Acey-Deucey – Sailors’ Backgammon

The backgammon variation Acey-Deucey was a popular pastime among the US Marine Corps during World War I. An article published in the backgammon site Play65 reveals that the game has been entertaining Navy officers already in the beginning of the 1900s. It also shows that even the name “Acey-Deucey” has its roots in the American Navy’s slang.

Acey-Deucey is the nickname given to the dice roll of 1-2. Normally a disadvantageous roll, the Acey-Deucey roll grants its thrower with special privileges: the right to play a desired double of his choice, plus an additional role (on top of the 1-2 roll). Acey and Deucey were also the nicknames of the First and Second Class Petty Officers (respectively), who also entertained themselves in Acey-Deucey Clubs and Lounges.

Acey-Deucey was not the sole occupancy of the command echelon; sailors used to pass the time between one mission to another rolling dice and moving checkers. Acey-Deucey was everywhere, testified one sailor in a letter to the Time’s editor in 1930, “the deck, below decks, in the engine room, the dynamo room and in the turrets and handling rooms”, and was never spotted among the combat corps.

Although Acey-Deucey can be played on the same equipment used in backgammon games, playing the game on the shaky grounds of the sea required some innovations. Therefore, to protect the dice and checkers from sliding and slipping, a special border was built around the backgammon board and the dice were dropped to the playing surface through a tube.

Acey Deucey Rules & Strategy

The acey-deucey advantage is one of the main differences between the standard backgammon and the mariners’ favorite variation. Backgammon and Acey-Deucey also differ in their initial board setup and their final scoring; the Acey-Deucey game begins with both players’ checkers based outside the board and it ends with the loser sacrificing one point for every checker that was not borne off the board.

Despite the great 1-2 benefit and the fact that Acey-Deucey is played without the doubling cube, the game does leave some room for preplanned strategy. Acey-Deucey strategy would focus on the early game, when both players enter the checkers to the board according to the rolls of the dice, the same way players remove their checkers of the board at the end of the backgammon game. Reasonable Acey-Deucey strategy may include quick entering of most checkers and using them to block the opponent’s checkers.

Backgammon Rules

To learn online Backgammon is as simple as to learn how to play Backgammon offline. Players should keep in mind that Backgammon is a race game played between two players who are trying to bear off all of their checkers before the opponent can achieve the same goal. You also need to know that the advancement of the checkers depends upon the roll of the dice and by your analytical skill and experience. For instance, a roll of 2 and 6 will indicate how many moves you can place the checkers, but it is up to your skill and assessment to make the best advancement possible out of that dice throw. This being said let us get started by explaining the proper Backgammon set up of checkers at the beginning of each game.

According to the standard Backgammon rules, two checkers should be placed on the 24 point, five on the 13 point, three on the 8 point, and another five on the 6 point. There are different variations of Backgammon board games like Acey-deucey were the placement of the checkers will vary according to the specific rules of each Backgammon variant, but these lineaments prove irrelevant in a standard Backgammon game which is what it is normally played online.

After positioning the checkers on their respective places, an opening throw of dice must take place in order to play Backgammon. This first roll will be carried by both players with only one of their dice; the player with the higher roll is the player who should make use of the combine opening roll to begin the game. If both players roll the same number, an extra throw must take place until the tie is broken. After this point, each player will play alternatively moving his/her pieces in counter-clock-wise motion towards his/her home-board. A checker can be placed on a point only if that point is available, meaning, only if one of the opponent’s checkers stands on it or if it is completely empty.

If one checker stands alone on a point, it can be hit by the opponent and be sent to the bar. To enter the board, a hit checker must be placed on an available point in the home-board of the opponent in accordance to the indication of the roll, otherwise, it must remain on the bar and no further advancements could be made by the player. All points occupied by more than one checker can be skipped if the dice do not indicate it as one of the destination points. Once all checkers are in the home-board, they will be borne off according to the dictates of the dice.

To deepen your knowledge on this subject or on any other theme related to this field such as Backgammon Gambling, direct yourself to the Internet where an infinite array of resources and Backgammon news are provided by the Backgammon community to assist you at every stage.