Backgammon - War and Backgammon

No one in their right mind can compare war to a board game; the very idea that a conflict which involves the killing of innocent people on both sides of the divide is something that cannot be considered as anything other than crazy. Yet, in the very fabric of war the strategy that is used to defeat one’s enemy could well have come from a board game.

Chess uses the technique of moving piece by piece to a better position before it eventually takes out the other side, backgammon uses much of the same cerebral thought process, but backgammon has more of the fatalistic aspect of war associated with it, the element of chance, the possibility of a bad roll, could be deemed to be the equivalent of a mistake on the battlefield, which when played out on the larger battlefield map illustrates the fragility of such a plan.The Generals move their pieces or soldiers as giant checkers on a battlefield of possibility and opportunity.

It is the same with backgammon as piece by piece is moved or counter-attacked or a blockade is put up to defend a somewhat precarious position. So the basic foundations of the conflict begin to take shape. Now you can begin to see the similarities. Movement attack, and retreat to safer ground, move again, attack, place a checker in a better position ready for another charge or a strategic higher ground move, before attacking and bearing off. Is it not the same with war, only with different ordinance?

Of course the differentiator in all of this are the dice, unable to tell you precisely what is going to happen next until the action occurs, this in many ways is another element of war that is usually at the forefront of any conflict; but, eventually gives way to the action, this is called diplomacy; the dice setting the tone for the battle, in much the same way that the politicians and diplomats do.

Their objective being to get you into the best bargaining position that affords either a winner or a loser, there is no draw here, no stalemate in this game. This is a fight to the finish. Just like backgammon.

What a pity we can’t settle our wars on a board rather than a battlefield.

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