The rules for basic backgammon play are quite simple.

Checkers are distributed on the board in a number of places called points. The two players take turns throwing the dice. Based upon the number of pips shown on the dice, the players move their checkers in opposite directions in order to bring all of their checkers to their “home board,” which is the bottom right hand section of the board in an online game.

Since backgammon players play opposite each other, when the game is played live, the home board is at the bottom left for one player and the bottom right for the other. Once all of the checkers are in the home board, players “bear off,” taking their pieces off of the board one by one. The first player to completely bear off all of his pieces wins.

Setting Up the Backgammon Board

Each player has fifteen checkers. Two are placed on the first point of the opponent’s home board, called point one. Five checkers are placed at point twelve. Three checkers are placed at point seventeen, and the final five are placed at point nineteen, which is in the player’s home board.

Rules For Moving

For each die rolled, one checker can be moved the number of pips shown on that die. This means that if you roll 6-2, one checker may be moved six points, and one checker may be moved two points. This can be the same checker, provided that both moves are legal moves, meaning that instead of moving two checkers, you can move one checker eight points.

However, if the checker cannot land at the point six or two points away, that checker cannot be played in that manner. If both dice show the same number, the roll is doubled, meaning that it should be considered as if four dice of that number were rolled. For example, if you roll 2-2 in backgammon, you can move four different pieces two spaces each.

Where Can I Land?

In backgammon the player may land on any point where there are fewer than two of your opponent’s checkers. If you cannot move any checker to such a position, you forfeit your turn. If you land on a point where your opponent has a single checker, his checker is placed on the bar, and he cannot move any other piece until he brings that piece back in, starting back at space number one.


When playing for points, a doubling cube is used. This cube bears the numbers 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64. At the beginning of each turn, players may offer the cube. Offering the cube means asking your opponent to double the bet. If the opponent refuses, they forfeit the game. If the opponent agrees, the game value doubles. It is also possible to play a single game with the doubling cube in play.

Gammon and Backgammon

If a player completes their bearing off before the opponent has removed a single checker from the board, the value of the game is doubled, and it is called a gammon. If the player completes their bearing off while the opponent still has a piece on the bar on in their home board, it is called a backgammon, and the game value is tripled.

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