How to Play Backgammon - An Overview

Backgammon has close similarities to poker. Although you can learn how to play Backgammon, and Poker, both are games of skill where the luck also plays a role and consequently allows for players to win or lose significant amounts of money.

Backgammon is a two player game. The Game is played on a board featuring triangles that alternate in colour. The 24 triangles are named points and are grouped in four quadrants with six triangles in each quadrant.

The quadrants are called player ones home board, and outer board and player twos home board and outer board. A ridge running down the centre of the board called the bar separates the home and outer sections.

Each of the points has a numeric value for each player beginning in the player’s home board. The furthest point is the 24 point; this is also player two’s single point. Fifteen checkers of each colour are allocated to the players. These checkers are arranged with 2 on each players 24 point, 5 on the players 13 point, 3 on the 8 point, and 5 on the 6 point.

A pair of dice is also given to each player with a dice cup used for shaking the dice. The current stake of the game is tracked using a doubling cube, this has the numerals two, four, eight, sixteen, thirty two and sixty four on its faces.

"Quick Backgammon Tip

Always remember that the Doubling Cube is a key component of Backgammon, and you can redouble. If your opponent doubles you to two, then when it is your turn to roll you can redouble to four."

The Object of Backgammon

The object of the Backgammon game is to move the checkers into the home board, once the checkers are on the home board they can be removed, this is called bearing off. The player who is first to bear off all of the checkers allocated to them will win the game.

Starting The Game

Each player throws a single die in order to commence the game. The number thrown is used to decide which player will go first and the numbers that will be played. In the case of equal numbers, then the players will need to repeat the roll until separate values are shown. The player who throws the highest value will now move their checkers in accordance with the numbers displayed on the dice. Once this first roll is complete then the players will take alternate turns and throw two dice.

If a player rolls a three and a four he must move one checker three spaces and a further checker 4 spaces, although both moves may be made with a single checker if preferred. Doubles require a player to move his checkers twice - for example two sixes requires players to make four distinct moves of six spaces. The objective is to move all the checkers around the board in a U shape into the last quadrant as it applies to each player, at which point they may "bear off", taking them off the board by rolling the number that takes them to one space off the board.

Checkers are moved from high numbers to low numbers and can only be moved to an empty point or to one already occupied by that player's checkers. If a single checker in on any point it may be "hit" by the opposing player, taking it off the board - this means it has to be moved to the bar and is then re-entered in the opposing player's home quadrant with the next roll. However any point with two or more checkers is classified as "safe".

Your key starting objectives are twofold, firstly to get your checkers back to safety on your side of the board, and secondly to try and prevent your opponent from doing the same by closing key points to contain him.

Bear Off

If a player rolls a three and a four he must move one checker three spaces and a further checker 4 spaces, although both moves may be made with a single checker if preferred.

Doubles require a player to move his checkers twice. For example two sixes requires players to make four distinct moves of six spaces.

The objective is to move all the checkers around the board in a U shape into the last quadrant as it applies to each player, at which point they may "bear off", taking them off the board by rolling the number that takes them to one space off the board.

Hitting a Checker

Checkers are moved from high numbers to low numbers and can only be moved to an empty point or to one already occupied by that player's checkers.

If a single checker in on any point it may be "hit" by the opposing player, taking it off the board - this means it has to be moved to the bar and is then re-entered in the opposing player's home quadrant with the next roll. However any point with two or more checkers is classified as "safe".

Key Starting Objectives

Your key starting objectives are twofold. Firstly, to get your checkers back to safety on your side of the board, and secondly, to try and prevent your opponent from doing the same by closing key points to contain him.