Backgammon Basics       Help

Backgammon board has 24 triangles (called "points") and has two 'home' zones - one for White and one for Black. The goal in backgammon is to move all the checkers into own home zone and then bear them off (i.e. remove them from the board). The first player who removes all of his checkers wins the game.

  • Backgammon board has 30 checkers - 15 for Black and 15 for White
  • As in the picture above, White by default moves counterclockwise toward its goal as indicated by the arrow. The Black moves in the opposite direction.

    Dice Rolls & Moves

  • Each player rolls a pair of dice before each move. The rolls of these two dice determine the number of points that a player's checkers can move. For example, on a roll of four and two, one checker can be moved four points, while another checker can be moved two points (provided that the points are not occupied by two or more of the opponent's checkers). It also legal to move a single checker by the total number shown on the two dice, however, two separate moves should be made according to the numbers shown on each dice.

  • Both exact numbers of a roll should be played (or all four numbers of a double - see below) if legally permissible. If only one number can be played, the player must play that number. When either number can be played but not both, the higher number must be played, and if neither number can be played, the player will lose his turn.

  • If both dice are equal (called "doubles") the player gets four moves with the number shown on a die. When doubles appear, if the player can not use all four numbers, he must play as many numbers as he can.

  • To move a checker, a player would typically select it and then select its destination point. It's also possible to drag a checker to its destination point.

    Blots and the Bar

    A "blot" is a point occupied by a single checker. If the opponent's checker lands on a blot, the blot is considered "hit" and is placed on the "bar" in the middle of the board.

    A player who has one or more checkers on the bar must "enter" all of them into the opponent's home board before moving any checkers on the board. A checker is entered according to the number of the rolled dice, provided that point is not occupied by two or more of the opponent's checkers.

    If a player has a checker on the bar and neither of the points is open, he loses his turn. If some checkers on the bar can be entered but not all of them, the player must enter as many as he can, then forfeit the remainder of his turn.

    When the player enters the last checker, he can play the unused numbers on the dice by moving either the entered checker or a different one.

    More on Moving Checkers

    A checker can be moved to a point if that point is empty, or if it only has one opponent's checker, or it has the player's own checkers. If a player's checker is moved to a point occupied by one of opponent's checkers, that opponent's checker is hit and put on the bar. The numbers of the dice require two separate moves. If a player rolls 6 and 1, he can move one checker by 6 points and another by 1 point. Alternatively, he may move the same checker by 7 points if the 7th point is available. A player must use both numbers of a roll or all four numbers of a double if possible. If only one number can be played then the player must play it. If either of the numbers can be played individually but not both numbers together then he has to play the higher number.

    Bearing Off

    Once a player has moved all of his fifteen checkers into his home board, he may commence to bear them off (i.e. removing them from the board). A player must have all his checkers in his home board in order to bear off. If a checker is "hit" during the bear-off process, the player must bring that checker back to his home board before continuing to bear off. A player bears off a checker by rolling a number that corresponds to the point on which the checker resides, and then removing that checker from the board. Thus, rolling a 6 permits the player to remove a checker from the six point.

    If there is no checker on the point indicated by the roll, the player must make a legal move using a checker on a higher-numbered point. If there are no checkers on higher-numbered points, the player is required to remove a checker from the highest point on which one of his checkers resides. A player is under no obligation to bear off if he can make an otherwise legal move. The first player to bear off all fifteen checkers will be declared the winner.

    Gammon and Backgammon

    If a player bears off all 15 of his checkers before an opponent has borne off a single checker, such player will win a gammon, or double game.

    If a player bears off all 15 of his checkers before his opponent has borne off a single checker, and he still has one or more checkers in his home board or on the bar, such player will win a backgammon, or a triple game.

    Taking Back a Move

    You can use the button with left pointing arrow on top of the board to 'undo' single or multiple moves.