How to play Backgammon?

Backgammon is considered to be extremely similar to poker. Both are considered to be skill based games that are also dependant on probability and chance at the same time. Backgammon is essentially a two player game that is played on a game board that features triangles in alternating color. There are 24 triangles in total. These triangles are known as points and they are grouped into four quadrants with a total of 6 triangles in each quadrant. The quadrants are known as the home board and outer board for player 1 and player 2. A ridge that runs down the center of the board is called a bar. It separates the home board from the outer sections.

Each point has a numeric value beginning from the home board of the player. The furthest point from the home board has the value of 24. Each player is allocated with 15 checkers of the same color and they are arranged in the following order – 2 checkers on each player’s 24 point, 5 on the 6 point, 3 on the 8 point and 5 on the 13 point. Other items offered to players include a pair of dice and a dice cup. The game is tracked with the help of doubling cubes. The doubling cube is considered to be one of the main components of Backgammon and players can redouble as well.

Backgammon board

The Object of the game

The main object of the game is to move all the checkers into the home board. Once the checkers are moved into the home board, they can be removed from the board by a process known as bearing off. The first player to remove all of his checkers from the board wins.

Starting Backgammon

Each player throws a single dice in order to start the game. The one with the higher number goes first. The players now move the checkers according to the numbers that are shown on the dice. After this, players throw the dice alternatively in order to move their checkers. When a player hits a 4 and a 5 on his dice, he must move one checker 4 spaces and another checker 5 spaces. Both moves can also be made by a single checker. Doubles require the players to move the checkers twice. Therefore, if a player gets two 6s on the dice, he needs to make four moves of 6 spaces. Players must remember that checkers can only be moved into an empty point or into a point that is occupied by another player’s checkers.

Key Objectives in Backgammon

Players are faced with two key objectives while playing backgammon – to get their checkers into the safety of their home board and to prevent the opponent from doing so by closing down key points.

Hitting a checker

All checkers must be moved from high numbers to low numbers. They can only be moved to an empty point or to a point that is occupied the player’s checkers. A player may remove his opponent’s checker from the board by “hitting” it. Therefore, the checker that is taken off must be re-entered from the opponent’s home quadrant and moved all over again. However, any point that has two or more checkers is considered as safe. The opponent cannot “hit” checkers from safe points.