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"Slot Rule" and "Simborg Rule"

Posted By: Phil Simborg
Date: Wednesday, 20 January 2010, at 11:07 a.m.

In Response To: "Slot Rule" and "Simborg Rule" (Nack Ballard)

First, let me say that when I invented The Simborg Rule, I had never heard of or known about Slot-Gammon. I like them both, and as Nack says, for the same reasons: they both reduce the advantage of having a great opening roll, and they both tend to make the game more complicated from the start, and that, to me, makes the game more fun and interesting (and requires more skill to play).

Recently I introduced RandomGammon which is Nackgammon on steroids. You simply start out with really crazy and unusual positions, and they change all the time. That way, you can throw out everything you know about opening moves, however you still need to play your checkers efficiently to make points, hit, and block your opponent.

All of these variations make terrific side events or even fun competitions in heads up play. Over the holidays, Scott Casty and I played many money games using RandomGammon. We played them on ExtremeGammon and even bet on our PR (Performance Rating) as well as who wins the game. It was extremely challenging and mentally stimulating, and even though our positions were not the kind of thing the bot is used to seeing, we found (after rollouts) that the bot still has significant skills and can pretty much be relied on to tell us the better plays.

I don't think any of these variations will be used in major tournaments except as side events, but I encourage you all to try them and you'll see what a challenge it is and how much fun it is.

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