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We try: Bridget

Bridget is a simple but devilish game of strategy that the whole family will love, and it’s easy to get fiercely competitive! A version of the Swiss game ‘Caminos’, it has been remade as a luxury board game by Et games, the pieces carved by skilled craftspeople in India. Although you can tell it was developed by an engineer, it’s not impossible for us mere mortals to play! It’s all about being one step ahead, and learning to outmaneuvre your opponent.

It comes in understated but classic packaging; everything is held in a small canvas bag. It contains a board (in four puzzle pieces), wooden playing pieces, and minimalist instructions.

To start with, you have to put the board together (I’m ashamed to admit I found this harder than the game itself!) One side makes a square board for beginners, and the other is diagonal, for more advanced players.

One player begins by placing a piece of their colour on a square, and the other player tries to stop them from forming a ‘bridge’ from one side of the board to the other.

It’s trickier than it sounds!  The only way I can think of to describe it is that it is kind of like noughts and crosses in 3D – but on a different level. It’s a real brain workout, requiring quick thinking and a cool head. The challenge is that you have to pre-empt the opposite player’s moves in order to block their attempts, while concentrating on your own. You start off with lots of different shaped pieces, and the real difficulty starts when you run out of one shape. You’re not allowed to play any piece with ‘blank space’ underneath it, so all of them they must fit together snugly.

The whole set looks great, and really high quality. The wooden pieces are glossy and tactile, and the finished game looks completely different each time you play.

Once you’ve had a few practice rounds, you can try the ways listed in the instructions to make it more challenging- so you can rest assured that it’ll never get too easy!

VERDICT: Bridget is a really fun, challenging game which won’t get boring, as it’s different every time. I guarantee it will go down well if you find an opponent after Christmas dinner!

the rules of backgammon

What are the rules of backgammon?

Said to be the oldest game around today, Backgammon relies on strategy and a touch of luck. Counters, or ‘stones’, are placed on points of a board and the aim is to bear off by moving around the board and off before your opponent does so.

How many players can play Backgammon?

Backgammon is a game for two players, played on a board made up of twenty-four narrow triangles called points. Each player has 15 stones, and distributes them on the points shown in the diagram.

The triangles alternate in colour and are grouped into four quadrants of six triangles each. Each player has a home board and an outer board. These sections are separated from each other by a ridge down the middle of the board, called the bar.

How do you set up a Backgammon board?

The points are numbered for either player starting in that player’s home board. The outermost point is the twenty-four point, which is also the opponent’s one point. Each player has fifteen stones of their own colour. The board is initially set out as follows: two on each player’s twenty-four point, five on each player’s thirteen point, three on each player’s eight point, and five on each player’s six point.

Both players have their own pair of dice and their own cup, used for shaking. A doubling cube, with the numerals 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and 64 on its faces, is used to keep track of the current stake of the game.

To win, you must be the first player to move all your stones into your own home board and then bear them off.

How to start

To start the game, each player throws a single die. If equal numbers come up, both players must roll again until they get different numbers. The player throwing the higher number now moves his stones according to the numbers showing on both dice. From then on, the players throw two dice and alternate turns.

Rolling the dice indicates how many points, or pips, the player is to move his stones. Stones are always moved forward, to a lower-numbered point. The following rules apply:

  1. A stone may be moved only to an open point, which is not occupied by two or more opposing stones.
  2. The numbers on the two dice constitute separate moves. For example, if a player rolls 4 and 2, they could move one stone five spaces to an open point and another stone three spaces to an open point, or they could move the one stone a total of eight spaces to an open point, but only if the intermediate point (either three or five spaces from the starting point) is also open.
  3. A player who rolls doubles plays the numbers shown on the dice twice. A roll of 1 and 1 means that the player has four ones to use, and they may move any combination of stones he feels appropriate to complete this requirement.
  4. A player must use both numbers of a roll if this is legally possible (or all four numbers of a double). When only one number can be played, the player must play that number. Or if either number can be played but not both, the player must play the larger one. When neither number can be used, the player loses their turn. In the case of doubles, when all four numbers cannot be played, the player must play as many numbers as he can.

A point occupied by a single stone of either colour is called a blot. If an opposing stone lands on a blot, the blot is hit and placed on the bar.

If a player has one or more stones on the bar, they must enter those stone(s) into the opposing home board. A stone is entered by moving it to an open point corresponding to one of the numbers on the rolled dice.

For example, if a player rolls 4 and 6, they may enter a stone onto either the opponent’s four point or six point, so long as the prospective point is not occupied by two or more of the opponent’s stones.

What happens if all points to land on are taken?

If neither of the points is available, the player loses their turn. If a player is able to enter some but not all of his stones, they must enter as many as they can and then forfeit the remainder of his turn.

After all of a player’s stones has been entered, any unused numbers on the dice must be played, by moving either the stone that was entered or a different stone.

Bearing off

Once a player has moved all of his fifteen stones into their home board, they can start bearing off. A player bears off a stone by rolling a number that corresponds to the point on which the stone resides, and then removing that stone from the board. Thus, rolling a 5 permits the player to remove a stone from the five point.

If there is no stone on the point indicated by the roll, the player must make a legal move using a stone on a higher-numbered point. If there are no stones on higher-numbered points, the player must remove a stone from the highest point on which one of his stones resides. A player does not have to bear off if they can make an otherwise legal move.

Can you continue to bear off even after being taken?

A player must have all of their active stones in their home board in order to bear off. If a stone is hit during the bear-off process, the player must bring that stone back to their home board before continuing to bear off. The first player to bear off all fifteen stones wins the game.

Doubling to stakes and scoring

Backgammon is played for an agreed stake per point. Each game starts at one point. During the course of the game, if a player feels they have a sufficient advantage, they can propose doubling the stakes. They may do this only at the start of his own turn and before he has rolled the dice.

If a player who is offered double refuses, they concede the game and pay one point. Otherwise, they must accept the double and play on for the new higher stakes. A player who accepts a double becomes the owner of the cube and only they may make the next double.

Is there a limit to redoubles in Backgammon?

Subsequent doubles in the same game are called redoubles. If a player refuses a redouble, they must pay the number of points that were at stake prior to the redouble. Otherwise, they become the new owner of the cube and the game continues at twice the previous stakes. There is no limit to the number of redoubles in a game.

At the end of the game, if the losing player has borne off at least one stone, he loses only the value showing on the doubling cube (one point, if there have been no doubles). However, if the loser has not borne off any of his stones, he is gammoned and loses twice the value of the doubling cube. Or, worse, if the loser has not borne off any of his stones and still has a stone on the bar or in the winner’s home board, he is backgammoned and loses three times the value of the doubling cube.

The optional rules of Backgammon

  1. Automatic doubles. If identical numbers are thrown on the first roll, the stakes are doubled. The doubling cube is turned to 2 and remains in the middle. Players usually agree to limit the number of automatic doubles to one per game.
  2. Beavers. When a player is doubled, he may immediately redouble (beaver) while retaining possession of the cube. The original doubler has the option of accepting or refusing as with a normal double.
  3. The Jacoby Rule. Gammons and backgammons count only as a single game if neither player has offered a double during the course of the game. This rule speeds up play by eliminating situations where a player avoids doubling so he can play on for a gammon.
  4. The dice must be rolled together and land flat on the surface of the right-hand section of the board. The player must reroll both dice if a die lands outside the right-hand board, or lands on a stone, or does not land flat.
  5. A turn is completed when the player picks up his dice. If the play is incomplete or otherwise illegal, the opponent has the option of accepting the play as made or of requiring the player to make a legal play. A play is deemed to have been accepted as made when the opponent rolls his dice or offers a double to start his own turn.
  6. If a player rolls before his opponent has completed his turn by picking up the dice, the player’s roll is voided. This rule is generally waived any time a play is forced or when there is no further contact between the opposing forces.

Pucker up – it’s time for Pucket!

From the wine valleys of Southern France to England’s greenest hills, David Harvey and Ben Lewis brought us Pucket! And with it hours and hours of fun, a traditional French board game adapted  for the modern UK market.

How did Pucket drop into our shores?

David Harvey and Ben Lewis were discovering the wonders of the southern French countryside, and on their travels they came across an idyllic small town. In this town were two Frenchmen, and these two Frenchmen were playing a game. The game they were playing was ‘Passe-Trappe’. More about this in a minute.

Now if you have every visited the Med, you will see grown men get quite excited about their board games. It’s not that unusual to find them playing the likes of chess and backgammon in the middle of a narrow and busy cobbled footpath. And its not only them that get excited – apparently it is a wonder to see, as family and friends crowd around the game in a show of support and anticipation of the final result!

This is precisely how David and Ben spotted the Frenchmen in this picturesque town playing a round of Passe-Trappe.

Having returned to the shores of England, this experience captivated them forever, so much so that they had a cunning plan. The cunning plan was to see the birth of Pucket.

How does Pucket work?

Since refining and adapting the game for the UK market, the game has become an absolute classic in our living rooms and the perfect game for the whole family. When played, it moves at a rate of knots, tapping into the competitive spirit within all of those who have sat round the table to have a go at playing it.

The boards are made from wood and carved with precision. Each board is divided into 2 sides, best enjoyed by 2 players. The board contains 2 elastic ends, pucks and 2 tension pegs to allow for extra tension on the elastics for more firepower.

In the middle of the board there is small hole to allow the puck’s clear passage to the other side. The aim is for the player to clear all of the pucks they start with to the other side, getting through the hole in the middle before the other player. The elastics are used to springboard the pucks with thrust to the other side. First one to clear all their pucks wins.

What did I enjoy the most about Pucket?

During our last office Christmas party, we had the choice of sifting through the usual office drinking games, but for the first time we actually wanted to plan our team event around something different, and spend some quality time team-bonding. We opened the Pucket game for the first time, set it up and gave it a fling!

It was thoroughly enjoyable, more exciting apparently for the spectators than the players. The competition was ferocious and decibel levels in the office were cranked up a notch.

One recommendation, from experience – have a third person as the referee just to keep the excitement levels under control!

Puck, puck to ‘buck the trend’

We absolutely love this game of Pucket – so simple yet so exhilarating. Hours of fun with your family, friends and close ones. If you are looking for inspiration for gifts, whether it is birthdays, Christmas or just wanting to spend some good ole’ fashioned time not stuck in front of a computer or tablet, then Pucket is the game for you.

Welcome to Regal & Barnes!

When we launched Regal & Barnes, we set out to offer something different. We have really enjoyed gathering a collection of unique and special products to entertain and delight all the family. Our games offer a touch of luxury, whilst being fun for all the family. Whether you’re shopping for an occasion, a special gift, or just for the everyday, you will find something to suit all ages at Regal & Barnes.

All our products are handpicked for their quality and craftsmanship, and have a striking level of detail that you don’t see very often these days. There’s a distinctively British feel to our games, and many are handmade in the UK by specialist craftspeople. Our luxury chess sets are pieces of art in themselves. We have a huge selection of wooden chess, draughts and backgammon boards, and mix-and-match pieces to personalise your set.

Whether you’re looking for something traditional, or more modern, something simple or mind-bending, we will be able to help you out. We have games of strategy, old and new. We also have an expanding range of physical games. Our Weykick magnetised football games will keep the kids entertained for hours and our gorgeous playing cards are just the thing to get out after dinner.

We’re also in the process of designing and manufacturing our own range, starting with a luxury backgammon set. These can be personalised with a silkscreen message – perfect for commemorating a special occasion. Keep your eyes peeled for our new offerings in the next few months.

It’s not just our games we want to be the best. We pride ourselves on our customer service too. If you want some advice on our products, you can’t quite get your head around the instructions, or you’ve accidentally ordered to the wrong address, we are only ever a phone call away!

We want to change the perception of games as being disposable, and our cards, boards and dice that will be cherished for decades to come. Our shop is full of colourful, creative products, that you won’t find on the shelves. These are games designed to be handed down through the generations.

Happy browsing!