Tuesday, April 25, 2006

How To Play A Chouette

How To Play A Chouette

A chouette is a fun, social, multi-player form of backgammon. It can be a tremendous amount of fun, with lots of cube turns, players taking different points of view, getting to rotate and play as a teammate of another player one game and against him the next.
However, if it’s not done right, especially online, it can get boring quickly. This page will give you an outline of what a chouette is and how to play. I strongly suggest that you print this out and keep it to refer to while playing.
You might want to review that. But let me give a very brief description.
One player – the “box” – plays against a team. One member of the team is the “Captain.” This all takes place on one board. The Captain has final say over all checker plays, although he can ask his teammates for help in some situations. However, each player has his own doubling cube. He can double regardless of what his teammates do, and he can take or drop if doubled on his own.
A chouette is played just like a money game. There is no “match score” – you play one game, win or lose points, then go on to the next game. Positions change every game. In general, if the box wins, he stays as the box; if the Captain wins he becomes the box. Whether the Captain wins or loses, the next player in line becomes the Captain.
The scoring is just points won or lost. Each player has a running score, of plus or minus a certain number of points, or even. If you were playing for money, you would multiply this by the stakes, and that’s how many dollars ahead or behind you would be. Naturally, the sum of all the scores is always zero.
Online chouettes can be somewhat awkward to run. There is no special software on the Zone for chouettes. What is required is someone to run the chouette who understands a chouette, whom I call a monitor. The monitor keeps track of the position of all cubes, and tallies the running score. When a chouette gets large, it gets to be a lot of work.
I have listed below everyone’s responsibilities. I know from experience that if everyone doesn’t follow these, it can really ruin things for everyone. Please print them out and read them, and then have them handy to refer to.
A chouette can be an awful lot of fun. For the team, there is the opportunity to gang up on one helpless victim (the box), to consult on checker plays, to show how much smarter you are than the others by, say, dropping a double and losing one point when everyone else goes on to lose a doubled gammon – or by taking and winning two points when most of your teammates dropped and lost one. There is the excitement of being the box and winning or losing 5 or 10 or 20 points at a time – I once saw, I think, the box win 80 points in a single game in an online chouette (two cubes at 16, two at 8, and he won a gammon).

Please review very carefully your responsibilities:


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