Okay, so we all know playing backgammon is fun. Did you know there was more than one way to play? That’s right! One of the most ancient forms of backgammon is actually from Greece and the game is called Tavli. In Greek (τάβλι), “Tavli” means board and there are three variations to the Greek board game Tavli. Though they may all be a little different, they are considerably the same. With that being said, let’s take a quick look at two versions of Tavli.
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Fevga is a great alternative to the original Backgammon game. It can also be the most difficult to play and learn. What makes this game so fun is the fact that the main purpose of the game is to block as many free spaces from your opponent as possible. Unlike the other versions of Tavli, Each player starts on two opposite sides of the board playing counter-clock-wise of their opponent. Just understand this. Fevga means ‘walk’. So one of the rules in the game applies to how you move your first piece. In the Tavli game of Fevga, you cannot move ‘walk’ your first piece freely until it lands on your opponent’s outer board. Now that is different!
In Plakoto, the game can be won if your opponent’s checker is still in the master position after you have moved all of your pieces to their home board. In Plakoto, if you have two or more checkers in one position on the board you create a barrier, but if you have one piece on a position, your opponent can trap you on that position by landing there as well. The game is interesting because you aren’t allowed to move that piece until your opponent moves first.
Finally, The Tavli version called Portes is played exactly like the popular game backgammon except without the doubling cube and the ‘three points to win’ rule. The latter rule can be used, but is rarely used in the Tavli version of Portes. All in all, Tavli uses one pair of dice, the highest roller of the dice moves first and the first player to move their checkers to the opponents’ home board gets the point. Tavli is a nice change to regular backgammon rich in tradition and fun!