The Backgammon Double: Doubling in a Tournament

Chouette: A Social and Beginner-Friendly Variation of Backgammon

Chouette is a variation of backgammon that is ideal for beginners as it gives poorer players a better chance of winning. This is because even a good player can lose a high game and end up spending the rest of the session trying to make up for their loss. This can be frustrating for skilled players who may feel like they are not able to use their abilities to their full advantage.

Chouette is also a more social form of backgammon as it involves three or four players. In the case of four players, one player rolls the die to determine who is “in the box” and who is the “captain.” The third and fourth highest rolls determine the order of play.

The man in the box plays against the other three players, and if he loses a one-point game, he loses one point to each of them. If he wins, each of the other three players loses one point to him. This format makes chouette a fun and engaging way to play backgammon with friends or acquaintances.

In Chouette, if the man in the box wins, he moves on to play the next highest die player who becomes the captain. If he loses, the captain takes his place and the former man in the box becomes the low man.

The captain can ask for advice from his partners in making his moves, but ultimately has the final say in decision making. The man in the box plays alone and cannot consult with others. The captain can offer a double, which can be accepted or rejected by the man in the box.

Similarly, a double offered by the man in the box can be accepted or rejected by any of his partners. If the captain declines a double but his partners accept it, the captain loses whatever count existed before the double to the man in the box. The next player in line becomes the captain if the previous captain loses.

Chouette is typically played with no more than four players, as adding more players reduces the fun of the game since no one player gets to play frequently enough. Additional players joining the game at any time enter at the bottom of the line.

Here are the official rules of the International Backgammon Association for the game of Chouette:

  • Chouette is a game played by three or more players.
  • To begin the game, each player rolls a die. The player with the highest number becomes the “man in the box,” and the player with the second-highest number becomes the “captain.” The remaining players are ranked in order according to their rolls.
  • If there is a tie, only the players who tied roll again to determine their positions, with the highest number taking precedence.
  • Anyone can join a game of chouette, and they become the lowest-ranked player in the first game they play.
  • After positions are determined, the man in the box and the captain play according to the rules of the two-player game. However, the remaining players are all partners of the captain.
  • The man in the box plays alone and scores separately against each of his opponents. He remains in the box until he is defeated, at which point he becomes the lowest-ranked player (unless there is a new player). The captain then becomes the man in the box.
  • The captain can consult with any or all of his partners regarding any questions that may arise during the game, but he has the final say, except in certain situations. If the captain is defeated, he becomes the lowest-ranked player (unless there is a new player), and the highest-ranked partner becomes the new captain.
  • All partners are bound by the captain’s decisions, except in the case of a double offered by the man in the box. In this case, any player has the right to accept or refuse the double, regardless of the captain’s decision.
  • If the captain declines a double offered by the man in the box, he loses his position and forfeits his count before the proposed double.
  • If the captain declines a double, any or all of the other players can accept it. The highest-ranked player who accepts becomes the new captain until the end of the game.
  • Accepting or declining a double does not change a player’s rank when the new captain loses. If the new captain wins, he becomes the man in the box.
  • Too much discussion and contention slow down the game. The captain should only ask for advice if he is genuinely unsure about a play, and partners should only give advice if they believe the captain is overlooking a move or should double. Players who refuse to accept a double are out of the game and may not offer further advice.

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