Forum Archive : Variations


From:   narde
Date:   23 November 2006
Subject:   BG's best kept treasure - Narde

Narde is the name, Nard is the Game! Dedicated to the most ancient and
interesting Game on Earth and the ultimate creature that inspired me, a

I do not pursue the purpose to impose my opinion, which is totally
individual and based upon personal experience of three-dozens of years
of playing. Neither did I try to show "monopoly on truth" in this post.
Any comments are welcomed.

If we look at attendance of posts in the game section of any forum,
we'll find out that graphic, animated games cause constant interest of
users. Good thing, that today's devices allow this graphics and sounds
to be played on.

Backgammon remains the most ancient, interesting and popular game on
the Planet!  Seven thousand years ago, when our ancestors ran after
mammoths with sticks, locals in Mesopotamia were already playing The Royal
Game Of Ur! Some people do think that even back then, game was an ancient

It is a fight on board, game of war, competition and collision of
characters. An ideal mix of luck and skill. Anybody who is able to count up
to six can play Backgammon. Better you count, better you play! :)

If you using a computer to play, the need for multiple calculations
disappears, program will count pips and point out correct landing
spots. Now players can concentrate completely on strategy and tactics.
It is the most democratic game: here, even the beginner manages to beat

Until last century game was destiny of pharaohs, Babylon Wise Men,
kings and aristocrats. Today anyone can take advantage of this lunar
calendar and decide how to spend and how to control time.

There are over 150 different game variations known and played around
the globe. Majority of them based on rules of three games. Let's call
em: "Hit-and-Run" (BG and its variants), "Run" (Narde and its versions)
and "Capture" (Plakoto, Tapa).

There are many bibles written about Backgammon and variants that are
based on the same principle. Hit-and-Run is popular all over the world.
Other games on board remain largely overlooked and forgotten, though
they are known as more strategic and skill-based. Among them Tapa and
Plakoto. Those are played by the rules not similar neither to Narde, nor
Backgammon, player can land his checker on top of unprotected opponents
piece, capturing it and delaying progress. Plakoto is very interesting and
strategic game.

Narde (and its forms) considered the most ancient, purest, most
classical, interesting and various game. This is Backgammon in its
ultimate form.

From all basic variants, Narde has the most simple rules, but remains
the most difficult to conquer. The reason for that is the fact that
during the game it is possible for all 30 checkers to block all 24
points on board simultaneously, creating inconceivable quantity of
possible choices.

Movement of "armies" in the same direction further complicates the
game. Interaction and interlacing of checkers of contenders, in this
case, on a much larger scale than in other BG games. And the whole
board is used as a battlefield unlike in any other game.

Restriction on removal of checkers off the Head only adds difficulties
during the game, which makes it even more interesting. This game can be
played for a lifetime, and one still may come across situations where it's
simply impossible to understand how to play correctly!

There are local forms and variations of Narde. The majority of Runs
(Fevga, Moultezim) differ in amendments to a restriction on quantity of
checkers per move off the head, also the amendment to a rule about
blocks of 6 and more pieces (primes).

There is a variant where both opponent's checkers move towards one
another, like in BG.

There is also a game with colorful and juicy name KhachapOOri (Khach),
where initial arrangement reminds more of a classic Hit, and loser
pays according to quantity of checkers remained on board.

Another interesting hyper-form of Run is Gioul-Bahar. Game has a nickname
Crazy Narde for its dynamism and a seeming unpredictability. Gioul is like
Narde "on steroids". It's very fun to play, but on a real board players
usually do get lost in all the doubles and who's turn to
roll. The game of Narde may seem boring to some, but its Crazy cousin
always highly emotional and funny.

Besides Run, Hit-n-Run and Capture, there is a game that combines all
variants, but differs from them. It's known to some players as Pioneer.
This is the most simple game of backgammon: opponents start entering
their checkers off the board directly into their Homes and then bear
off all as usual. There are two variants of Pioneer: in one of them, as
in Crazy, checkers can not be moved inside home-board. At first sight -
stupid game of luck. But it is a bear-off game, and there is always a
separate chapter in every BG book devoted to that. Anybody can start
playing BG with Pioneer. This game will help newbies a lot! Just like with
Crazy Narde, kids do get a kick out of it.

Backgammon has lived through all other games in the world, though till
this day remains taboo, for example, in Iran. In Scandinavian countries
backgammon is a part of a school program. Multimillion-dollar companies
spend money on training their top-managers on Wall Street. They trained ...
to play Backgammon! What for? So they are able to make correct decisions.

Why BG remains so popular for so long? In a matter of fact, in reality,
Backgammon - one of most graphic and animated games! Those, who witnessed
multiplayer recreational contests, know how many emotions and adrenaline
they bring even in detached onlookers and bystanders, not mentioning
players themselves. Ancient spells and chants still very much in use, and
contenders might even go as far as having an intercourse with the dice and
board! :)

BG games can be presented in the form of a tree. Two captains select their
teams. Usually, each has 15 soldier, tree-climbers and tries to get his men
to the top first in rapidly-changing weather. Each rise to the top is a new
experience on the long and difficult way to conquest records and knowledge
of the tree and approaches to it. There are a lot of fans to this conquest
of trees. For the majority, it is a backyard event or a neighborhood
coffee-shop gathering. There are fans who engaged in tree-climbing as
sports. Such captains, frequently, become a pro.

Even one ascend to the top takes time. It literally takes years to get
trained. Everyone, in accordance with its abilities and talents, learn to
get to the top of a tree first. If one spends sometime in a gym of
captains-climbers, it is possible to reach a decent level, sufficient to be
a star of town and neighboring backyards. Some commanders will even get a
worldwide recognition.

Besides natural obstacles on a way to the top, there are a lot of
restrictions and rules in these races, detailed knowledge and correct
use of which - the first right step to achievements. Restrictions begin
with turn-by-turn based competition where soldiers moved only to a certain
distance decided by The Judge. Referee lands in turns to each captain a
small charged two-barrel catapult. The force of each individual charge
predetermined by Lady Luck and measured on the scale 1 through 6.

Up to 4 climbers can be catapulted in turn. Most concurrences of charges
allow sending only two men, one per each charged barrel. Concurrence of
shots of identical force enables captain to use the catapult twice. As a
result - the most powerful and long-range shot 6 + 6 = not 12, but 2 x
(6+6) = 24.

In some competitions, for example, on Crazy or trees of Acey-Ducey type
some concurrences of power-charges provide captains the right of additional
shots or even cause repeated series of power shots, sometimes, even with an
optional choice of force or in certain sequences (usually, on increase).

Each captain decides which climbers will be catapulted, whence and where.
Here he is also initially limited by an unpredictable weather, knowledge
and understanding of statistics and probabilities, rules, positions,
capacity of catapult, ability of soldiers strongly adhere to the most
important junctions, masking themselves under roots, branches and their
shadows; in reality captains even forced to calculate correct trajectory
before each shot (computer-based catapults often offer automatic laser
sighting), must be able to gather and use intelligence, screw around with
catapult, as well as good knowledge of the general structure of all breeds
of trees; using each shot to its maximum potential within a minimum of

It is necessary to note that computerized ascendings to some degree
decreased chances of an unauthorized adjustments of catapult itself
(which is in reality - integral part of the game). But besides the use
of mobile phones as remote controls, there are known cases when captains
were using constant flashes and even laser rays, dazzling, blinding his
rival and even creating the "25th frame effect"...

The most widespread tree on Earth is Hit-and-Run, known to most simply
as Backgammon. The tree and competition on it deeply studied and well-
described in testaments and textbooks. Properties of the catapult and wood
are all considered, every knothole is marked. All hummocks-springboards and
endless labyrinths of interlacing roots that appear on a surface near the
trunk precisely calculated, using latest laser technologies. Even angles of
an inclination of each branch in relation to a trunk and other branches,
with accordance to constantly varying weather conditions during competition
and its influence on teams movement towards opposite horizons-poles of the
intricate crown mixed on approaches with roots is carefully measured and
counted with the help of latest computers.

Popularity of Hit-n-Run can be explained by natural cruelty of this type of
survival competition: if single, unprotected, not-supported climber
spotted, he can be brought down from a tree on the ground by an enemy
soldier. This delays the rest of the team from reaching the goal. Well-
trained captain always capable of applying brought down soldiers to delay
army of contender, and, as a result, get his own team to the top first. The
path to it in BG is facilitated, shorten and truncated by multiplicity of
initial launching site choices and the fact that both teams already
scattered across the tree.

Predecessor of all trees, also the highest and most branchy tree on Earth
is Narde. Until today it remains remote, insufficiently studied and still
the rarest.

Under seeming simplicity of appearance and climbing rules, in a kind of
density an odd, freaky interlacing of branches and players mixed with
them, nature often hides from people the structure of the tree itself,
at times, leaving unanswered even to a pro - where players, where
branches, where roots, and where trunk(s)....

Competitions to climb Long Narde are very much localized. Besides locals,
more often, real addicts of complexities, purists and True Connoisseurs of
the game take part in them, rather than commercial

Detailed knowledge of all trees and all junctures of intertwined branches,
roots and a trunk are necessary for captains to be able estimate and study
a structure of the most unique natural riddle, which have got to us from
the pre-dinosaur epoch. The Game is practically limited and largely
overlooked because of full absence of literature concerning Narde. As in
pre-historic times, tactics and skills of captains here still transferred
and exchanged the old-fashion way: mouth-to-mouth.

Captains-masters very precisely follow laws of statistics and
probabilities, changing tactics with regard to prospective results on
each separate situation during the game. Abilities to calculate all
positions on a tree and general position of teams with relation to each
other and the top, together with detailed knowledge of future outcomes
on each given situation of competition and all game - the integral
quality of any educated captain.

Everyone, in accordance with its own abilities, experience and education,
somehow understands an overall aim of the competition, methods, strategy,
tactics and ways of achieving treasured victories. Everyone in its own way
perceives his tree-climbing addiction. Perceptions of fight, victories and
defeats uniquely individual too. To drive a car almost everyone is capable
of, to be a professional driver that operates multi-axle truck with several
trailers - not an easy task to accomplish!

The good captain will always draw conclusions from all previous
competitions, having processed games in all details during or even after
events. Special attention will be given to mistakes of captains-contenders,
their miscalculations in decision-making, including very important
miscalculations of prospective outcomes. Ability to make right decisions in
ever-changing conditions is a major basic characteristic of any decent
player. Every captain is unique so is his view of concept "correct

Many musicians do play not knowing notes at all. In Backgammon, many
playing not knowing key rules in all their details, no less than all
intricacies of arithmetics, let alone presence of diplomas in algebra.
Most of the time, it does not prevent talented and skilled players in
their abilities to stay at high level in relation to the majority of
others. Their knowledge and down-to-earth subconscious perception of
the game, logic of strategy and tactics, understanding of statistics
and probabilities can cause interest in future conquests among all.
A seeming simplicity of racing competition, general understanding of
purpose to conquest the top, ability to predict the future, an ideal
opportunity to be trained on mistakes, match compressed into a few
minutes, lead to occurrence of set of various sights and views at
Backgammon, and cause strong dependence and need for constant games in
the majority of people, whenever they once felt what is it to be a True
Captain of the Time Machine!

Everyone can become Schumacher in these races, Mozart in this music and
Alexander The Great in this war! (Though, in reality, very few are
capable of reaching these heights.) As well as in case of BG, here any
talented captain can lift itself up to a sufficient level in several months
of constant training with other teams, or against a computer-simulator and
detailed studies of each competition in retrospective, using newest
technologies of calculations and knowledge of all captains ever shared
their bits of skill, either during competitions or in "nonexistent" books
about Narde.

The name of the tree (Long Narde) comes from initial positions of teams
in the competition when all 30 participants of simultaneous fight for
conquest of the top are built in two long symbolical towers (sometimes
called KolbasA, but, mostly, the Head or the Hand) on both sides of
this giant sequoia.

Strange interlacing of armies, trunk, roots and branches, create a
unique mosaic of became-alive crown, shaken by a storm; compared,
perhaps, only to variety of music on the basis of only seven (7)
musical notes, where soldiers-participants - part of these few-minute
rapid changes between them, as in any other game ... The never-ending
cannonade of shots accompanied by colorful fire-works, laser criss-crosses,
explosions of thunder and a stroboscope of lightning gives to a short-lived
competition and its participants corresponding dozes of adrenaline and
emotions, makes the game unique.

There are few ways to delay opponent: from direct contacts between enemy
soldiers, when they go hand-to-hand combat during BG competitions, to
capture and imprisonment on Plakoto trees. In Narde, delay can be reached
only by boundary contacts between enemy soldiers, no hitting-no capturing
here. The only method to delay is to build constant blocks of a few men in
a row (primes). If obstacle six (6) players-long is built, the catapult not
capable of over-shooting such length, and one of the teams can be
effectively blocked temporary or for the rest of the game. Detailed
knowledge of calculations up to 6, skill to operate and increase blocks to
adjust process of the whole game with these blocks, using them as sluices,
besides good knowledge and understanding of the Tree structure itself,
constantly varying situations on it - very few qualities that Narde
captains inherent.

Learned by bitter experience of mistakes-defeats, understanding how
much time it takes to become the True Conqueror of the Game, majority
of Narde-masters very jealously store and keep their secrets about
strategy and tactics used in competitions. It makes sense - unwillingness
to loose titles, medals and records, at occurrence of such competitions and
market on it. Which only emphasizes an aura of mystery and low popularity
of Narde among all tree-climbers on Earth.

Welcome to the most ancient, most fascinating game of luck and skill,
the game of passion and hazard, that got to us through thorns of time,
governors, kings and civilizations, which are long gone in a sends of

Among famous admirers of the game: Nicole Kidman, Sean Connery, Madonna,
Lewis Carroll, president Putin, well-known chess players Karpov and
Kasparov, many others.

There are two types of people in the world: one - plays Backgammon,
others can follow anti-hazardous and anti-passionate formula: Do not
play - and you will never lose :)

All nardoholics of the world are about to have a never-ending surprise
in the form of The Ultimate Backgammon Treasure - Long Narde!

Rules of The Game.

This is the most difficult and most interesting variant to play. BG in
its purest, ultimate and superior form.

Narde rules are the simplest of all major BG games. See picture Both players must bring all
their pieces home moving them around the board, divided onto 24 points in a
counter-clockwise direction in turns to a corresponding numbers on dice,
and then take them off the board. Player who gets all his men off the board
first - wins the game.

There is no hitting in Narde. Point taken is a point blocked. Players
may use only empty points or those that are occupied by their pieces.
Only one(1) piece off the Head (starting point) per roll. The first
roll of the game for each player may be an exception: if player cannot
complete his move, because he bumps onto opponents piece, then two(2)
checkers off the Head permitted (for example, when 3x3, 4x4 and 6x6

Player cannot put six(6) or more men in a row (called a Prime), see
picture unless there is an
opponents piece(s) on the other side of the prime. See picture This prime is illegal:

Doubles played as usual, four(4) times. All rolls must be played to the
full extend. See picture
If only one of the dices can be played, the higher number chosen as a

Crazy Narde (Gioul Bahar) played by the same rules. It also has a few
of its own:

No movement in homes. Players not allowed to move men inside their own
home-boards. Same goes for bear-offs, no movement. You play only
numbers rolled (that is if you have men on corresponding points)
If player cannot play his roll or cannot complete his move, his
opponent gets to play those rolls before rolling dice for himself.
If player gets a double, then he plays not only that double, but also
all the doubles that follow it increasingly. For example, 2x2 causes a
streak of doubles that will follow: 3x3, 4x4, 5x5 and 6x6 - all must be
played. Some rolls that cannot be played will be played by opponent. Other
variation of CN allows opponent also to take over the rest of the streak.

Backgammons are rarely scored.
Gammon are called Mars And
they call 1-pointers Oin.

Dice cups and doubling cube rarely used. Most Narde players still look
at them as exotics.

Narde is a game for serious player, who don't afraid of complexities
and difficulties, for those who likes solving never ending puzzles.
Its Crazy version has totally different reputation. The game has its
name :) You can either love it or hate it. Children just adore it!

There is nothing like Snowie or Gnu for Narde yet, but there are few
programs in existence:

Namik Mustapha-zade Nards game

Erebuni Narde

And though they are far from being perfect in all respects, they
will serve anyone who's interested.

For those who wants a quick opponent on the go 24:7 right in their
pocket: Megasoft2000 does it.

Hope You will fall in love with The Game! Lucky rolls to all nardists! ;)

P.S. I would like to apologize for my poor and limited tongue. English
is not my native, so translation isn't perfect. Feel free to correct me.
Thank You, everyone, who always reaches for the top of an endless tree
of knowledge.
Did you find the information in this article useful?          

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



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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