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tom@bkgm.com

Backgammon Variants

Domino Backgammon

Domino Backgammon is played using dominos instead of dice. The game was invented by Matt Crispin and the rules are given in J. du C. Vere Molyneux's book, Begin Backgammon.

Setup: First remove all of the blanks from a standard set of dominos. This leaves twenty-one tiles which are distributed between the two players as follows:

 First Player (White) 6-6, 3-3, 1-1, 6-4, 6-2, 5-4, 5-3, 5-1, 4-2, 3-1, 2-1 Second Player (Red) 5-5, 4-4, 2-2, 6-5, 6-3, 6-1, 5-2, 4-3, 4-1, 3-2

Set up the board in the usual manner, and place your dominos to your right with the doubles at the top separated from the others.

To play: Pick up any one of your dominos—except a double—and place it in your inner board and make your play as if it were a dice throw. Then return the tile face down to the location where it came from. For the time being, this tile is unplayable. In this way all the nondoubles dominos will eventually be played and end up face down.

When all of the nondoubles dominos have been played, the two players' sets are swapped and play continues as before.

You are not allowed to move your back men (runners) until the fourth move of the game.

Any time you cannot move you must still turn over a domino.

Doubles: Doubles are different. They can only be played after the first change-over of the nondouble tiles. Doubles must be played in ascending order; for example, White must play 1-1 before he can play 3-3, and 3-3 before he can play 6-6.

Doubles can only be played once per game, and they are not swapped. When you play a doubles domino, you must also turn over a nondoubles domino.

Strategy: As you play, your hand goes on diminishing. The crucial point in the game comes as you and your opponent reach your last few tiles. Both players can see what the other has. This means you can make moves and expose blots that you would not dare to in the dice game. It also means you have to plan ahead to avoid getting into trouble.