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Subject: What game to buy for a big-time Backgammon player? rss

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Joe Jackson
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So here I am asking for advice on which abstract game I could buy for a relative's birthday who admittedly I don't know very well. The one thing I do know is that he's a huge Backgammon player in his 40's and that he plays with his partner a lot.

I'm a gamer who plays a ton of videogames, and for boardgames I play stuff like Mage Knight, Neuroshima Hex, Arkham Horror, Descent, Smallworld, Earth Reborn etc.. The only abstract I really play is the occasional game of Chess.

I know Hive is a great game, especially for partners, but worry that it may be too simple. I don't play Backgammon at all so I don't know how large the strategy gap is between those two games.

Anyway I thank you all in advance for helping me choose. His birthday is August 21 so I have some time to decide, but I also need time for postage.
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Pablo Schulman
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Abstract racing/breakthrough games might do the trick.

Puluc
Senet
The Royal Game of Ur

All of the above are historical games, and simple fillers... Should be good as a gift.

Pablo
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Avri
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Hive is a decent starting point - not too obscure, other people may have heard of it, solid decision space to explore, not too great a commitment.

If your relative might like exploring a new (but familiar looking) game a little deeper, perhaps take a look at Arimaa?
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Hunga Dunga
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Hive may work, but there may not be enough action for a backgammon player.

Have you seen this person's backgammon set? You might consider a vintage set or one of those really ornate ones from the Middle East you can find on eBay.

Nothing wrong with having more than one backgammon set!
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Russ Williams
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Possible other idea: a book about backgammon strategy or history?
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Edwin Nealley

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I've never played, but one game I have looked at with nice bits and some mechanics in common with backgammon is Canoe.
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Richard Ghilardi
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Here's my hearty second for Canoe. But you should also consider A more balanced set of rules for Counterstrike. While this game may be hard to find, the pictures in the thread above demonstrate what can be done with a little "craftiness". Who wouldn't want to receive the game depicted in those photos for their birthday?

Oeco
 
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Joe Jackson
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Alright thanks for the responses so far, you're all really helping me out. I've had a look at all of the games mentioned, some I think would work better than others.

Hungadunga wrote:
Have you seen this person's backgammon set? You might consider a vintage set or one of those really ornate ones from the Middle East you can find on eBay.

Nothing wrong with having more than one backgammon set!


This was an idea, but he's a MASSIVE player. He has an incredibly expensive, hand carved set made in some eastern country which is beautiful. I really don't think I could give him anything that would come close. Good idea though!

russ wrote:
Possible other idea: a book about backgammon strategy or history?


Another good idea, I'll have a look around.

herendil66 wrote:
I've never played, but one game I have looked at with nice bits and some mechanics in common with backgammon is Canoe.


This game, along with Puluc, look like really great choices. I'll have to see how available they are, but I may go with one of those.

I won't make any decisions yet, so if you guys want to suggest anything else then feel free.


EDIT: I just looked at the Canoe store and they look fantastic. I'm worried that I won't be able to grab a copy in time though, since I live in England and the birthday is on the 21st of this month. I don't remember if I mentioned that in the OP, but there you go. Something to keep in mind.
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Calvin Daniels
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The Gipf games might fit too. although I would say Arimaa.


Entrapment very nice board/game too.
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Blue Mountain
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Oecolampad wrote:
Here's my hearty second for Canoe. But you should also consider A more balanced set of rules for Counterstrike. While this game may be hard to find, the pictures in the thread above demonstrate what can be done with a little "craftiness". Who wouldn't want to receive the game depicted in those photos for their birthday?

Oeco
i think you linked to the other Canoe in error... there is more than 1 canoe in the database..
 
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Richard Ghilardi
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Quite right. Mea culpa.

The correct link is: Canoe.
 
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Joe Jackson
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I contacted the correct store anyway so that's fine. I told my relative that I found something special but it would be late for his birthday, but he said he didn't mind since he really wasn't expecting much from me (socks or something haha). I'm looking at the Mahogany set, it's really nice.
 
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Nello Cozzolino
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What game to buy for a big-time Backgammon player?


Battle of the Pyramids
 
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chicagopsych

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I love backgammon as does my wife but we are by no means "pros" at it. I like backgammon for its great components (we a have pretty nice board and pieces) coupled with fun game play. Canoe seems too similar to backgammon for me. Both games would scratch the same itch, so one would not get played much.

So my suggestions are Entrapment, YINSH and TZAAR. The last two being part of the GIPF series of abstracts.
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Joe Jackson
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Good point chicagopsych, I should keep that in mind!


YINSH was another idea I had originally, plus I think Entrapment would go down well.

The major problem I'm having is.. buying these games. It seems like all of these great abstracts are really hard to come by - especially for me in England.

I'm still waiting for a reply from the Canoe guys. I read a thread in the Entrapment section and I'm not sure if they even ship internationally or not.
 
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Blue Mountain
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GKANG wrote:
Good point chicagopsych, I should keep that in mind!


YINSH was another idea I had originally, plus I think Entrapment would go down well.

The major problem I'm having is.. buying these games. It seems like all of these great abstracts are really hard to come by - especially for me in England.

I'm still waiting for a reply from the Canoe guys. I read a thread in the Entrapment section and I'm not sure if they even ship internationally or not.
I had entrapment shipped to australia... The only hassle was the huge number of parcels being sent to australia caused a delay as the US postal service dealt with the backlog..

Entrapment can be easily shipped to the UK
 
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Blue Mountain
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what is it about backgammon that he likes?

doe he enjoy any other type of game?

is it the combination of luck vs skill? The action.. ie constant die rolling, fast moving pieces? The short playing time? The constant handling of pieces? The nice visuals of a fancy board? etc etc...

Some of the suggestions provided above are pure skill based games that can take a lot longer to play than backgammon ...

For a game with backgammon like pieces, a short playing time, and lots of "action" on a board I suggest DVONN.

You can actually go to boardspace.net and play a few of the games people have suggested, including entrapment. You can log in as a guest and play a computer opponent without needing to register an email address or anything..
 
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Joe Jackson
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Well honestly I haven't questioned him about why he likes a game he likes, but I know that he doesn't really play many other games. That's my main concern, trying to get him something that he'd like to play despite being pretty much just a Backgammon player.

It's good to know that I could ship Entrapment here. Can you remember where you ordered from?
 
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Blue Mountain
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GKANG wrote:


It's good to know that I could ship Entrapment here. Can you remember where you ordered from?
http://gowellclassicgames.com/
 
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Hunga Dunga
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going out on a limb here...what about Formula D or Formula Dé Mini?
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Nello Cozzolino
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heavily influenced by backgammon

Abagio

 
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Michael Ziegler
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Buy him the ancient ancestor of Backgammon. The one that they found in King Tut's tomb and a custom set was featured in the original 1972 movie "Sleuth" with Michael Caine and Lawrence Olivier. This photo is my custom designed Senet table from 1997, and yes I still have it.
 
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Jon
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Traditional games that have survived the test of time and ancient games that have not are a part of our heritage.
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m'n - the Egyptian hieroglyph for board game, also signifying "stability" and used phonetically as in the last syllable of "Tutankhamun"
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GKANG wrote:
This game, along with Puluc, look like really great choices. I'll have to see how available they are, but I may go with one of those.


Geoludie, an online games store from France, is an option for Puluc if you can navigate their website which is in French. They sell several versions and ship internationally.

Their website is:

http://www.geoludie.com
 
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Clark D. Rodeffer
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I second the suggestion of a good Backgammon strategy book, or maybe a couple sets of precision dice in his favorite colors?

If you're set on getting another game, then I also second the suggestion of Arimaa, but I think it's plenty intuitive to play with a standard Chess set using height to determine which pieces can move which other pieces. The published Arimaa sets are nice, but not really necessary. A few other older games that you might consider in this case include Auf Kurs, Billabong, Camelot, Halma and Strata 5. Unlike Hive (While a good game, I wouldn't recommend it for this situation.), all of these (including Arimaa) have some sort of racing aspect to them. However, none of them have the risk-taking aspect of Backgammon, and none are well-suited to playing for stakes.

When your friend plays Backgammon, is it for stakes, or "just to play?" If playing for stakes is more important than the racing aspect of the game, then perhaps a nice Cribbage board would be an even better choice?
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Geert Vinaskov
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A few friends and I are major Backgammon lovers. I've found out about Marrakesh today, and I'm looking into it as we speak.

Most of us are also chess players, and some are into boardgames as well, and these are the reasons we sometimes play Backgammon instead of chess:

- It's short, and has a "fixed" playing time. Unlike chess, which can last from 20 minutes to 3 hours.
- There's no brainburning. You don't have to wait a lot, and you can talk about things wile you play.
- It's not very competetive since it has dice and luck. You're a bit at the mercy of the dice, and if something bad happens you'll blame the dice instead of the opponent. Unlike chess, the best player doesn't always win.
- It has a fun goal: build a wall your opponent can't cross. Even if you're behind, you're still doing your best to build a decent wall. Compare this to chess, where it's all about destroying things, in Backgammon you're building and improving constantly, even if you're losing.
- The ability to take crazy risks. Especially if you're behind, it's often a good idea to make risky moves. If these risks pay off, they make good stories/exciting moments.

In essence, backgammon is a casual abstract without the deterministic interaction of "you versus me", but with the relaxing interaction of "you versus me versus the dice".
 
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