Backgammon is usually a game for two players, but almost any number can play the game when you play Chouette. Chouette is a social way to play backgammon that pits one player against a team of two or more players. The team of players is allowed to kibitz and discuss their possible moves in an effort to dethrone the lone player on the other side. Chouette can be played on MSN Games, but there is no provision for special scoring or multiple aliases to be entered as a single team. This information will need to be kept track of separately.
Rules of the Game
Chouette matches one person, said to be "in the box," against a team of two or more players on the other side. The team is composed of a "captain" and players ranked sequentially after the captain. This ranking allows players to rise through the ranks to eventually become captain, or proceed into the box to play against all the others. While all players on the team can discuss moves, the captain has the final say.
If the player in the box wins, the captain is demoted to the lowest-numbered rank and all other players on the team move up a rank. If the captain wins, he or she goes into the box, the previous person in the box is demoted to the lowest rank, and all the other players move up one rank with one becoming the captain.
OK, so that's team play, right? Big whoop. Ahhh, but there is one more interesting rule. If the player in the box offers a double, EACH player on the opposing team must accept or refuse the double. Those refusing the double are out of the game and may not kibitz during the course of play for the rest of that game. That rule includes the current captain, who is demoted to the lowest rank on the team. If a team player accepting the double wins, that person goes into the box, and the player previously in the box joins the opposing team as the lowest-ranked member. If a team player accepting the double loses, their rank on the team does not change, except to move up in response to the captain's demotion.
Backgammon on MSN Games has been designed for two players, and the scoring reflects that. But you can still keep score for a chouette as long as you do so through the chat window. This requires a bit of figuring on one's own, but since chouette scoring can be exciting, it's worth the effort.
The player in the box plays against EACH of the players on the opposing team, scoring or losing points to each player. Thus, if the player in the box loses to a four-player opposing team, the player in the box is down four points and his opponents are each up by one point. On the other hand, if the player in the box wins, the player is up four points and each opponent is down by a point. With players switching between the box and the team, and with all the doubling possibilities, the game can get pretty wild.
There are other rules possible in a chouette. Settlements can be negotiated, and in some versions, the player in the box can rule against certain settlements decided upon by the opposing team, or the captain can "buy out" his team members in an effort to gain more points. Sometimes, the player in the box is allowed to negate these types of contracts. If you want to play a chouette with some of these optional elements, it should be spelled out and agreed upon beforehand in the chat window.
Whether you play straight chouette rules, or agree on various negotiation options ahead of time, you'll find chouette to be a fascinating, fun, and social way to play the world's cruelest game: backgammon.