Backgammon & the Eternal Dilemma of Skill and Luck
Backgammon may be the oldest game in the world but an essential question regarding it remains unanswered. Up to now, there is still no conclusive response to the question that has spanned millennia: the argument of what the game really is, is it a game of luck or skill?
Many people are still confused over the true nature of backgammon because on the surface one can easily dismiss it as a game of chance as it involves the use of a pair of dice but regular players know that beneath that surface of simplicity and appearance of a luck- oriented game, there is complexity, sophistication, and an abundance of skill-oriented game play that can be found on the game.
This contradiction greatly causes difficulties in defining backgammon as a marriage of strategic and mathematical skill and aspects of luck causes confusion on how people view the game.
Well, it is widely accepted that the greater your skill, the better your chances of winning will be. This conclusion has been established again and again in countless competition and tournaments. However, take note of the fact that this is verified only through years of innumerable backgammon games meaning skill affects backgammon only in the long run.
Luck, on the other hand, is still a strong influence in the short run as anyone, given the blessing of lady luck, can easily clobber any seasoned veteran of the game. Attribute it to the dice the not so rare occurrence of defeats of experts in the hands of complete novices.
This characteristic of backgammon has lead to some initiative on the part of players to develop rules and regulations that decrease the luck factor in the game and make it more like other hard core strategy games like checkers and chess. Modifications such as the Simborg rule has found acceptance of skill-oriented players as it has been used for some tournament play.
On other side of the spectrum with regards to this issue are those who are against the reduction of the luck factor in the game. This group contends that decreasing or removing the amount of chance in the game also decreases and removes the fun of randomness that is somehow unique to backgammon.
The experience of rolling the right amount to win despite the disadvantage in position and expertise in the game is what makes backgammon, backgammon and taking it away is tantamount to making another game out of it, individuals who are for the luck factor argue.
This argument of skill and luck is an interesting one especially if one is interested in defining the central aspect of the game to help in formulating key strategies for winning. But if you're a casual player who mostly plays for fun then there is no difference whether you embrace the game as one of luck, of skill or both as they are all about backgammon.