Grasshopper is a Backgammon variant invented by Matt Crispin and its most significant feature, compared to the classic Backgammon, is that there are no dice and no luck factor at all. The game strategy fully depends on player's skills.
Start position and game object
Each player starts with 14 pieces at the race position:
The object of this game is to bear a "wall" off twice in a row. It will be described at the next sections.
Movement of pieces
When a game is started, the white player places a white piece to the start quadrant marked by 1-6 numbers. The black player follows placing a black piece to an empty position of the same quadrant.
After the first move is performed, players have a choice of either entering more pieces onto vacant points in the 1-6 quadrant or moving a piece that is already on the board.
A move consists of taking a single piece from any quadrant (except the last one - 19-24) and placing it on a vacant point in the next quadrant. For example, you can take a piece from 3 and place it on any empty point in 7-12 quadrant.
A wall consists of two pieces of the same color residing on the same point. You may build a wall when you have two pieces exactly six points apart by moving the farther-back piece on top of the forward one. The following picture shows how a white wall can be built (before and after the move):
Once a wall is built, no single piece of either color may move across the wall. However, the top piece of a wall has particular freedom denied to single pieces - it may jump as many walls as there are in its way, provided that beyond them there is either a vacant point to land on or a single piece of the same color six points away on which to build a wall. The next picture shows a situation where a white piece on 2 point cannot be moved because the 7 point is occupied and the white wall on 8 point blocks all other target positions, but the white piece on the 8 point can move to any point of the 13-18 quadrant because it is a top piece of a wall, so it can jump over other walls in the way:
If a player cannot make a legal move because of walls blocking the way and no vacant points available to place a piece, the player must pass the move and the opponent continues, just like in the classic Backgammon.
How to finish the game
Once a piece reaches the final quadrant 19-24, it cannot move any further until a second piece of the same color joins it to form a wall. Then the whole wall can be borne off in one turn. The following picture shows a white wall being borne off (before and after the move):
Bearing off a wall scores a point. And if the player who last scored a point scores again, he wins the game. BrainKing highlights the score of the player who last scored a point, so it's easy to recognize which player needs the next point to win. Play this game