Published on April 12th, 2012 | by Nikolay
Basic Backgammon Rules
Backgammon is actually quite a complicated game that has both an element of strategy and skill. In order to understand the most basic skills and principles, players need to fully understand what the game is, what equipment is required, the purpose of different items on the board, specific terminology and how checkers could be moved around the board. Below you will find the most basic strategy to get yourself started off.
Be aware that these rules are used in all Backgammon games, although if you are playing Backgammon on the internet, specific rules like how to move Backgammon checkers may not be as important to understand because auto-play options enable the Backgammon software to finish some movements on the instead of the player. This way players are not allowed to make moves that are impossible or incorrect. This is one of the reasons why playing online Backgammon is a great way to begin.
What Is Backgammon?
Backgammon is played by two players. Each of them has 15 checkers and must move them around the board. The goal is to get all of your checkers off the board to win. The main strategy and excitement of the game comes from blocking and hitting opponents checkers so that they are unable to move them and thus unable to win!
The Backgammon Board
The Backgammon board consists of 24 points that look like narrow triangles. The triangles are grouped into 4 quadrants of 6 triangles each and they are switching between in colors.
Starting A Game Of Backgammon
Decide Who Starts First
In order to begin, players must roll the dice; the person who has the higher number is the first to go. Compared with other games where the roll strictly decides who starts in the game, in Backgammon, whatever are the numbers on the dices are used by the player for their first move.
Playing The Numbers On The Dice
Players are unable to pass on a their turn in a game of Backgammon, they must always play it. A player is forced to always play both numbers on a roll whenever possible, even if it’s not a great strategic move. If it’s only possible to play one number of the number, then this has to be the larger one.
Moving The Checkers On The Board
There are certain rules about how the checkers can be moved. No checker can be moved to a position that has two or more opponent’s checkers, and each numbers on each dice is for a separate moves. (i.e you can not play 6 and 4 as a 10 combined. The 6 is one move and then the 4 is the second move)
Getting To The Home Board
A player must get their checkers to the home board, and then must do what is known as bearing off. This means to remove checkers from the board completely by rolling a number on the dice that matches to the point number where the checker is on the board. This part of the game is not strategic, and has more luck involved. Getting to the home board and blocking an opponent from doing the same requires skill. The home board of each player is on the opposite side, diagonal from where they started and there are 6 points where they need to get their checkers to.
The Doubling Cube
When playing face-to-face or at an online Backgammon site players often place bets and use what’s known as a doubling cube. It’s a large die with the numbers 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 and 64 on each of the sides. It’s used to keep track of the stakes set for the game. A player has the option before each of their turns to raise the stakes (doubling them), however the other player can refuse. 64 is considered the basic stakes with no doubling or changes. Players can double and redouble the stakes basically as much as they want during a game, although not 2 turns in a row!
As you learn all the rules of Backgammon, expect there to be some trial and error, you won’t get it all right away, but overtime you will master the basic rules and then become ready to learn the more in-depth rules and strategies. Take advantage of the tutorials and Backgammon schools offered by many online Backgammon sites to help you along the way!
Read the follow-up Advanced Backgammon Rules