Forum Archive : Chouettes

Online chouette rules

From:   John Graas
Date:   30 July 2003
Subject:   Re: Chouette Question for Online Play

Here's Kit's fibs chouette rules.  They're pretty old, but I haven't
seen a newer version.


   Chouette Regulations

This is a proposed set of regulations for chouettes on FIBS.  The main
goal of these regulations is to keep things simple and avoid possible
disputes.  This is a draft only -- any suggested modifications are
more than welcome.

Order of play:

When the game initially forms, the players will "roll the dice" for
starting rotation.  Two players will start a random game, and for
every player in the chouette will take a dice roll -- high dice is in
the box, 2nd high is captain, 3rd highest is parter with box (if box
has a partner), etc.

If a new player enters the chouette in the middle, he goes to the
bottom of the rotation for the first game he plays (that is, he is
behind the player who just lost the previous game).

Partners in the box:  If there are 5 or fewer players, there is no
partner's in the box -- however if a partnership in the box just won
and somebody leaves the chouette to reduce the number of players to
below 6, then the partnership remains intact for the remainder of the
box run.  If there are 6 to 10 players, then the box must take a
partner (not optional).  The size of the chouette is limited to 10


a) If there are no partners: When the box wins that player retains the
box, the losing captain goes to the bottom of the rotation, and the
next player in line becomes the captain.  When the box loses he goes
to the bottom of the rotation, the winning captain becomes the box,
and the next player in line becomes the captain.

b) If there are partners: When the box wins, the partnership retains
the box, the losing captain goes to the bottom of the rotation, and
the next player in line becomes the captain.  When the box loses, the
shooting partner of the box goes to the bottom of the rotation, the
partner of the box becomes captain, the winning captain becomes the
box, and the next player in line becomes partner with the box.

If the game increases in size to create the need for partners, then
the player next in line after the player who becomes captain becomes
the partner of the box.

If the game decreases in size to eliminate the need for partners, the
partnership in the box remains until the box run ends.  At that time
the winning captain plays in the box by himself, the partner of the
box becomes the new captain, and the losing box shooter goes to the
bottom of the rotation.

For simplicity, for purposes of determining who is in the box the
actual winner of the game (as played out or as ended by a rejected
cube) is deemed to be the winner (even if that individual showed a
negative equity by passing a previous cube).  This avoids
complications, and the large majority of the time the actual winner
will show positive equity anyway.

A player is not permitted to pass the box, nor is he permitted to
refuse to be a partner to the box when it is his turn.


There is no consultation on play decisions before the cube is turned,
either by the team or by the box and his partner.  Once the cube has
been turned, consultation on plays is permitted.  In general such
consultation should be restricted to just suggesting a play -- giving
lengthy reasons and debating plays just slows things up.

If a player is interested in turning the cube, he should say so --
preferably before the opponents have played so the captain (or the
box) doesn't roll prematurely.  It is expected that the captain or the
box will then wait until everybody has had his say.  However, if the
dice are rolled or the cube is turned before any settlements have been
made, then this decision is binding all members of the doubling team.

Once the cube is turned, the player receiving the cube should not act
until everybody involved has made the necessary decisions.  However if
he does act prematurely, then his action is binding on other members
of his team -- if he rejects, that is the end of the game and
everybody on his team is deemed to have passed, while if he accepts
then everybody on his team is deemed to have taken the double unless
they have previously said they were passing.  This is necessary, as an
acceptance of the double generates a dice roll.

In general, any conversation regarding suggested plays or cube actions
are expected to be done via kibitzing only, so the whole table can
hear.  Individuals may talk to each other, of course, but usually not
about the game unless it is discussion of a play already made.  In
particular, it is fully expected that no one will violate and talk to
the captain (or the box) regarding a play problem.  This obviously
can't be enforced except by the honor system, but I don't think it
should be a problem.

Outside kibitzers are welcome.  However they should know that this is
a serious money chouette and that they should not be saying anything
about the game to the players, even with whispers (particularly since
the partner of the box can hear the whispers).  If a kibitzer violates
this we will not hesitate to blind him.

The cube:

Unlike many chouettes, there will be only one cube in play.  However,
individual players will still get to make their own decisions much of
the time.  There are several individual cases to consider.

1) Initial cube, team is considering doubling.  If the captain chooses
not to double, that is it:  no double.  If the captain chooses to
double and one or more of the members of the team do not want to
double, they may offer to sell their game for 1/2 point.  The box has
the first option on this purchase, followed by the captain, followed
by open outcry among the members of the team.  If no one is willing to
make the purchase, then the player must go along with the double.  If
there are partners in the box, they split the buyout (assuming they
both want to buy).  If there is a 1/2 point to be split, then this is
determined by the next roll of the dice -- if it is even the shooter
gets the 1/2 point; if it is odd, the partner gets the half point.

2) Initial cube, box is considering doubling.  If the shooter chooses
not to double, that's it:  no double.  If the shooter wants to double
but his partner does not, the partner may sell to the shooter for 1/2
point -- if the shooter does not buy then the partner must go along
with the double.

3) Initial cube, team doubles.  The box must accept or reject the
whole thing.  If there are partners and the shooter wants to reject
that decision is binding on his partner.  If the shooter wants to
accept and his partner wants to reject, the shooter may buy the
partner out -- if he does not wish to do so the partner is forced to
go along with the acceptance.Note:  No settlements on the initial
cube.  Box may preempt some of the cubes.

4) Initial cube, box doubles.  If captain chooses to reject, that is
it -- the decision is binding on the rest of the team.  If captain
accepts, the other members of the team can accept or reject


If only one player wants to accept the double, then this player must
be willing to offer extras to the others. (not unless 4 total)

The ideas behind these rules is to avoid slave situations for the
lower cubes.

5) Later cube (i.e. not an initial double), team is considering
doubling. Under these circumstances, the captain's word is not law.
If any player wants to double, he may do so and the other players will
have to either go along or sell for 1/2 the value of the cube.  The
doubler will be required to purchase these games, with the box having
preemption rights of course. If the captain is not a doubler he
becomes a slave in the future play,with the player next in line who is
a doubler being his master.

6) Later cube, Box is considering doubling.  This is equivalent to the
above.  If the partner of the box wants to double, the shooter either
goes along or sells for 1/2 the value of the cube.  If he sells, he
becomes a slave to the partner for the remainder of the game.

Note:  There are situations where it is clearly correct to double but
the equity is not 1/2 the value of the cube -- these are generally
extremely volatile positions, such as the last roll of the game with a
man on the 5 point and a man on the 2 point.  In these situations the
buyback rule is waived.  The team will just have to negotiate the
correct decision.

7) Later cube, team doubles.  Here the box does not have to act as a
unit -- one partner can accept and one drop (this will amount to a
drop-take from the point of view of the team).  If the shooter drops,
he becomes a slave.

8) Later cube, Box doubles.  Each team member can act completely
independently.  If the captain drops, he becomes slave to the next in
line who takes.

There will be no automatic doubles, and no beavers.  The Jacoby rule
is in effect.

Slave play:

In the (hopefully rare) situation where the captain or the shooting
partner is no longer involved in the game, he must act as slave to the
player in charge.  He should not roll the dice until the master says:
roll and he should not make a play until the master specifies the
However if the slave makes any kind of mistake, typo or otherwise,
then the master is bound by it since there is no way to recover.

Mechanical errors:

If a player makes a type resulting in a ridiculous play, there is no
way to recover from that -- everybody just has to live with it.  If a
player accidentally turns the cube when he obviously didn't mean to do
so, that can be recovered.  The player should say so immediately.  For
the rest of the game, all cube action will be done totally verbally.
A player should not resign a game unless the outcome is 100% certain
and everybody has agreed on the result.  The person receiving the
resignation should not accept until all necessary accounting has been

Stepping away and lagging:

If a team member is going to be away from his computer for a few
minutes, he shall tell the table.  For the period of time he is gone
he will automatically do what the captain does.  If he reaches the top
of the rotation and is still away, he is automatically moved to the
back of the line.  However as long as he is on line, he is assumed to
be in the game. He is expected to tell the table when he has returned.

If the team is doubled or is doubling, each member should try to make
his decision reasonably promptly -- if someone is going to think for a
while, he should tell the table.  If a player is lagged for over a
minute and has a cube decision to make the other players will try to
rouse him, but if he is still unable to respond it will be as though
he were away from the computer and will automatically take the action
the captain takes.  The same applies to the partner of the box if he
should get lagged.

Disconnections and crashes:

If a team member gets disconnected during a game, he remains in that
game and takes the action of the captain.  After that he is out until
he re-connects.  If the partner of the box gets disconnected he
remains in that game and takes the action of the box, but after that
if he is not re-connected by the start of the next game the box simply
takes a new partner and he is out until he re-connects.  If a player
is unable to reconnect before the start of the next game he will lose
his place in the order and be treated as a new player in the game when
he reconnects (unlucky!).

If either the box or the captain gets disconnected or if the system
crashes, that game is put on hold.  The player will be given a couple
of minutes to get back; if he is unable to do so the chouette will
continue without him -- if it was the box getting knocked off, then
for the purposes of rotation it is assumed that the captain won the
game.  If it is the captain who gets knocked off then for purposes of
rotation it is assumed that the box won.  If and when the player
returns that game will immediately be resumed, but if a new game has
been started in the meantime that player knocked off will be dropped
to the bottom of the rotation regardless of the result of the game.
If the player is unable to connect or the whole system crashes, that
game is put on hold to be played out at a later chouette when both
players are present.  If one or more of the other participants is not
there, he is assumed to take any actions of his teammate who is

If a player wishes to leave the game, he must announce his intentions
before his last game terminates.  Once the game terminates and a new
game starts, he is considered in that game even if he hasn't started
watching the game.

Keeping score:

For any chouette there will be 2 designated scorekeepers.  At the end
of every game one of them will announce everybody's score, and the
other will confirm it.  In addition all the players should keep their
own personal score and make sure it is the same as what the
scorekeepers have, and everybody should make sure that the scoresheet
balances.  This is a very important area, which can cause a lot of
problems if everyone isn't careful.  In addition there will be another
person designated to keep the rotation, and he will announce it at the
start of every game.


At the end of the session, one of the scorekeepers will make a final
breakdown and determine who pays whom as conveniently as possible.
Debts of $100 or more are expected to be snail-mailed out immediately.
Debts of under $100 may be carried over to another session.  (I have
pulled these numbers out of my hat not knowing what the practice has
been -- if you have been doing differently, by all means change this).
The scorekeeper shall e-mail the final scores and the payoff breakdown
to everybody in the game.  When payment is received, the scorekeeper
should be notified by e-mail so the score can be canceled off.  At the
start of any session, if there are any carryovers involving the
players in the game these should be announced and placed on the

Who Plays:

In order for a person to be admitted into the chouette he must have
unanimous approval of the players in the chouette.  In addition, for
any non-US player to be able to play, that player must either be
guaranteed by one of the players in the game or have on deposit with
some trusted US player at least 100 points.  This is vital -- we just
can't have debts going unpaid if the chouette is to succeed.

Outside help:

It is assumed that no players in the chouette will receive outside
help, either from tells of somebody on FIBS or from someone watching
him play at home.  It is also assumed that no use will be made of
computer aids, such as jellyfish or bearoff tables.  Obviously this
would be pretty impossible to prove or enforce, but hopefully all the
players in the chouette will be honorable enough to adhere to this.
Did you find the information in this article useful?          

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



Automatic doubles with carryover  (Alexander Zamanian, Jan 1999) 
California rule  (Peter Anderson+, Nov 2001) 
Captain drops and others take  (Grafix8888+, Sept 2000) 
Chouette cube strategy  (Stanley E. Richards+, Mar 2011) 
Cube proxy  (Ilia Guzei+, June 2003)  [GammOnLine forum]
Dream chouette  (Phil Simborg+, Sept 2009) 
Extras  (Daniel Murphy, Feb 1997) 
Extras  (Albert Steg, July 1996) 
Extras  (Anthony R Wuersch, Mar 1995) 
Fish-hunt rules  (Chuck Bower+, Feb 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]
Interlocking chouette  (wintom+, Jan 2008) 
Jacoby rule  (Doug Doub+, Aug 2005)  [GammOnLine forum]
Legal plays only  (Gregg Cattanach+, Aug 2001) 
Los Angeles Rules  (Joe Russell, Apr 2013) 
Los Angeles Rules  (Justin N.+, Aug 2011) 
Lure of the chouette  (Bob Koca+, July 2004) 
Mandatory beaver  (Roland Scheicher+, Mar 2002) 
Mandatory beaver  (David Montgomery, Jan 1999) 
Money management  (Albert Steg, Sept 1998) 
Online chouette rules  (John Graas, July 2003)  [Long message]
Order of succession  (leobueno+, Aug 2011) 
Order of succession  (Albert Steg, June 1995) 
Procedure when captain doubles  (Bill Riles+, Feb 2010) 
Split cube actions  (Neil Kazaross, June 2003)  [GammOnLine forum]
Strategy  (Michael J. Zehr, Sept 1998) 
Variable stakes  (Christopher Yep+, Apr 2000) 
Waiting for teammate to double  (Øystein Johansen+, July 2001) 
When box takes a partner  (Dan Pelton+, Mar 2009) 
When does player retain the box?  (Daniel Murphy, Jan 1997) 
When is consulting allowed?  (Dave+, Mar 2000) 

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