Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bathroom Monologue: Life is Backgammon

“Backgammon is the game of our age. The Munenori and their Contiguities see it as a sport for kings, able to be played sitting. For the commoners, though, it is the correct balance of chance and strategy. In Chess, there is nothing uncertain save your enemy’s strategy. That’s nothing like life. And in Dice, there is nothing planned, only the value of a face roll. In Backgammon, you roll and are given this many spaces to move your units, and must move wisely. You plan into chance, and you organize what you’re given, all at the peril of another person who is doing the same. You need to build blots of defenses, but you also need to expand beyond them, into increasingly perilous territory. To each player there is a reassurance. To the strategist, there is strategy. To the layfolk, there is the luck of the roll. Neither skill nor chance will grant you victory every time. Best and last: you can get exceedingly lucky and make it all the way to the end, then not roll the proper numbers to get your pieces off the board. It’s the board game equivalent of losing a war to budgeting, which is the theme of our age.”


  1. I discovered the hard way how much impact strategy had. My partner and I used to play - with the stakes domestic chores. Initially we were fairly evenly matched. Then he began to win almost all of the time - until I discovered (and read) a book on backgammon strategy.

  2. Making Backgammon sound cool is an amazing achievement. Well done!


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