I’ve been meaning to test run Extreme Backgammon for some time, but the game shop near my house is consistently out of n sided dice. When I was pottering around the shops recently and I saw that they actually had some d4, d8 and d12 in stock, I jumped at the opportunity to invest $3 in some new dice. No d10 or d20 though… what the hell kind of games shop doesn’t have d20?
Anyway, having a new set of dice, I convinced my wife to test-run Extreme Backgammon. And you know what? it’s even more extreme than I had anticipated. Admittedly, it’s not VERY extreme on an absolute scale, but in terms of board games, it’s pretty good.
So what is Extreme Backgammon v0.1? let me explain. It’s basically the same as regular backgammon, with the following changes:
- To play, you need 2d6, 3d4, 1d12 and 1d8.
- Each turn you have to roll a total of 12 dice points (one point per side of the dice that you roll), and these points can be made up however you want. For example, you could roll 2d6, or 3d4, or 1d8 & 1d4, or 1d12.
- Doubles do not get you extra moves if you roll a total of 3 dice.
- Triples do not get you extra moves, just the three moves that you rolled.
- If you roll doubles on dissimilar dice, it is considered the same as regular doubles (i.e. total of 4 moves of whatever number was rolled)
- When you roll to come in from the bar, you can only come into the opponent’s home quarter (i.e. if you roll greater than six on a d8 or d12, you cannot use that >6 roll to come back onto the board).
- When you are bearing off the board, you still need to have all of your pieces in your home quarter to come off.
And that’s about it. v0.2 will include rules for roll modifiers (i.e. +1, -1), but for now, I think these rules work well and add an interesting twist to the greatest board game on earth.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Backgammon and I can be a bit of a purist at times, but… Who doesn’t love four-sided dice? Tetrahedrons, baby!
The choice of dice gives you a range of changing strategies, but the dice you roll will inevitably be governed by the position of the dice, for example:
- 2d6 is still a great starting roll, as there are good options for using double six, double 3, 3&1, etc.
- 1d12 is only really useful if you have to get past a large group of blocked off points in front of a piece (if the next 6 pieces are fairly blocked off, but the 6 after that are fairly free, use 1d12)
- 3d4 averages a larger total roll than the other options, and it is great for getting past blocked off points or taking off an opponent’s pieces, because you get multiple small moves that let you hit the points you need. The downside is that you don’t have the chance to roll doubles for extra moves. 3d4 is also good if you need to come in after being taken off the board and the low points are free.
- 1d8 & 1d4 is good for bearing off if you have lots of pieces on your 5 or 6 point, as it lets you skew your roll a little higher on one of your dice.
Note: For those of you who didn’t play Dungeons and Dragons or similar RPGs when you were young (I pity the fools), xdy = roll x dice with y sides each. So when I say 1d6 I means 1 six-sided dice, 3d4 means 3 four-sided dice, etc.