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RandomGammon is Here!!!

Try RandomGammon

by Phil Simborg


Don’t get me wrong…I love backgammon the way it is.  It is challenging and exciting.  But have you tried Nackgammon?  Nack Ballard simply changed the starting position to put 4 checkers back instead of 2, and the result is a far more complex game.  Nackgammon requires players to be more inventive and creative from the very opening, and the starting position leads to a lot more complicated games.


I simply decided to take it a step further.  Why not try a lot of different starting positions?  Why not throw away everything we know about the opening moves and responses, and from the very start, have to rely on our wits to play well?


I call it Randomgammon, and I encourage you to come up with your own starting positions and simply play from there.  I sent this idea out to many of the best players in the world and several came back very excited and interested in the idea.  Both chess and checkers have experimented with different starting positions, and all agree it makes the game more interesting and challenging.


I will be encouraging tournament directors to try this as a side event at future tournaments.  Imagine playing in a tournament where you have no idea what the starting position will be until you sit down to play and the director gives you a diagram?  What fun.


Below are just three starting positions that are radically different from the norm.  Put those in your extremeGammon and try playing them against the computer and see how you do!  Or try it against a friend.    


Again, come up with some fun starting positions of your own, and when you find really good ones, send them to me—I’d love to see them!



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