How to Play

Illustration of how to set up a backgammon board before playing

1. Setup

Each player has 15 checkers; place on board as seen to the right

2. Rules

  • Objective: Bring your checkers home faster than your opponent
  • One player moves checkers clockwise while the other moves counter- clockwise. Players alternate turns rolling and moving checkers
  • Checker movement is determined by the roll of your 2 dice
  • In no circumstances is a player allowed to move a checker backward

3. Ready, Set, Go!

  • The game begins with each player rolling one die
  • The player with the higher number rolls both dice first
  • The numbers on the 2 dice constitute separate moves. For example, if a player rolls a 5 and a 3, he may move one checker 5 spaces to an open point and another checker 3 spaces, or he may move the one checker a total of 8 spaces, but only if the intermediate point (either 3 or 5 spaces from the starting point) is also open

Checker Movement

  • A player may have as many checkers as he wants on a point;
  • If a player rolls a double, he must play 4 times;
  • A checker can land or pass freely on a point with no other checker on it;
  • It is not possible for a checker to land on a point already occupied by 2 or more opponent checkers;
  • A lone checker is called a "blot" and can be hit by his opponent;
  • If there is a way to play a roll, it must be done even at the disadvantage of the player

Getting Hit

  • When a checker is hit, it is put "on the bar" (center line) and will have to start back on its opponent's inner board;
  • A player cannot move any other checkers when he has one on the bar;
  • To re-enter in his opponent's inner board, a player must roll a number not covered by 2 or more of his opponent checkers;
  • One of the main strategies is to close all the points in your inner board and hit an opponent's blot in order to keep him off the game;
  • Once all of your checkers are inside your inner board, the last part of the game begins. This part consists of taking all of your checkers off the board and moving them into the "home base" as quickly as possible