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Sugoroku

Sugoroku (双六) is the Japanese form of backgammon.

I could not find an English-language description of the rules of this game, so maybe this is the first-ever list of the rules of sugoroku in English on the Internet.

If I made a mistake, or left out something important, please excuse me. I am working from a downloaded sugoroku game.

Sugoroku plays identically to backgammon (it even has the same starting position), except for the following two differences:

  1. Doubles are not special. Even if you roll doubles, each die still only counts once.
  2. There is no "bearing off". The goal is to move all of your men to within the last six spaces of the board.

History

The game is thought to have been intoduced from China (where it was known as Shuang-lu) into Japan in the sixth century. It is known that in the centuries following the game's introduction into Japan it was made illegal several times, most prominently in 689 and 754. Although this variant of the backgammon family has died out in most other countries, it is still popular in Japan, partially due to a boost caused by the inclusion of a free Sugoroko board with the first issue of the newspaper Kingu (in 1925) which sold 740,000 copies.

Sources

  • Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Vol. 1, No. 3/4. (November 1936), p. 434.
  • Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 43, No. 4. (Winter, 1988), pp. 468.

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