate Backgammon
Dutch Backgammon
Eureika
European Acey-Deucey
Fayles
Fevga
French Backgammon
Gioul
Grande Trictrac
Grasshopper
Greek Acey-Deucey
Greek Backgammon
Gul Bara
Handicap Matches
Hyper-backgammon
Irish
Jacquet
LongGammon
  Ludus Lumbardorum
Mexican Backgammon
Misere Backgammon
Moultezim
Nackgammon
Narde
Never-Finishing Game
Old English Backgammon
Pin Game
Plakoto
Plakoto Express
Poof
Portes
Propositions
Roman Backgammon
Roll-Over
Rosespring Backgammon
Russian Backgammon
Shesh Besh
Snake
Swedish Tables
Tables
Tabula
Takhteh
Tapa
Tavla
Tavli
Tawula
Tourne-case
Trictrac
Turkish Backgammon
Two Rolls versus Choice

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