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Acey-Deucey Part 2

Needless to say, it was not only officers that got hooked on the game nor was it only during off-duty time that seafarers got the fever to “roll the bones” – many a sailor loved to escape for an extended lunchtime session of Acey-Deucey using something like this line that a former sailor reminisced about in an online forum, “Chief, I’m going to the Squadron to check on (fill in the blank) and I’ll be back after lunch.”

Back in 1930, after Time magazine had just published an article about Backgammon, Louis J. Glaser, a former WW1 sailor wrote a Letter to the Editor in which he said that Acey-Deucey was played on “the deck, below decks, in the engine room, the dynamo room and in the turrets and handling rooms.”

Glaser also remarked he never saw sailors play Acey-Deucey for money, but that they did for poker and craps and that a “lot of money” changed hands around payday. He also noted that Marines would get into the poker and craps action but did not seem to mix when it came to backgammon. Glaser added that Acey-Deucey was distinctly a Navy game because he never saw the game, or heard of it, during 21 months he also served in the Army.

So how do sailors handle the motion on the ocean? Those checkers must slide everywhere when the seas are rough. Well, the Lingo section of the Blue Ridge Navy Journal remarks that the cognoscenti knew Acey-Deucey as ace-deuce and defines it as:

Backgammon game as played by sailors. The basic difference is that the game starts with no pieces on the board, and the dice are thrown in a dice chute screwed down to the playing table, as is the board. The board, of course, has a wooden lip around to prevent the pieces from sliding onto the deck when the ship rolls. It’s considered unsporting to use any subtle strategy in “ace-deuce,” a tradition perhaps stemming from the pieces’ disinclination to stay in place…”

Click here to learn how to play American Acey Deucey
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