Forum Archive : Variations

Other variations

From:   Douglas Zare
Date:   23 February 2000
Subject:   Backgammon variations. Was: rollover

If you want other variations of backgammon, here are a few (mostly not in
the archive):

1) It's Essentially A Race: The board is set up at a 400m track. When you
complete a lap, you get to move, even if you were the last one to move, and
you have to move at least once every 5 minutes (walking speed) or lose a
backgammon. Some people are better at non-contact positions than others,
and a good sprint is extremely useful for blitzing.

2) Misere: The object is to lose, which is different from what BG2Lose
plays. It probably makes sense to ignore gammons and backgammons, although
one variant I have heard people play is that one must lose a gammon to win;
single wins are draws. The games take much longer than ordinary backgammon
games though the proof that the game ends with probability 1 still works.
Timing and pipcounts are essential as is holding high defensive anchors
(which your opponent can't slot) before breaking contact. Primes are still
extremely useful. Since this is a longer game with a lot of the same
concepts, I think there might be more skill involved than in ordinary

3) Bad Advice: This is modelled after Fred Galvin's Compromise Chess. After
rolling, the player offers two legal moves, and the opponent decides which
to accept, or if there is only one legal move, this is simply made.
Unfortunately, I haven't found anyone willing to play this yet for
backgammon. I believe blitzing and containing a single checker would be
extremely difficult, and bearing off against contact should be humorous. I
chose the name "Bad Advice" for this operator on games since it can be
played by asking your opponent for advice, and by offering bad advice with
absurd justifications. ("Should I take your queen or run with Ke6?" "The
important thing is to get another piece controlling the center of the
board. I recommend that you advance your king.")

2) and 3) have the advantage that they produce legal games, hence can be
played on backgammon servers. There should be added points for confusing

4) Short Backgammon: If I figure out how to play ordinary backgammon
decently, I'd like to play on a larger board, with more pieces, and perhaps
8-sided dice. It is difficult to find a good starting position, but there
would be new ways to win, perhaps with multiple primes cutting one's
opponent in 3. Instead of doing that, shorten the dice: Any die which turns
up a 6 must be rerolled. It should be easier to prime, easier to roll
doubles, easier to hit if something is within range, and harder to blitz.

5) Play other games with a doubling cube. This even works for spectator
sports with, say, cube actions allowed during commercial breaks; which team
you back initially is chosen by the winner of a 1-point match of

As you might be able to tell, I don't mind distorting the game, but I think
one should recognize the changes and make sure that they do not warp one's
play of the real thing.

Douglas Zare
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Acey-deucy  (J. Nagel, Dec 2004) 
Acey-deucy  (Steve Ewert, June 1998) 
Acey-deucy  (Lee+, Jan 1997) 
Acey-deucy  (John David Galt+, Dec 1995) 
Acey-deucy  (James Eibisch, Apr 1995) 
Backwards play  (Colin Bell+, Feb 1996) 
Bad advice  (Jason Lee+, Mar 2004)  [GammOnLine forum]
Best-of-n variant of match play  (Tim Chow+, Feb 2009) 
Bluff Cube  (Timothy Chow+, Dec 2012) 
BluffGammon  (Christian Munk-Christensen, June 2009) 
Cancelgammon  (Ilia Guzei+, Mar 2004)  [GammOnLine forum]
Domino backgammon  (Laury Chizlett, Sept 1999) 
Duodecagammon  (David Moeser, Dec 2000) 
Duplicate backgammon  (Dean Gay+, Jan 1997) 
Duplicate backgammon  (Albert Steg, Feb 1996) 
Exact bearoff  (Chris Moellering+, Dec 2002) 
Fevga  (George, Sept 2004) 
Fevga (or Moultezim)  (Igor Sheyn+, May 1995) 
Freeze-out match  (Dave Brotherton, July 1998) 
Gabgammon  (jckz, Oct 2005) 
Greek backgammon  (Alexandre Charitopoulos, Aug 2003) 
Greek backgammon  (Alexandros Chatzipetros, June 1997) 
Greek backgammon  (Marc Jacobs+, Feb 1994) 
Hit man  (Matt Reklaitis, Jan 2004)  [GammOnLine forum]
Hyper backgammon  (Gregg Cattanach+, Dec 2000) 
Hyper backgammon  (Michael A Urban, Oct 1993) 
International backgammon  (Bob Lancaster+, Oct 2002) 
Jacquet  (Mark Driver, June 2001) 
Joker cube  (Joe Russell+, May 2011) 
Khachapuri  (Michael Petch+, Sept 2010) 
Kleinman's tandem backgammon  (Fabrice Liardet+, May 2010) 
LongRun  (Bill Hickey, Mar 2010) 
Longgammon  (Michael Strato, Dec 2000) 
Low number first, fixed dice, others.  (Walter Trice, Jan 1997) 
Mexican  (Tom Henry, Apr 1997) 
Middle Eastern backgammon  (Alan Cairns, Mar 2002) 
Misere (backgammon to lose)  (Jason Lee+, July 2004)  [GammOnLine forum]
Misere (backgammon to lose)  (Jason Lee+, Apr 1995) 
Misere, Chase, Skewed dice  (Stein Kulseth, Jan 1997) 
Nackgammon  (Ken Arnold, July 1996) 
Nackgammon Shuffle  (Stick, Sept 2011) 
Nackgammon opening moves  (Warwick+, Feb 2002) 
Narde  (narde, Nov 2006)  [Long message]
Nardi  (KL Gerber+, Nov 2002) 
No hit  (RedTop+, May 2004) 
Nuclear backgammon  (Walt Swan, Apr 1997) 
Old English  (Nick Wedd+, Feb 1996) 
One roll lookahead  (Stephen Turner, Mar 1997) 
Opening slot rule  (Gregg Cattanach, June 2006) 
Other variations  (Douglas Zare, Feb 2000) 
Plakoto  (Ed Dengler+, May 1995) 
Plakoto  (Pasteel M., Feb 1994) 
Plakoto express  (Athansios Vagias, Feb 2005) 
Portes  (George, Sept 2004) 
Roll-over  (Edward D. Collins, Oct 1997) 
Russian backgammon  (Daavid Turnbull, Aug 1991) 
SassanGammon  (Chiva Tafazzoli+, June 2009) 
Shesh Besh  (G.S., May 2003) 
Simborg Rule  (Scott+, Feb 2005)  [GammOnLine forum]
Slot backgammon  (Fabrice Liardet+, Aug 2008)  [GammOnLine forum]
Sudden death, Woodpecker, Gerhardsen  (Fredrik Dahl, Jan 1997) 
Tablestakes betting  (TrueMoneygames, June 2002) 
Takhteh  (Bruce Scott+, Mar 2003) 
Tandem Backgammon  (Mislav Kovacic, Feb 2012) 
Tavla  (Arda Findikoglu, Nov 2004) 
Tavla  (ucc02cx+, Feb 1997) 
Tavli (Portes, Plakoto, and Fevga)  (Jens Larsen, July 1997) 
Tavli question  (Brus+, Apr 2011) 
Tracy turn around  (Michael J. Zehr, Feb 1996) 
Tri-gammon  (Gregg Cattanach, Sept 2000) 
Trictrac  (David Levy+, May 1998) 
Trigammon  (James Eibisch, Jan 1997) 

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