How to Play Backgammon Video for Beginners

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How to Play Backgammon

What is a Backgammon Game?

The word “Backgammon” is derived from “Back” and “Gamen” which means “Game or Play”. It is one of the world’s oldest known board games. The history of this game can be traced back to Roman Empire. The objective of the game is to be the first to “bear off” means to move all the fifteen checkers out of board before the opponent does the same.

Backgammon is a game which involves both strategy and luck.Though the game is simple, yet it involves amazing and complicated strategy like Chess. This article will help you to learn how to play Backgammon game, game rules, game tricks and strategies and tips to win. 

How to play a Backgammon game?

Before you begin the game, you should be aware of the requirements of this game.

It is a two player game. The board consists of twenty four triangles or boxes also called points or pips. Here, each player has fifteen pieces, also called Checkers or Men, that moves between the points on board according to the roll of two dice.

The triangles are divided into four quadrants of six triangles each and are alternate in color. The four quadrants are the player’s home board and outer board, and the opponent’s home board and outer board. The home boards and outer boards are separated by a divider in the middle called the Bar. The points are numbered, starting with 24 in the opponent’s home board and end with 1 in the player’s own home board.The players move their checkers in the opposite direction following a horseshoe path.

Steps to know before you begin the game.

  1. Understand the Backgammon Board
  2. Set Up the board
  3. Roll a die to determine who starts first
  4. Understand the movement of checkers
  5. Hitting and entering
  6. Understand Double & Redouble.

Let’s start the game now!!

Here you’ll learn how to play a backgammon game. The game starts with each player rolling a single dice. The player with the higher number on dice moves first using both numbers rolled. If both players roll the same number on dice, the dice are rolled again until they roll different numbers.

Once you have rolled the dice (e.g number rolled was 2 & 5). The player with dice roll numbered 5 is allowed to move checker. Each checker can be moved one dice number move (2 or 5) or one checker can move both dice numbered moves combined (2
+5=7). It can also be  understood as to move 2 checkers one 2 points and another 5 points or move one checker 7 points over. One checker can also be moved twice.

The dice must always be rolled together by the players. The dice must touch down flat on the right hand side of the game board. The dice is required to be rolled again If it falls outside or on a checker.

Basic rules related to moving of Checkers on Board:

  • The number on the dice roll determines how many points the player is supposed to move its checker. The checker always moves forward in the horseshoe path towards the player’s home board.
  • The two dice constitute two separate movements. For example, if a player rolls dice and the number comes as 3 and  5, the player may move one checker 5 points to an open point and another checker 3 points to an open point.
  • A point that is not occupied by two or more opposing checkers is an open point.
  • The player also has the option to choose whether to move the same checker twice, as long as each move is on to an open point.
  • Double” is a special move in the basic backgammon game. This special move is allowed If a player rolls doubles means the same number on both dice (e.g 4 & 4).  The player is allowed to do the same move twice over. It gives the player the freedom to move one checker 4 points four times, or four checkers to move 4 points one time. Two back to back doubles are termed as Redouble.
  • If a player rolls dice and the number appears as  4 & 3 and the next 3 and 4 points are occupied by the opponent’s checkers and when combined the 7th point is free, in this case the player is not allowed to move its checkers neither 3 or 4 points nor combined 7 points as these are blocked by the opponent’s checker. The player’s turn is over with no move being made.
  • A player must move both numbers on rolled dice if possible and four numbers if a double is rolled.
  • If only one open point is available the player must play that number.
  • The larger number must be played, if both cannot be played due to the absence of open point.
  • The player will lose turn, if neither number can be played. 
  • In case of a double , if a player cannot play all four numbers the player must play as many numbers as possible.
  • An open point having one opposing checker is termed as blot. The opposing checker that lends on blot and the blot has been hit the checker is placed on the bar (Middle Line on board).
  • When a player has one or more checkers on the bar, the checkers are supposed to be re-entered first onto the opponent’s home board. A checker enters into the opponent’s home board by the number that appeared while  rolling two dice. The number of points the checker is supposed to be moved is determined by the number on the rolled dice.
  • While moving your checkers , if a player touches an opponent’s triangle, the checker cannot land on it if the opponent’s checkers have two or more checkers on it.
  • For a better understanding of how to play a backgammon game  you can refer to this video. (Video Link)

Winning strategies for beginners in Backgammon Game:

Here are a few strategies and tips for beginners to win this game. The dream of winning the backgammon game can be accomplished with the right strategy.

The most common strategy used is known as ‘hitting’. This strategy intends to prevent the opponent by delaying their checker moves. It is done  When one player’s checker lands on the opponent’s triangle and the opponent only has one checker. The checker can be hit by the player and can take their checker onto the ‘bar’. 

It is recommended that one always try not to leave any checkers alone so as to avoid hitting one’s own checkers.

Re-entering is when one checker is on the bar. You cannot move anymore checkers until one of the triangles is unoccupied. If this happens then you lose a turn. One should always keep one thing in mind that you have a clear space (triangle) in the first quadrant to be ready for the setback or re entry  as soon as possible.

At last, to become the official winner of the game you must have all 15 checkers on the opposite side. You have to try your best to get your checkers off the board before your opponent does the same, to win the game.Once you do, You will successfully win, once all your checkers go off the board.

The game ends, if a person has bear off all fifteen of the checkers and the opponent has bear off at least one checker. The person is declared as the winner of the Backgammon game.