Forum Archive :
Many chouettes have the very dangerous house rule ("MANDATORY
BEAVER") that if the box doubles and all but one player reject,
the accepting player MUST beaver or reject as well. (There is an even
more restrictive rule, which simply commands the single taker to
Just think of the following scenario: The box has gained some
advantage over the team and offers a double, you feel you have a good
take (maybe it is one of the few situations where you can do the math,
such that you KNOW it is a good take) but -- to your surprise
-- everyone else declines. Now you are in a squeeze, either you
decline, too, (which is a bad decision) or you beaver. Since a good
take usually does not allow a beaver (the box has gained an advantage
by assumption) the latter possibility might be even worse. The correct
decision (take but no beaver) would be prohibited by law!
Note that this squeeze may occur as a consequence of the above rule in
a chouette of absolutely honest players. The very dangerous
peculiarity is that this rule supports collusion and may be exploited
by fraudulent players.
The most efficient way of cheating (in my mind) is a kind of collusion,
which is referred to (Phillip Martyn on Backgammon, 1976) as so-called
"blue games": suppose you play in a chouette, where the other players
privately agree to share their winnings and losses. It is in their
interest that the box wins as often as possible (except when it's you).
Thus if you are a member of the team the captain will deliberately not
make his best moves; if you are the captain your teammates will give
bad advice; when the box doubles and the team should better drop, all
of them take, thus you might find it a bit unsporting to reject; AND -
LAST BUT NOT LEAST - WHEN THE BOX DOUBLES AND THE TEAM SHOULD TAKE,
ALL OF THEM DROP IN ORDER TO FORCE YOU TO DROP, TOO, OR TO BEAVER!
If I wanted to cheat, I should not relinquish this rule as a source of
income. Therefore, my hint: NEVER PLAY IN CHOUETTES WITH THE MANDATORY
BEAVER RULE - it is a bad rule even when all play honestly.
[Remark: In contrast to the "mandatory beaver"; the "mandatory extra"
should in general not influence your decision on accepting a double,
the "mandatory extra" is a very good rule, in my mind.]
I'm looking forward to reading comments on my opinion about this rule.
Hank Youngerman writes:
I have never heard of the mandatory beaver, and I agree it is an
insidious rule. A FAR more common, and equitable, rule is the
it is certainly reasonable to not allow one player to hold up the
game. For the unitiated, here is how a mandatory extra works.
If only one player takes, all the other players can offer an extra.
They pay the taking player one point, and the taking player now plays
the game holding a 2-cube from each player offering the extra.
("Mandatory" refers to the taker. The dropping players do not need to
offer the extra, but the taking player must accept them. If he
chooses, he can drop the box's cube in lieu of taking the extras.)
This method is emminently equitable. The dropping players believe
that the player's equity owning a 2-cube is less than -1, and hence
are happy to pay a point to be on the strong side of the board. The
taking player believes that he will show a profit if he takes a 2-cube
as opposed to paying one point, and so should be happy to be paid a
point to play.
Consulting is generally not allowed; that is, even though the former
team members now have their interest with the box, they may not
consult with the box. If the taking player redoubles, each player who
offered an extra can decide to take or drop on their own.
The most common variation of the rule is that it applies only to
initial cubes, not recubes. Usually it only applies when there are at
least 3 on the team. Sometimes it does not apply in non-contact
positions, on the theory that the game will not be held up long
Most importantly, this rule keeps everyone who wants to be in the
game. The players who dropped still have a financial interest in the
Obviously variations are possible, but the basic idea of the extra is
a pretty sound one.
Bob Ebbeler writes:
I have played in chouettes using both stipulations, mandatory beaver or
mandatory extra. The purpose is to keep the game moving at a reasonable
pace, not let it slow down because one player is steamed or because his
antenna is tuned to a different broadcast.
I see nothing insidious in the mandatory beaver rule, perhaps I play in
more civilized circles than you do or the thieves are just more
Obviously, the prefered version is the mandatory extra, since the lone
taker is getting 3-1 odds vs beavering at even money.
Interestingly, the chouette I played in here in Jacksonville plays
mandatory beavers; that's because, despite my best efforts, the players
can't grasp the concept of the extra.
- 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)
- 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)
- Interlocking chouette (wintom+, Jan 2008)
- Jacoby rule (Doug Doub+, Aug 2005)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)