Following Ninja Monkey’s rather lame advice in our previous game and my spectacularly unsuccessful attempts at improving its win rate over the long weekend, I have decided to take things to the Next Level Of Trevor by proposing a Match-To-Five-Points. This would entail the use of a Doubling Cube, so games can terminate early if one side doubles and the other refuses. From earlier interaction with IM Bart and IM Bug, I can safely assume my readers have some familiarity with the mechanics of the doubling cube in Backgammon 😊
To be more specific, here are the rules for 5-Point-Match in Spider Solitaire:
- The readers (IM Bart, IM Bug plus others) are the “Heroes” and I am the evil Villain.
- The readers are responsible for making all decisions re card play. I will maintain the game state with my standard Windows Solitaire software. Both my readers and I participate in cube decisions.
- At any stage of the game, either side can double. The opponent must concede (and start a new game with cube in the middle) or accept (which gives him exclusive right to make the next double). Note that rejecting a bad starting hand is equivalent to conceding a point after the Villain doubles. Obviously restart/undo is not allowed.
- There are no gammons or backgammons. There is no reward for scoring more than 5 points so paying attention to the match score may be relevant.
- The Crawford rule applies. This basically means if one side is 1-away from winning the match then the cube is dead for one game only.
- Pretend you don’t know nothing about chouettes – we shall keep things simple!
Just to cover my backside and avoid any unpleasant controversies, I will state the following clarifications up front.
- It is legal for either side to double before the first move is played. Beware that it is possible for a good start to sour. Conversely, it is equally possible to recover from a poor start with skilled play. It is usually much harder to obtain a reversal of fortunes (in either direction) after the stock is empty!
- To avoid the (rare-but-theoretically-possible) scenario where both sides wanna double simultaneously with the cube in the middle, you can assume that if I present the latest game state without explicitly mentioning the D-word then I forfeit my right to double.
- If the readers do not have a clear majority for a preferred action (card-play or cube decision) then I use a random number generator as tie-breaker. Obviously, I will not use my “better judgment” as tie-breaker!
- It is acceptable to concede after accepting a cube and regretting it (a typical Backgammon analogy would be the losing side resigning after barely avoiding a Gammon in a no-contact position)
To save time, a reader may wish to combine a cube decision and card-play decision. For instance Joe Bloggs may vote “Double: if Villain accepts then I play (ab,cd,ef)”. A combined decision is always split into two separate decisions, with cube-decision first. If the majority vote is against Joe Bloggs’ cube decision then his card-play decision is redirected to Tumbolia, the land of Dead Hiccups and extinguished lightbulbs. Obviously the card-play decision is N/A if the decision is “decline Villain’s double”.
Note that Villain actually gained information he was not entitled to because the Heroes gave a move sequence before Villain had a chance to accept/refuse the cube (but Villain must accept/refuse before seeing any turnovers resulting from the move sequence). For this reason, I recommend to use compound actions only when the card-play really is trivial.
I Have No Idea If This Will Work But There’s Only 1 Way To Find Out
Here’s hoping there are some Backgammon addicts out there who are willing to join in the fun along with our two IM’s. If you know your Market Losers from your Post-Crawford Game then this should be right up your alley, even if you rot13(fhpx) at Spider Solitaire. In any case, that’s what team-mates like Bug and Bart are for 😊 So, without further ado Let The Games Begin Immediately!