Preparing the game
Backgammon is a game played by two players. It is played on a board which has 24 thin triangles which are called points. These triangles are grouped into 4 sections which have each got 6 triangles, and the colours of the triangles typically alternate.
The 4 sections are split into the players side and the opponents side, and each side has an outer board and a home board. The home and outer boards are split by the bar in the middle of the playing board.
Fig A. This is the initial position of the pieces on a backgammon board.
Each player has 15 pieces in the above starting configuration. The aim of the game is to get all your pieces home. Each player will also have a pair of dice and a dice shaker. There is also a doubling dice in the game, which keeps track of the stakes in the game.
Object of the Game
The main objective for both players is to get all of their pieces onto their home board and then bear them off. The first player to bear off all of their pieces wins the game.
Fig B. The green arrow shows the direction of the red's movement.
Starting the Game
Each player throws 1 dice. The person with the higher number get's to go first using the 2 numbers thrown. If both are equal, then the dice are thrown again. After the first roll, subsequent rolls are with 2 dice.
The roll determines how many pips the player is allowed to move. The pieces are moved forward according to these rules:
Hitting and Entering
A point occupied by a single piece of either colour is called a blot. If an opposing piece lands on a blot, the blot is considered hit and placed on the centre bar.
Anytime a player has pieces on the bar, the first thing then must do is to enter those pieces before they can move other pieces on the board. A piece is entered by moving it to an open point on the opposing home board (starting point) based on the numbers rolled.
For example, if a player rolls and , he may enter a checker onto either the opponent's four point or six point, so long as the prospective point is not occupied by two or more of the opponent's checkers.
When a player has all of his pieces on his home board, then he can start to bear off. For each dice roll, the pieces that hit the position of the dice can be removed off the board.
If there is no piece on the point, then a normal move must be made using a higher point piece. If no move can be made, then the player is allowed to bear off the next highest point. If you cannot move then you can bear off, otherwise you must make a move first.
A player must have all their pieces on the home board to bear off. If a piece is hit by the opposition, then you must get that piece all the way round the board to the home board before you can bear off other pieces.
When playing backgammon for money, there is an agreed wager for each point. Every game starts on one point, and as the game is played, a played may feel that they have enough advantage to propose a doubling of the wager.
You can only do this at the start of your turn. The player offered the double can refuse, at which point the game is conceded and a point is paid. If they accept, the game continues at the raised wager.
Following this, the accepting player owns the doubling dice, and only he can then double the wager again. Subsequent doubles (redoubles) are treated in exactly the same way. At any point when a player refuses a double, then the payout is the current wager of the game.
When the game is concluded one of 3 situations can be applied to the losing player.
Here are some rules which are often played around the world.
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