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French Backgammon

Learn the rules for a variation on standard Backgammon called French Backgammon.

The game of French Backgammon bears little resemblance to the French game known as Trictrac also played with a Backgammon set. It is played in the same way as standard Backgammon but with the following differences.

  • At the start of the game each player rolls a die with the player who rolled the highest value playing first. The winning player may either take the two dice values rolled for their first turn or may roll their two dice again and take the new values rolled for their first moves.
  • All 15 players' checkers/markers start off the board and must be brought into play on their opponent's home-board by rolling dice values corresponding to their opponent's equivalent numbered points.
  • All 15 checkers must be brought into play before they can be moved further around the board.
  • Their are particular rules for moving checkers to points on the board, and are as follows: As usual, checkers may only be moved to an open point (a point with no or only one of their opponent's checkers), but the player's two dice values are considered as separate and distinct when moving. So, for example, if a player rolls a 3 and 5, then two separate checkers could be moved 3 and 5 points each, but if only one checker is being moved 8 (3+5) points, then either the 3rd or 5th point along from the checker's original point must be open too. Player's must use both dice values rolled if possible, but if only one move is possible out of the two values rolled, then the highest possible dice value must be used.
  • As usual, when a player rolls a double, they may move their checkers twice the two values rolled, but they may also play the "complement" of the dice values. The "compliment" is the value rolled subtracted from 7, or the value facedown on the die (opposite faces of dice total 7). For example, if you roll double-5, you may move your checkers four times 5 points, but you may also move your checkers four times 2 points (7 - 5 = 2). A player also gets to roll again and takes another turn and continues to play checkers as described for every time after they have rolled a double. However, if a player is unable to use all four of the dice value moves, they are not allowed to play the four compliments and also isn't allowed to roll the dice again.

In a game of French Backgammon you may choose to play one of two basic strategies:

The Running Game: A player moves a few checkers around the board and tries to block the points in their home-board, but also keeps the rest of their checkers held back so he may hit their opponent's checkers as they are moved into their opponent's home-board.

The Blocking Game: A player tries to keep all their checkers together to form a "prime" (conescutive points holding two or more checkers) which he then tries to move forward by moving checkers steadily from the back to the front. The player may have to break the prime formation when he encounters points blocked by their opponent's checkers.







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