Tuesday, April 14, 2009
The best games are the ones that have a healthy balance of luck and skill. At the same time, it should be something you do for recreation. Some might find Chess to be too great a challenge and Checkers to be too little of one. Nicely situated between those two pastimes is Backgammon. It’s easy to learn and lends itself to repeated playings. My old roommate and I would stay up late into the night, game after game, coming dangerously close to playing for money. That’s where the game goes from casual fare to high stakes wit matching. In fact, that might be the best feature of the game. Like baseball, 5 year old’s can take it up and enjoy it as a group while the big boys can play pretty much the same game with all aspects tuned to their extreme.
First of all, the game just oozes elegance and sophistication. Especially if your playing out of a leather case in a robe and slippers. Even if you seldom have occasion to get it out, the backgammon set is a must own. It’s the perfect companion to conversation and glasses of wine.
Here’s a brief layout of game play:
Set up the board as show. Each player rolls his set of dice and moves pieces according to the numbers rolled. If an opponent has more than one piece on a space, it is blocked. If you land on a space containing one of your opponent’s pieces, you send that one off the board, to start at the beginning. Once you gather all of your pieces in the “home” box, you begin to draw them off the board with your rolls. If you roll doubles, you move twice for each dice. The doubling cube is used at strategic points to raise the stakes of the game against the option of a forfeit.
There are several variations and wrinkles you can employ. But ideally, it’s just a fun way to pass the time and enjoy someone’s company that beats watching a movie.