Forum Archive : Miscellaneous


From:   Kees van den Doel
Address:   kvandoel@xs1.xs4all.nl
Date:   22 August 2003
Subject:   BG with handicap
Forum:   rec.games.backgammon
Google:   3f459d23$0$76256$e4fe514c@dreader9.news.xs4all.nl

Is there  any tradition for playing  handicapped BG to  even out playing

For  the game of  GO there  is an  elaborate tradition  which prescribes
precisely the handicap to equialise various levels of play.

I've tried various opening positions for this but it's hard to quantify.
For example  giving your opponent 2  free rolls at the  beginning is not
satisfactory as ity forcethe game into a certain direction already.

I can't imagine  no-one has thought about this before  and would love to
hear these thoughts.


Patti Beadles  writes:

It's not uncommon to spot your opponent an opening 4-2 or 3-1 or 6-1,
or equivalent good roll.


Tom Keith  writes:

1.  If you are playing for money, the weaker player can pay less per
    point than the stronger player; or

2.  The stronger player can spot a certain number of pips to the weaker
    player.  The way this works is, the weaker player doesn't have to
    bear off all his checkers to win, but merely has to reduce his
    pipcount to a given number.


Hank Youngerman  writes:

How about this?

The weaker players rolls a third die, say a 12-sided die.
If it comes up with a particular number, he may, if he likes, re-roll.
He does not get the better of the two rolls.

Some weak players might not even know what roll was good or bad and
whether to re-roll!

Jerry Donavan  writes:

When I played games with my daughter, I would give her some "Roll Again"s.
Up to some agreed upon number of times in a game, she could choose to roll
again when she got a bad roll, or have me roll again when she thought I had
a really good roll.  This did seem to help even things out some.   It takes
a fair number of "RollAgain"s to even out a good player and a beginner


Albert Silver  writes:

I'd suggest the answer really depends on why you are wanting to even out
the strengths.

if you are gambling, you could offer your opponent ownership of the
cube. -- He or she "owns" it on "1".  Only he can double initislly,
after which the game proceeds normally.  Checker plsy is not affected,
but you offer substantiasl equity (somebody else can say how much.)

If, on the other hand, I was teaching a newcomer or child the game, I
might be inclined to make him or her *think* -- a very large edge: on
each roll the opponent gets to choose the number for one die, and roll
the other.  Hence, while a hitting number might be obvious, the player
would have to think of the ideal secondary number.

That would be a huge edge. A similar approach would be to allow the
player *one* (or two or five) opportunities per game to call his or her
roll.  You could give them three poker chips to redeem for choice rolls.


Gregg Cattanach  writes:

Always giving the weaker player the opening move is a common and 'fair'
method.  Other systems (giving him a 'do-over' once a game, letting him
start the game with double 5s, etc) can be problematic because they might
not even give an advantage if handled badly.  Having one player play with
14 checkers is an odd idea.  We decided rather unscientifically that if
the 14 checkers guy starts with one on the 24 point, he has the advantage.
But if you remove the checker from the 6 point, he may be at a

Gregg C.
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