Forum Archive : Variations

Simborg Rule

From:   Scott
Date:   15 February 2005
Subject:   Simborg Rule??
Forum:   GammOnLine

Have you seen Phil Simborg's article at GammonVillage where he describes
the "Simborg Rule"?

>  Simborg Rule: The opening roll shall not be used to make a point
>  (e.g. you cannot play 8/5, 6/5 with the opening 3-1).

My first impression is that this idea is not a good one, but I want to
hear some opinions of the knowledgeable folks here. Pros/cons? Thanks.

Gregg Cattanach  writes:

With this rule, it takes almost all of the equity boost for winning the
first roll. I think it's interesting, but doubt it will 'catch on'.

It looks like this is the way to play these numbers with the Simborg
rule (you can't make a point with the opening roll):

61: 24/18 24/23
31: 13/10 6/5
42: 24/20 13/11
53: 24/21 13/8
64: 24/18 13/9 (or 24/14)

Gregg C.

Douglas Zare  writes:

People often suggest rule changes to eliminate some annoying luck in
backgammon. However, these changes just move the luck around, and often
don't make the game any deeper or more skillful.

While we would have to get used to different positions in the opening,
positions encountered under the Simborg Rule may be less varied than in
regular backgammon. That's because it is much harder for one side to
gain a 3:1 advantage in board strength, as often happens in regular
backgammon, and the back checkers will move on almost every opening

Another problem is that it is an additional compexity to explain to new
players, or those familiar with a variant of backgammon.

Douglas Zare

Gregg Cattanach  writes:

Good point. The 'best' play with the point making rolls with the Simborg
rule all involve player #1 moving the back men (31 is a toss-up between
13/10 6/5 and 13/10 24/23), which would lead to a lot more mutual
holding games and less prime-vs-prime and blitzes.

Once your opponent has split his back men going for an advanced anchor,
it's generally right for you to do the same. This would tend to make the
games more boring.

Walter Trice  writes:

I don't see the need. Only a very small part of the luck that decides a
game comes on the first roll. In fact if someone were to do a study it
might turn out that the opening roll is well below average in joker-

I do enjoy playing off-beat versions of backgammon, but to be
interesting they need to be really different -- things like the
"Pyramid-gammon" event that Bill Davis held in Chicago a while back. The
Simborg rule doesn't change the game much, except perhaps to make it
just a tiny bit more boring.

If the objective is to put more skill and less luck into the game, we
already have some variants that do that, such as Nackgammon and Acey-
Deucey. So the key question about the Simborg Rule is "Is it
interesting?" and, imho, the answer is no.
Did you find the information in this article useful?          

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



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