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Subject: How in the world are you supposed to mitigate luck in this game? rss

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Todd N.
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Dice are fickle. If you look at it another way; you now know if the situation was reversed you are never really out of the game.
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Devin Smith
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Heh. You were in trouble the moment you said 'six checkers on my side': that usually indicates that your opponent is far enough behind to mount a decent back game: having only one or two checkers back is usually not enough. Was your opponent significantly better than you?

Learning how to play from behind in backgammon is a skill. Knowing how to play when significantly ahead is also a skill: if you really are far ahead you shouldn't lose unless you get hit at least once, so playing very conservatively is important. Knowing when to double is another one: if you're in some positions, doubling ends the game when the opponent concedes in lieu of playing it out for two losses.


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Eric Jome
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A friend quite likes this game. And I constant tease him about how it is entirely decided by luck... which is of course both true and false.

There is skill in making the best of what the dice give you. But then, you still roll dice. This game is similar to things like Tigris & Euprates or Kingsburg then - you get what you get and sometimes that will just not be enough.

C'est la guerre.
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Donald Acker
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Yeah, backgames are nasty. But the real way to mitigate luck is the cube. As you point out, just because you are winning does not mean you will win. But doubling forces your opponent to look at the strength of your position, rather than wait for you (or the dice) to mess up.
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Kent Reuber
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Play multiple games with the doubling cube. You will occasionally lose a game, but the person with the most skill should win in the end.
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David desJardins
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didaskalos wrote:
I had my opponent dominated. I had all my checkers in points on my side of the board and she had 6 checkers on my side of the board still.


Based on this description, it's quite possible that she was winning at this point.
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David desJardins
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But the whole point of the doubling cube is to respond to your complaint, by reducing the amount of luck in the game. So if you are annoyed by the level of luck, then the answer is to adopt the solution that the backgammon world has adopted.

In answer to your second question, it's entirely possible for the player who has a "back game" to actually have a better chance of winning, because, while you are ahead in the race, it's very likely that she will be able to hit one or more of your men while you're trying to bear off. Whether your position actually has the characteristics that would give her the advantage, we don't know, because you didn't post it, but it's entirely consistent with your description that she could.
 
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Jennifer Schlickbernd
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There are several strategies in backgammon that are not obvious from playing just a few games. The backgammon books that I have used in the past are unfortunately out of print, but Amazon lists several with good reviews.

And like others said, the doubling cube takes most of the luck out of the game.
 
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Badger
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There is very little luck in Backgammon once you become a stronger player. There is a lot of luck management, however.
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Richard Hutnik
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Several things:
1. The doubling cube was added to reduce/manage luck. People play it with the doubling cube and to a set number of points.
2. Consider something like NC-Backgammon:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/34736

There is no luck during play. Players select their own dice. Other than that, perhaps practice practice practice.
 
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David desJardins
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didaskalos wrote:
I left it out because I thought it would be easier for my partner to learn the game in it's more basic sense without the cube.


I think it's a good idea to learn the game without the doubling cube. You won't have any idea when to double or when to accept a double unless you've played enough to understand who has an advantage and how much. I'm only saying that then you should expect that it is a game with a whole lot of luck and not get upset when someone comes back from behind.
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Kevin Gordon
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didaskalos wrote:
It also seems that I need to calm down and not get down on the game because of a bad outcome. After all, the game has been popular for thousands of yeras, so there must be more to it than I see here initially.


This is indeed the attitude you should have! Backgammon is a great game. I know not everyone likes it, and thats fine, but those who say it is just a game of luck simply havent discovered how to play the game. In my experience the more skillful player wins at least 4 out of 5 games. Thats why everyone is suggesting the doubling cube. Once you and your partner are comfortable with the rules you can find one of the many articles on how to incorporate it. It does wonders for the game!
 
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Guy Fischer
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The mathematical measure of luck is equity after the roll minus your equity before the roll. For example: If your equity is +0.3 and you roll well so that the best play has an equity of +0.5 but you blunder, only getting +0.4, then your luck was +0.2 and you erred by 0.1.

Source:http://www.bkgm.com/articles/Zare/AMeasureOfLuck.html
 
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