How to Play Backgammon: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

Backgammon is a classic board game that has been enjoyed by players of all ages and skill levels for centuries. In this guide, we will take you through the basic rules, strategies, and tips to help you master the art of playing backgammon. So grab your dice and let’s get started!

The Objective

In backgammon, the objective is simple – be the first player to bear off all your checkers from the board. Each player starts with 15 checkers placed on specific points on the board.

Setting Up

To set up a game of backgammon, both players need to sit opposite each other with their own color of checkers. The board consists of 24 triangles called points that alternate in color.
– Each player places two checkers on their 24th point
– Five more checkers go on their 13th point
– Three more are placed on their 8th point
– Finally, five remaining ones are put on their 6th point


The setup may vary depending on different variations or preferences; however, this is one common arrangement.

The Movement

Players take turns rolling two dice and moving their checkers accordingly.
– The numbers rolled on each die represent separate moves.
– A player can choose either to move two different pieces or use a single checker twice (counting both dice).
– Moves must be made in an open direction – towards higher-numbered points.

Hitting Your Opponent’s Checker:

If a player lands exactly onto an opponent’s blot (a single exposed checker), it gets hit and sent to the bar at the center of the board. The hit checker must then re-enter the game before the player can make any other moves.

Bearing Off

Once a player has moved all their checkers to their home board (the last six points), they can start bearing them off.
– To bear off, you need to roll a number that matches an available point with one or more of your checkers.
– If no exact match is possible, you must move a checker from the highest occupied point on your home board.

Winning The Game:

The first player to bear off all their checkers wins the game. However, if your opponent hasn’t borne off any pieces and still has at least one on your home board or bar, then they may hit and block your progress.

Strategy Tips

Opening Moves:

When starting a backgammon game, aim for balanced distribution of checkers across points in order to maintain flexibility in later stages. Avoid moving single checkers unless necessary.

The Doubling Cube:

In some variations of backgammon, there is a doubling cube that allows players to increase the stakes during gameplay. Learn when and how to use it strategically without risking disadvantageous outcomes.

The Running Game vs. The Holding Game:

Backgammon strategies often involve choosing between playing aggressively (running game) or defensively (holding game). Knowing which approach suits different situations is key to improving your chances of winning.

In Conclusion

Now that you have learned the basics of playing backgammon – from setting up the board to understanding movement rules and strategic tips – it’s time for you to grab a friend or play online against opponents from around the world! Remember, practice makes perfect; so keep honing your skills and enjoy this timeless game full of excitement and strategy!