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The Rules of Backgammon
How Many Players?
Backgammon is a game for 2 players with 15 checkers (pieces) per player and two dice. A doubling cube bearing the numbers 2,4,6,16,32 and 64 is used to keep track of the stakes.
The Board
The board consists of 24 narrow triangles called "points", which are alternate in colour and grouped into 4 quadrants of 6 triangles each.
The quadrants are named the player's home board and outer board, and the opponent's home board and outer board. The home and outer boards are seperated from each other by a line down the middle called the "bar".
These points are numbered for each player, starting in the players home board. The outermost point is the 24 point for one player, and also the opponents one point and so on.



Starting Positions
The starting positions of the checkers on the board are the same every time you play backgammon. The board shown right shows exactly how the checkers should be laid out.
Backgammon Starting Board Position
Object of the Game

The object of the game is for a player to move all of their checkers into their own home board and then remove from the board. The first player to remove all their checkers wins.

How you move

Each player throws a single die and the player with the higher number goes first. That player then throws both dice and moves according to the number on the dice. The checkers always move forward and can only move to a certain point if one of the following conditions are met:
  • The point is empty
  • The point is occupied by the players own checkers
  • The point is occupied by a single checker from his opponent

The number on the dice count for different moves. For example if a player throws a 5 and a 2 they can move one checker 5 and another 2, or they could choose to ad the scores together and move one checker 7. When only one move is possible the player must make that move. If either number can be played but not both then the higher number has to be played. Of the player rolls identical numbers (called a doublet) he can move up to 4 checkers.


Backgammon is played for an agreed stake per point. Each game starts at one point and, during the game a player with an advantage may wish to offer to double the stakes. He can only do this at the start of his turn before rolling the dice.

A player who is offered a double may refuse and concede the game paying one point. If they accept they play on for higher stakes. Only a player accepting a double can call the next double.

The process is called "doubling". Subsequent doubles are called redoubles. If a player refuses a redouble they pay the number of points at stake before the redouble. The doubling cube is used to keep track of the stakes.

Hitting and Entering

A point occupied by a single checker is called a blot. If an opposing checker lands on a blot, the blot is "hit" and the checker is placed on the bar. Whenever a player has a checker on the bar, this has to be removed into the opposing players home board, if they cannot do this then they miss a go.

Bearing Off

Once a player has moved their 15 checkers into their home board, they begin bearing off. A player bears off by rolling a number which corresponds to the point where one of their checkers is lying. e.g rolling a four means the player can remove a checker from the four point.

A player must have all their checkers in their home board to bear off. If a checker is hit while a player is bearing off, they must bring that checker back to their home board before they continue bearing off. The first player to bear off all 15 checkers wins the game.

Gammons and Backgammons 

If a losing player has borne off at least one checker they lose the value shown on the doubling cube. If the loser hasn’t borne off any of their checkers, they’re "gammoned" and lose twice the value of the doubling cube.

If the loser hasn’t borne off any of their checkers and still has a checker on the bar or in the winners home board, they’re "backgammoned" and lose three times the value of the doubling cube.

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