A pip is a spot on the dice. If you roll a
five you can advance your man five points;
if you roll a two you can advance him just
two points. Therefore, all being equal, the
player needing to throw fewer pips before
bearing off will be the winner.
Experience will enable the proficient
player to assess his own count against that
of his opponent relatively quickly. However,
in order to determine the precise count he
will start by counting his men in his own
inner board. He will count one for a man on
his one point, two for a man on his two
point, and so on up until sis on his six
point. A man on his bar point has a count of
seven; a man on the opposition's twelve
point has a count of thirteen.
It then becomes a little more difficult,
but the simplest way to proceed is to add 13
to any number from the opposition's twelve
point, and 20 to any number from the
opposition's five point. Thus, if you have
one man positioned on the opposition's five
point and another on the opposition's eleven
point, your count is 33.
When you set your board up at the
beginning of a game, your count is 167. This
is calculated in the following way: the five
men on your six point count 30; the three
men on your eight point count 24; the five
men on your opposition's twelve point count
65; and the two men on the opposition's one
point count 48.
Early on in a game, the easiest way to
determine your standing relative to that of
your opponent is simply to count the net
difference. For example, both of you might
still have five men each on your home six
point. Your opponent, however, has thrown
'lovers' leap' (65) and has advanced one
man from your own one point to the twelve
point; you have only managed to advance one
man from his twelve point to your ten point
by throwing a 3. He is thus eight points (or
approximately one throw) ahead of you. If
the same kind of thing happens in the next
two or three throws you will have to adopt a
different strategy.
