Chouette - Backgammon variants

An interesting variation of the game of backgammon is called chouette. It is particularly suited to beginners because poorer players have a better chance of winning. A good player can lose a high game, and may have to spend the rest of the Session redeeming the loss. Good players do not generally enjoy this type of play, because they cannot use their skill to best advantage and do not have complete control over their game.

Chouette is also a more social form of backgammon. The game is played by more than two players, either three or four. For the purpose of Illustration we will use four players. All participants roll but one die. The player rolling the highest number is "in the box." The man rolling the second highest number is called the "captain." He plays the man in the box. The third highest roll plays the first game's winner. The fourth man plays the winner of the second game.

The winner of each game is always the man in the box. If there are any ties in the rolls, the dice are re-rolled by the tied men to determine their positions.

The man in the box is now playing against three players as far as scoring goes. If he loses a one-point game, he loses one point to each of the other three men. If he wins, each of the other three loses one point to him.

If the man in the box wins, he plays the next highest die player, who now becomes captain. If he loses, the captain becomes the man in the box. The man formerly in the box becomes the low man.

The captain can ask the advice of bis partners in determining his moves. However, he has the final say as to how the move should be made.

The man in the box plays alone and cannot confer with the others. A double offered by the captain can be accepted or rejected by the man in the box.

A double offered by the man in the box can be accepted or rejected by any one of the partners. If, for instance, the captain refuses to double and his other two partners accept the double, the captain loses to the man in the box whatever count existed before the double. The next man in line then plays äs the captain and remains so should he lose that particular game.

Chouette is played usually for no more than four players. If more than four play, the fun of the game diminishes because no one player gets to play frequently enough.

Any additional players coming into the game, at any time, come in at the bottom of the line.

The official rules of the International Backgammon Association for the game of chouette

  1. Chouette is played by three or more players.
  2. In beginning the game, each member shall throw a die. The one throwing the highest number is the "man in the box," the next highest is the "captain." The other members, in accordance with each one's throw, rank below the captain and succeed him in that Order.
  3. The initial throw shall determine each member's position, but in the event of a tie, only those tying throw again for their position. The highest or higher number always has precedence.
  4. Any applicant to chouette may be accepted. He becomes the last-ranking member in the first game in which he participates.
  5. After the positions have been determined, the man in the box and the captain proceed äs in the two-handed game except that all the remaining members are partners of the captain.
  6. The man in the box plays alone and scores separately with each one of his adversaries. He retains his position until defeated. In such event, he retires äs a player and takes his place as last-ranking member (unless there be an added member). The captain then becomes the man in the box.
  7. The captain may consult with any or all of the partners on any question that may arise in the course of the game. He is, however, the final arbiter, except as here after provided. Should he be defeated, he loses his position and takes his place as last-ranking member (unless there be an added member). The highest-ranking partner then becomes captain.
  8. All partners are bound by the action of the captain except in the case of a double by the man in the box. In this case any player has the right to refuse or accept the double, irrespective of the action by the captain.
  9. Should the captain decline to accept a double offered by the man in the box, he loses his position, and forfeits to the man in the box his count previous to the proposed double.
  10. When a double has been declined by the captain, any or all of the other members may accept it. The highest ranking of those accepting becomes captain until the termination of that game.
  11. Accepting or declining a double does not change the rank of any member when the new captain loses; if the new captain wins, he takes the box.
  12. Those players who refuse to accept the double are out of that game and may not be consulted from then on.

In the game of chouette, too much discussion and contention slows up the game. The captain should only ask for advice when he is really in doubt as to the play. Partners should give advice only when they think the captain is overlooking a play entirely or when they want to suggest that he double.

Download the PDF with the chouette rules at