Here we find a brief description of the actual playing of the game Backgammon and some moves you may encounter on your trip around the backgammon board.
After the starting player has been determined by rolling of the dice play begins with that player. Players then alternate turns as the game progresses by rolling two dice together at the start of their turn. Each player moves their checkers one at a time, matching the number on each of the dice, in their direction of play. As mentioned in Step I, the direction will be opposite to that of your opponent, moving towards their number 1 point. Checkers must always move if it is possible and turns cannot be skipped. Checkers can move onto a point that is unoccupied, occupied by your own checkers, or occupied by exactly one opposing checker.
When a player lands on a single opponent’s checker it gets moved to the ‘bar’ in the centre of the board. If any of your checkers are on the bar at the start of your turn they must be moved before you can proceed with regular play. Checkers on the bar must re-enter the game through the opponent’s home board area.
A number must be rolled which corresponds to an available point in this area to get off of the bar. It may work out that the numbers rolled won’t allow the checkers to be moved from the bar into spaces which are occupied by 2 or more of the opponent’s checkers. In this case, play switches back to your opponent.
Bearing off can take place once all your checkers are in the opponent’s home board area. A roll of 1 is used to bear off from the 1-point, a 2 from the 2-point and so on. Higher numbers can be used to bear off checkers in the lower numbers if they are the only ones left.
Players can propose to double the stakes of the game by clicking the ‘Doubling Cube’ at the start of their turn before the dice are rolled. You can refuse a double proposed by your opponent and concede the game or accept the double and continue playing. Alternatively, you can propose to redouble the stakes at this point. Any player that accepts a double or redouble will then own the doubling cube and you cannot propose a double when your opponent owns the doubling cube.
Winning a “Gammon” and a “Backgammon”:
Bearing off all fifteen checkers before your opponent bears off any will win you a gammon. This is worth double the value of a regular win displayed on the Doubling Cube. To win a backgammon you need to bear off all fifteen checkers before your opponent bears off any and still has any checkers on the bar or on your home board. A backgammon is worth triple the value of a regular win displayed on the Doubling Cube.
Strategies and tactics:
There are many different strategies you can adopt to win at backgammon and a game might require you to change strategies half way through. Sometimes it’s best to simply move your checkers around the board as quickly as possible and attempting to avoid getting sent to the bar. Alternatively, it might be best to hold your opponent back as much as possible by blocking their checkers from advancing. The more you play and learn the game the more your personal strategies will develop.