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The Independent Culture
THE BOX (white) was the Prophylactic Pole (PP). The captain of the team was the Enigmatic Englishman (EE). His partner was the mercurial Quentin Quickcube (QQ). They were arguing over the play of 21.

"I think we just proceed quietly here with 21/18," said EE. "We wait until PP advances to our 3-point then hit the blot or we just make our 3-point naturally with all the builders in position."

"Poppycock," said QQ (he is much given to old-fashioned expletives). "It will be difficult to make the 3-point naturally. We must slot it now with 4/3 and then play either 21/19 or 14/12 with the 2 - probably 14/12 as it will give us 9's to cover next roll. If PP hits the slot, unless he rolls 21 or 22 we will get a shot from the bar at the blot on his 3- point. We might even win a gammon if we can close out two men. Come on EE, you must slot."

"No, I think the quiet play is best here," said EE. He promptly played 21/18 and picked up his dice. QQ continued to rage and utter strange oaths as the game continued. The team never made its 3-point and, rolling badly in the bear-off, got hit by a late PP shot and had to drop the redouble. QQ went incandescent and produced words from the OED that few had heard before.

What's more, he was justified! Analysis shows that the slot here is the quickest route to victory. In backgammon quick routes should be adopted when available - the vagaries of the dice tend to ruin many long-term game plans.