Backgammon - Help



Backgammon is a two-player game played on a board with twenty-four narrow triangles known as points. These triangles are grouped into four quadrants, each containing six alternating-colored points. These quadrants are the player's home board and outer board, as well as the opponent's home board and outer board. The home and outer boards are separated by a central ridge called the bar.

Backgammon Board Setup

Setting up the Board: Prior to starting the game, arrange the board and checkers as depicted in the provided image. This configuration is commonly referred to as the Starting Position in Backgammon.

Figure 1. Initial checkers' arrangement on the board. An alternative setup has the home board on the left and the outer board on the right. The points are numbered according to each player's starting position in their home board. The outermost point is the twenty-four point, which also serves as the opponent's one point. Each player starts with fifteen checkers of their color.

  • The checkers are placed on the backgammon board as follows:
    • Two checkers are placed on the 24-point.
    • Five checkers are placed on the 13-point.
    • Three checkers are placed on the 8-point.
    • Five checkers are placed on the 6-point.

Both players have their dice and a dice cup for rolling. The game uses a doubling cube to track the stake's current value.

Object of the Game

The goal is to move all checkers into your home board and bear them off. The first player to bear off all their checkers wins.

Backgammon checkers movement direction

Figure 2. Direction of movement of Orange's checkers. Black's checkers move in the opposite direction.

Movement of the Checkers

At the start, each player rolls a die to determine the first player and the initial numbers to play. Higher roll moves first and uses both dice. After the first roll, players take turns throwing two dice. Dice rolls indicate how many points, or pips, a checker can move. Checkers move forward to lower-numbered points.

  • Rules for movement in backgammon:
    • A checker can move to an open point, not occupied by two or more opposing checkers.
    • The two dice numbers are separate moves. For example, a roll of 5 and 3 can move one checker five spaces and another three spaces, or a single checker eight spaces if the intermediate point is open.
    • Doubles allow playing the shown numbers twice. A roll of 6 and 6 provides four sixes for moving checkers.
    • A player must use both dice numbers if possible. When only one is possible, it must be used. If neither can be used, the turn is lost. In doubles, as many numbers as possible must be played.

Hitting and Entering

A single checker on a point is a blot. If an opposing checker lands on a blot, it's hit and placed on the bar. Players with checkers on the bar must enter them into the opponent's home board. A roll determines the entry point. If both entry points are blocked, the turn is forfeited.

Bearing Off

Once all checkers are in the home board, they can be borne off by rolling the corresponding number for each point. If no checker is on that point, a higher point's checker can be moved.

Doubling Cube

Backgammon is played for an agreed stake per point. Players can double the stakes during their turn before rolling. The opponent can accept or refuse. Subsequent doubles increase the stake.

Gammons and Backgammons

At the end of the game, if the loser hasn't borne off any checkers, they're gammoned and lose twice the stake. If a loser hasn't borne off any checkers and still has checkers in the winner's home board or on the bar, they're backgammoned and lose three times the stake.

Optional Rules

  1. Automatic Doubles: Identical first roll doubles the stakes.
  2. Beavers: Doubled player can immediately redouble.
  3. The Jacoby Rule: Gammons and backgammons count as one if no doubles were offered.


  1. Dice must land on the right section of the board.
  2. An incomplete or illegal move can be accepted or rectified.
  3. Rolling before opponent finishes the turn voids the roll.
Updated at