How to Play Backgammon? Moves And Rules Complete Guide!

Backgammon is nearly 5,000 years old, having evolved from ancient games such as Rome’s Ludus Duodecim Scriptorum. Because of its widespread appeal has become the national sport of eight nations, including Egypt, Turkey, and Greece.

The balance of chance and strategy makes Backgammon appealing (and worthy of international competitions). It’s also relatively simple to learn and can vary in complexity depending on who you’re playing with; thus, finding the ideal backgammon opponent can be a fun endeavor in and of itself.

How to Play Backgammon

Backgammon is a two-person game in which each player controls 15 pieces, referred to as “men” or “checkers,” one black and one white—the player who removes their details from the board first wins.

A board comprises 24 arrow-shaped spaces with alternating rows of colors. Each quadrant has six spaces, or “points.” The white checkers’ home board is on a player’s right, whereas the black checkers’ home board is on a player’s left. White checkers can only move counterclockwise, while black checkers can only move clockwise.

How to Play Backgammon

Each player attempts to move their 15 pieces around the board until they reach the edge of the home board and can remove them from play. The process of removing a component is known as “bearing off.” All of the pieces begin in the following positions:

Players remove their checkers from play by moving them to their home quadrant. The six rows in the quadrant initially occupied by their opponent’s two checkers (opposite left for player one and opposite right for player two) are in the player’s home quadrant.

Moves and Rules

Each player rolls one die to see who goes first. The first player moves several squares equal to the sum of their first two dice rolls (their own and their opponent’s).

Following that, each participant rolls their own die. Players may advance up to two pieces equal to the total of the dice roll. When moving two parts, each piece goes in the same direction as a number on a die. For example, if you roll a 2 and a 6, one element must move 2 and the other 6 (or 6 and then 2).

  • If you roll doubles, you can move that number four times.
  • You can move to a space with only one of the opponent’s checkers. Your opponent’s piece is then bumped to the middle of the board, aka “jail” (which divides the four quadrants). In order to remove the piece from jail, they have to try to get the piece into their home quadrant on their next turn.
  • To escape jail, the roll must include a die with the number of moves to a free space, following rules about blocked spaces, to return a checker to play. Otherwise, that player passes their turn.
  • You cannot move a piece to a point where your opponent has at least two checkers.
  • You cannot move the same piece twice if it would land on a blocked space at the end of a single die’s count. For example, if you roll a 3 and a 4 and both the third and fourth space are blocked, you cannot move your checker to the seventh space, even if it’s free.

Winning the Game

Once all 15 pieces are in your home quadrant, you can start rolling dice to move them off and onto the home board’s side. To bear off, you must roll at least the amount of spaces plus one.

To win, you must remove all of your pieces. We love the game, which explains the wide range of forms available, from big quilted blankets to a delicate set inspired by San Francisco’s cityscape.

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