We carried these several years ago.
More were recently received from the Danish dice factory. Unlike a typical Doubling Cube used for Backgammon, these 8-Sided versions start with a 1 and go up to 128.
Take a look at the current number of doubling dice.
What is a “Doubling Cube”?
Although called a “cube”, these dice can be any shape with sides that start with the number 1or 2 and then the other sides are in multiples of 2 from the lowest numbered side (such as 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, etc. or 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, etc.). The doubling cube can be added to any game where multiple games are being played, like speed chess, cribbage, checkers, etc.
Graphic from Chessex displaying the first few colors that made it over.
What is its purpose and how is it used?
Doubling cubes are mainly used in Backgammon but can be used to speed up any game where multiple games are played if there are stakes or game points involved, such as a tournament score. The idea is that the winning side wants to get a sure win, rather than risk losing by playing on.
We are going old school! It comes in Speckled Mars.
A game starts with the Doubling Cube in a neutral position and set at the 1 (if the die has a 1 side). As the game is played, if one of the players decides it is to their advantage to increase the value of that game, they can “offer the doubling cube” to their opponent to make the game worth twice as much. The opponent has the choice of either “dropping the double” and resigning that game at the value of the cube (in this case 1), or “accepting the cube” and the value of that game is now twice the value (or 2). At that point, the person who accepted the cube now “owns the cube” and is the only person who can use it for doubling purposes. If the game turns around and they start to win, they may decide to use the cube to redouble their opponent. In this case, they are offering the doubling of the value of that one game from 2 to 4 times the original value. In this case, their opponent has the choice to either drop the double at 2 or accept the double and now they own the cube and the value of the game is now 4 times the original value. There is no limit to the number of times a game can be doubled and redoubled but it infrequently goes beyond 4.
Did you say Laz?
The obvious question is if one player is losing, why would they accept a double?
The reason is in the mathematics of chances to win a game. The skill in backgammon is determining the chances in when to accept and when to double the cube. Without gammon, backgammon, or match point considerations, if you have a 25% chance of winning that game or better, it is mathematically correct to accept the cube. Here is why. If you played 4 games and had a 25% chance of winning when you were doubled and dropped each time, then you would lose 4 “points”, if you accepted the cube in these four games, you would lose 3 and win 1. In the 3 games you lost, you would lose 6 points (3 games at a value of 2) but win one at 2 points. For those 4 games, you would lose 4 points, or the same amount if you dropped all of those four doubles. This is the “break even” percentage. However, if you would lose only 2 of 3 of those games, then it would be better to accept the cube because dropping the cube means that you would lose 3 points. Accepting the cube would mean you would lose 2 games at twice the value, or 4 points, and win one at twice the value for a gain of 2 points. So over those 3 games, you lost only 2 points which is less than if you would have dropped all three doubles and lost 3 points. Of course, for those who play backgammon a lot there is much more to consider with gammons, backgammons, and the match score, but all this adds a lot of skill to playing the game. Also, use of the doubling cube cuts down on time wasted playing out near hopeless endgame positions.
Half-Red and Half-Black
Since doubling cubes are common in backgammon this might be a good chance to discuss...
What is Backgammon?
Backgammon is a two-player board game that involves strategy and luck. It is played on a board with 24 triangular spaces called points, which are divided into four quadrants of six points each. Each player has 15 game pieces called checkers, which are moved around the board according to the roll of two dice.
The objective of backgammon is to move all of your checkers off the board before your opponent does the same. Players take turns rolling the dice and moving their checkers around the board, with the direction of movement being opposite for the two players.
There are certain rules that govern how the checkers can be moved, such as the requirement to move the checkers the full distance shown on the dice (if possible), the ability to "hit" and move an opponent's checker to a new location back on the board, and the ability to form "blocks" that prevent the opponent from moving their checkers.
In addition to the basic rules, there are also optional rules that can be used to add complexity or variability to the game. For example, players may choose to use a doubling cube, which can increase the stakes of the game by doubling the value of the points won or lost.
Backgammon requires both strategic planning and a bit of luck with the roll of the dice, making it a challenging and entertaining board game with a long history of play.
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Thanks for reading!