I was shocked to find that the Shesh Besh game is not described anywhere on the Web, or in the rec.games.backgammon FAQ. Shesh-Besh is the most popular game in all Middle East countries. It seems to be of Turkish origin.
It is almost identical to backgammon, but without the doubling cube, and with some additional small differences. These differences are worth pointing out because they make it a bit hard for us Middle Easterners to play on-line, or use backgammon software (like gnubg).
Oh, life is hard for us anyway 🙂 Here are the differences between Shesh Besh and backgammon, as far as I know:
1) There is no doubling cube. It is not even sold with Shesh-Besh boards!
2) As in backgammon, each game you win counts as 1 point, and gammons (Mars) as 2 points.
3) Winning backgammon counts as 3 points. However, winning a 3-point backgammon in Shesh-Besh is harder than in backgammon. It means that the opponent hasn’t taken off any piece while you’ve taken off all of yours, but also has at least one piece on the bar. This happens rarely and is even rarer that the usual backgammon in backgammon. This is called Turkish Mars.
4) The following difference applies only to physical games, not to computer renditions: There is only one set of dice, and it doesn’t matter where they are rolled, as long as they land flat on the board.
Other than that, it’s identical to backgammon. Either money games or matches (up to X points) are played, and they are played everywhere!