Strategy changes:

Originally published several years ago, this is still very valid advice for any newcomers. It is accurate enough to stand as is. Partially for historical reasons and partially to show that there was enough thought put into this change that we got it right immediately. This is not just another variant.

Since this is a new game I’m sure there are lots and lots of new things to consider. It is might be more fun to discover them for yourself as well. But I will still list a few things worth looking out for (regardless of how you intent to solve the new situations).

It is now much harder to make your home board points. Those high rolls really make life difficult. Slotting might be needed a lot more to successfully make your home board.

Blitzes fail a lot more often (partially because it’s much harder to get your home done properly). People sometimes also escape the last guy all the way into “safety” (past your midpoint).

Primes help but are not game killers as much as before. This can be seen as a good or bad thing. In backgammon primes are considered a crucial tool, in my opinion mostly a boring one, occasionally becoming fun when both players are primed or almost primed and just wait for the lucky escape roll (and who has the balls or brains to cube). In Eskgammon primes will never hinder gameplay (a closed board is a blitz result, not a prime). Properly placed blocks can force your opponent into really haywire decisions though, which is much more fun. Or depressing when it was the one roll that let him escape.

Connecting your men (having points or blots spaced max 6 points apart) now seems less important, but don’t quote me on this ten years from now.

Having men on your high points (like 11) is important for coming in properly, both for pip waste purposes (rolling 8-1 standing on your 8 point won’t get you home this turn) as well as for jumping over holding points (if you are too close high rolls won’t let you jump over with both men).

Making points becomes a lot more fun. As an example, an opening 9-4 is an easy case, you will see other new possibilities soon. In fact, most opening rolls are revitalized.

Odds and probability tables some people have in the heads become obsolete (at least for a while). This is nice for people that like casual play and not a fight to the death.

The luck factor seems to go up as you now have a chance for some really low chance events.  As it seems harder to make your own home points and as it’s also harder to come off the bar those lucky small doubles getting more men out really swing things at times. This should suit casual players better.  More fun (and/or more cursing).

Better play(ers) will still prevail.

Thing is, no one is a master yet. And unlike other variants that almost always end up like normal backgammon as they just use more dice or different starting positions… Eskgammon is never normal backgammon until you have beared off.