ARTICLE #9 [First published in September 1987 Chicagoland Backgammon Newsletter]

To Veterans of Backgammon Wars

While viewing backgammon for the first time, you may have wondered how players could get so totally involved with a game to the point where they forget about food or sleep. One of the great fascinations of this activity is its similarity to war. Playing backgammon lets you manage a battle and see your field decisions become immediate successes or utter failures within minutes of their implementation.

Let us portray a match as the war and the players as opposing generals. Each game is a battle that can be a minor skirmish or a great and decisive confrontation, depending on strategic importance, or the escalating effect of the cube.

The checkers are your troops that can make points for fortification, or be launched like missiles. The dice are your transports that are often plagued by the weather of chance.

While playing the match, we try to devise battle plans for the different types of conflicts that emerge:

A. The PRIME GAME is like a siege with timing becoming a critical supply problem.
B. The BLITZ is an offensive game much like an invasion where you commit to an all-out attack to put your opponent on the defensive.
C. The HOLDING GAME reminds me of trench warfare where you build traps and probe for weaknesses in your enemy’s position.
D. The BACKGAME can be described as a tactical retreat. You attempt to draw your opponent into a position that uses up all his flexibility and timing so that your final attack cannot be countered.

There are other parts of this game that can be paralleled to the elements of war, but it is up to each player to fashion his own view.

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