I ran across a group of friends who play Chouette.
What the hell is that?
So they told me. And asked me to join in.
And damn. It was fun.
Chouette is a variation of traditional backgammon that involves three or more players.
It utilizes the same basic rules of backgammon but with certain variations designed to allow multiple players.
Chouette style backgammon pits one player, known as the Box, against a team of other players, led by the Captain.
To start the game, all players throw one dice.
The player who throws the highest roll will play as the Box.
The second highest roll will be the Captain and the rest of the players are decided based on their rolls in descending order.
If two players roll the same number, each player rolls their die again until the proper order is decided. Between games, new players can join in with the acceptance of those already at the board. The newest player is always moved to the bottom of the order though.
The game begins with the Box facing the Captain and the Team.
Hell, this is cool, I thought. I was on the team.
Each player on the team is assigned one cube, so there are multiple doubling cubes in each game.
The Box can thus use the doubling cube against any of his opposition to make them drop or take. When the Box decides to double, each player on the team must make their decision, but in descending order, starting with the captain.
Because there is only one Box and there are multiple opponents, doubling cubes can all have different values throughout the game.
If the Box is doubled and he decides to drop or if a team member drops, the game continues until a winner is declared, regardless of who is dropped from the game. The losing players must wait patiently and refrain from discussing the game or interfering until the game is over.
The Captain is given leave to discuss with any team members how to move the checkers, though the doubling cube is to be handled only by the player associated with each cube.
The Captain is given all control over the movement of the checkers on the board. While the rest of the teams offers advice and their input, only the captain may move the checkers on the board.
He is also the only player to roll the dice and team mates are required to double before the dice are rolled. If the Captain rolls before all cubes are on the table, the roll does not count and must be re-rolled.
The Box remains in the box until he loses and then is placed at the bottom of the order on the team.
He plays for points against all players on the opposition and is only replaced by the Captain of the opposite team after he has lost. Everyone then moves up one rank, with the second highest ranking player on the team becoming the captain.
When the Captain and the team lose a game, the Captain is moved to the bottom of the order as well. Every game, there is a new Captain for the team. If the Captain drops their cube at some point during the game, they are replaced by the next highest ranking player.
The score should be kept by an impartial observer or by a team member who is lower in rank. It should be made viewable to all players and should be reviewed by all players between each game. Players should record the points from dropped cubes as they happen to avoid confusion or miscalculations as the game progresses.
I lost the first few times I played because I didn’t really “get” it.
But now I do.
What do you think?
Give it a try. Let me know if you think it sucks. Or not.