Backgammon Variants: Strategies for a Twist on the Classic Game


Backgammon, a timeless classic known for its rich history and strategic depth, has evolved over the years to give rise to an array of intriguing variants. These variations offer a fresh perspective on the game, requiring players to adapt their strategies and tactics to the unique rules and nuances. In this article, we’ll explore several captivating backgammon variants, including Hypergammon and Nackgammon, and provide insights into the strategies that can lead to success in these exciting adaptations of the classic game.

1. Hypergammon: The Need for Speed

Overview: Hypergammon is a fast-paced variant of backgammon where each player starts with just three checkers on their 24-point, and the objective is to bear them off as quickly as possible.


  • Blitz Your Opponent: Given the limited number of checkers and the focus on bearing off, aggressive blitz strategies can be highly effective. Concentrate on hitting your opponent’s checkers and blocking their progress.
  • Secure the Home Board: Create a strong home board to facilitate quick bear-off. Stack checkers on your 6-point and 5-point to ensure a swift exit.
  • Use Doubles Wisely: Doubles can be game-changers in Hypergammon. They allow you to move quickly and hit opponents’ checkers, so use them strategically. Don’t waste doubles on simple moves; save them for impactful moments.

2. Nackgammon: Extra Layers of Complexity

Overview: Nackgammon introduces an additional layer of complexity by allowing players to enter their checkers from the bar at their choice of location, not just the 24-point. The game starts with all checkers on the bar.


  • Bar-Point Control: Since you can enter from the bar at any point, controlling the bar-point becomes crucial. It allows you to exert influence over your opponent’s entry choices and build a stronger position.
  • Flexible Game Plan: Be adaptable in your strategy. With the freedom to enter checkers at various points, consider how to maximize your moves and create opportunities for point-making and priming.
  • Maintain a Strong Inner Board: A well-structured inner board can help you secure your checkers and create barriers for your opponent. Focus on controlling your 4-point and 5-point to slow down your opponent’s progress.

3. Chouette: Teamwork and Collaborative Play

Overview: Chouette is a variant of backgammon designed for multiple players, where one player (the box) competes against a team of other players. Players rotate as the box, and teamwork is essential to defeat the box.


  • Team Communication: In Chouette, communication and collaboration are vital. Share information about the best moves and coordinate to take down the box effectively.
  • Take Advantage of Cube Decisions: Players on the team must work together to make optimal cube decisions. Agree on when to double, take, or drop, as these decisions can significantly impact the game’s outcome.
  • Timing is Key: The team should be mindful of timing when deciding to take or drop the cube. Take the cube at the right moment to maximize your team’s advantage, and drop it when the odds are against you.

4. Dutch Backgammon: Challenging Asymmetrical Start

Overview: Dutch Backgammon begins with an asymmetrical starting position where one player has all their checkers on the 24-point and the other player starts with their checkers in a traditional setup.


  • The Balanced Approach: The player with the standard setup has the advantage of a more balanced position. They should focus on making efficient moves and pressuring their opponent.
  • Offensive Play: The player with all their checkers on the 24-point has a more challenging start. Concentrate on building a strong home board and progressing your checkers efficiently to level the playing field.
  • Timing of the Cube: As the player with the standard setup, consider doubling when your position is strong, but be cautious not to overcommit. The player with an asymmetrical start should time the drop carefully to minimize losses.

5. Plakoto: A Different Kind of Blocking

Overview: Plakoto is a Greek variant of backgammon that introduces a unique rule: checkers can be moved to a point occupied by a single opposing checker, trapping it until the blocking checker moves.


  • Focus on Blocking: Plakoto is all about creating blockades. Look for opportunities to trap your opponent’s checkers, effectively limiting their movement.
  • Mind the Vulnerabilities: Be cautious about your own checkers becoming trapped. Avoid leaving isolated checkers that can be easily blocked by your opponent.
  • Exit Strategy: Plan your exit strategy carefully. Keep an eye on your checkers nearing your home board and position them to bear off without getting blocked.


Backgammon variants offer an exciting twist on the classic game, challenging players with unique rules and strategic nuances. Whether you’re diving into Hypergammon’s fast-paced bearing-off competition, exploring the complexities of Nackgammon, engaging in collaborative Chouette matches, navigating the asymmetrical start of Dutch Backgammon, or perfecting your blocking game in Plakoto, understanding the specific strategies for each variant is key to success. By mastering these variations, you can expand your backgammon skills and enjoy the rich diversity of the game.

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