Intro / Basics
Abstract Games Magazine's
Review of Chebache:
by Kerry Handscomb -- Issue 3, Autumn 2000
Invented by Scott Pardee
It is difficult to avoid comparing Chebache with Backgammon.
Although the inventor has integrated elements of Checkers, Backgammon
and Chess into this game, it is primarily a race game
in which the players use the throws of two dice to move their men
around a track from start to finish.
I found the appearance of Chebache to be immediately appealing:
the board is a bold abstract design, consisting of an enlarged 4 X 4
checkerboard with symbols indicating the special function of some of the squares.
Unlike Backgammon, the two players use different tracks, which
intersect each other only on every second space. Where the tracks
intersect the players can attack and send back opposing pieces with a
mechanism similar to hitting blots in Backgammon. In order to attack
pieces located on the other spaces where the two tracks do not
intersect it is necessary to form a "Chebache," in which the space
attacked is partially surrounded by enemy pieces.
Four spaces on each player's track are "tivit" spaces, including a
prohibition on stacking more that four pieces on a space, and provision
for a "jump" phase after the normal dice moves. Chebache is definitely
more elaborate than Backgammon, and complexity for its own sake is to
be avoided, but I believe the inventor has made some valid
choices--each non-essential rule adds significantly to the strategic
interest of the game. It is quite possible, for example, to play
without the kings (and this is in fact recommended in the rules as an
option for beginners), but the greater attacking power and flexibility
conferred by the kings is nicely balanced by their vulnerability to
One of the great things about Backgammon is that a player can
compensate for poor rolls of the dice by shifting his strategic stance.
A player who falls behind in the race early on, for example, can go
into a back game. In this sense, Backgammon transcends the dice. In
Chebache this is true, too, as a Chebache-style back game is a definite
strategic option. Rather than relying on your opponent to hit your
blots, however, you also have the option of sending you men backwards
through the tivit space system in order to block opposing men
approaching the finish.
Chebache may reward aggressive play more than Backgammon because it
is not necessary to use a die roll to reenter a man that has been hit
and because the track is only 18 spaces long rather than 24. One rule
with interesting ramifications is that once you have begun to enter men
into the finish square (or "bear off" in Backgammon terms) you have to
vacate the start space or forfeit your dice roll if unable to do so.
Your opponent achieves a big strategic advantage in this situation if
he can block you from leaving the start square.
It is possible that Chebache is a strategically richer game than
Backgammon. Some practice is necessary to get used to the rules and
the board, but the effort is well worth the reward. This is an
attractive and interesting game.
Pardee Games, PO Box 69, Ithaca NY 14851, USA
http://www.chebache.com. Cost $29.95
Originally published in
Abstract Games Magazine,
Issue 3, Autumn 2000. Review text reproduced
in full with permission from Kerry Handscomb and Abstract Games Magazine,
with grateful thanks from Pardee Games.
Chebache® is a registered trademark of Pardee Games.
This website & all contents Copyright © 1997-2000 Pardee Games. >
All rights reserved.
Chebache is protected by U.S. Patent #'s 5,791,650; 6,062,562; D384,376.
Updated Tue Nov 21 00:00:09 2001; Q's & comments: