Exploring Variants: Different Styles of Backgammon Play

Backgammon, known as one of the world’s oldest board games, has a rich history and a diverse set of variants that offer players various styles of gameplay. While the standard version of Backgammon is widely recognized, numerous intriguing variants have emerged over the years, each introducing unique rules and strategic challenges. In this article, we’ll explore some of these Backgammon variants, including Nackgammon, HyperGammon, and others, to provide insight into the delightful world of diversified Backgammon play.


Nackgammon, also known as Longgammon, is a variant of Backgammon that introduces a distinctive twist to the traditional game. In Nackgammon, players aim to move all their checkers to their home board, while leaving no checkers on the bar.

Key Rules and Differences:

  1. Starting Checkers: In Nackgammon, players start with two checkers on their 24-point, three on their 8-point, and five on their 13-point.
  2. No Blots: Players must avoid leaving any blots (single checkers) on the board. Leaving a blot results in a hit by the opponent.
  3. Game Objective: The primary goal in Nackgammon is to bring all your checkers into your home board and bear them off without leaving any checkers vulnerable.

Nackgammon emphasizes safe, cautious gameplay. Players must carefully plan their moves to avoid exposing blots while bringing their checkers home.


HyperGammon is an exciting and fast-paced Backgammon variant that distinguishes itself with its unique setup and gameplay. The game is played with only three checkers on each side and offers an excellent option for quick, intense matches.

Key Rules and Differences:

  1. Setup: Players start with three checkers each on their 24-point.
  2. Doubling Cube: HyperGammon typically uses a doubling cube to increase the stakes of the game, allowing players to propose a double and their opponent to accept or decline it.
  3. Fast Gameplay: The simplified setup and fewer checkers result in faster-paced gameplay, requiring players to think on their feet and make quick decisions.

HyperGammon is an excellent variant for players seeking a shorter and more intense Backgammon experience. With its compact setup and swift gameplay, it offers a unique challenge.

Russian Backgammon

Russian Backgammon, also known as Shesh Besh, is a popular variant in Russia and other regions. It shares similarities with the standard Backgammon but introduces specific rules that impact the gameplay.

Key Rules and Differences:

  1. Setup: Players begin with two checkers on their 24-point, five on their 13-point, and three on their 8-point.
  2. Hitting Rules: In Russian Backgammon, hitting an opponent’s blot results in the hit checker being sent to the bar, but it doesn’t automatically grant ownership of the point. The player who hit the blot must land on it again to establish control of the point.
  3. No Bearing Off: Russian Backgammon does not involve bearing off checkers. The game focuses on controlling points and achieving dominance.

Russian Backgammon places a strong emphasis on point control and tactical maneuvering. It requires players to think strategically to secure and maintain control of essential points.


Chouette is a unique Backgammon variant that encourages social play among multiple participants. It is typically played with one “box” player who competes against several “team” players.

Key Rules and Differences:

  1. Box and Team Players: Chouette consists of a “box” player who competes against a team of “team” players. The box player takes on all team players simultaneously.
  2. Rotation: The team players take turns playing against the box. If a team player wins, they continue as the box player, and the previous box player joins the team.
  3. Doubling Cube: Chouette often uses the doubling cube, allowing the box player to propose doubles to increase the stakes. The team players can accept or decline.

Chouette is a highly social and interactive variant of Backgammon, where players can share strategies, collaborate, and engage in lively discussions while competing against the box.

Plakoto and Fevga

Plakoto and Fevga are traditional Backgammon variants played in Greece. While they share some common rules, they each have distinct gameplay features.

Key Rules and Differences:

  1. Setup: Both games use a Backgammon board but have different starting configurations. Plakoto starts with five checkers on the 24-point, while Fevga has five checkers on the 24-point and two on the 13-point.
  2. Movement Rules: In Plakoto, checkers move in the same direction but can land on and block opponent checkers. In Fevga, checkers move in the same direction, but blocking is not allowed.
  3. Bearing Off: In both games, the goal is to bear off all your checkers as quickly as possible.

Plakoto and Fevga offer interesting strategic challenges, especially due to their differing rules for blocking and movement.


Exploring Backgammon variants adds a delightful dimension to the classic game, providing diverse styles of play and strategic depth. Whether you prefer the cautious approach of Nackgammon, the quick pace of HyperGammon, or the unique dynamics of Russian Backgammon, there’s a variant to suit your preferences. Additionally, engaging in Chouette or experiencing traditional Greek variants like Plakoto and Fevga can introduce social and cultural elements to your Backgammon journey.

Each variant presents its own set of rules and challenges, offering a fresh and engaging experience for Backgammon enthusiasts. So, step beyond the standard Backgammon board and explore these fascinating variants to discover new dimensions of the game and enjoy the rich diversity of Backgammon play.

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