Tavla - Help


Experience the allure of Tavla, the Turkish rendition of the timeless game of backgammon. Similar yet distinct from its Western counterpart, Tavla brings its own set of rules and intricacies that promise an engaging and strategic gaming experience. For a detailed comparison of the differences, refer to the end of this page. Notably, this game is referred to as Takhteh in Iran.

Setup and Movement

Tavla Setup

The setup and movement mechanics in Tavla closely mirror those of regular backgammon. Each player commences with two checkers on the opponent's one-point, five checkers on the opponent's twelve-point, three checkers on their own eight-point, and five checkers on their own six-point.


Engage in a thrilling pursuit to move all your checkers into your own home board and successfully bear them off. Victory awaits the player who skillfully accomplishes this feat first.


To kick off the game, each player rolls a die, with the higher roll taking the first turn. The player then rolls the dice again to initiate their initial move. Subsequent to the first game, the winner of the prior match claims the coveted first move.


The roll of the dice dictates the number of points (pips) a player can move their checkers. Abide by the following movement rules:

  • A checker can only be moved to an unoccupied point, one devoid of two or more opposing checkers.
  • The numbers on the dice represent separate moves. For instance, if a player rolls a 5 and a 3, they can move one checker five spaces to an unoccupied point and another checker three spaces to another unoccupied point. Alternatively, the player can move a single checker a total of eight spaces to an open point, but only if the intermediate point (either three or five spaces from the starting point) is unoccupied.
  • Doubles are executed twice, allowing the player to make use of all four numbers. For example, a roll of 6-6 provides four sixes to employ.
  • When possible, both dice numbers must be utilized in a move, or all four numbers in the case of doubles.

Hitting and Entering

  • A lone checker on a point is referred to as a blot. Should an opposing checker land on a blot, it is "hit" and placed on the bar.
  • Players cannot immediately "run for cover" after hitting an opposing blot within their home board. If opting to hit within the home board, the hitting checker must either be covered by another of the player's checkers or left exposed.
  • When checkers are on the bar, the priority is to enter them into the opposing home board. This is achieved by moving a checker to an unoccupied point corresponding to a rolled dice number. If not all checkers can be entered, as many as possible must be entered before relinquishing the remainder of the turn.

Bearing Off and Scoring

  • After successfully moving all fifteen checkers into the home board, players can initiate bearing off. Rolling a number corresponding to the point where a checker resides permits its removal from the board.
  • In instances where no checker occupies the point indicated by the roll, players must make a legal move using a checker on a higher-numbered point. If higher-numbered points lack checkers, removal is allowed from the highest point with a checker.
  • Optimal strategy dictates avoiding unnecessary "waste pips" during bearoff. Players should prioritize bearing off a checker wherever possible, rather than using a smaller number to advance a checker.

Tavla Bear Off Example

The bearing off process in Tavla, showcasing strategic decisions in action.

Rule Distinctions from Backgammon

Several rule differences set Tavla apart from traditional backgammon:

  • The winner of the opening roll, rolls again for their first turn.
  • The concept of "hit-and-run" in the player's home board does apply.
  • You may not unnecessarily waste pips during bearoff.
  • Scoring varies, with the winner earning one point for a standard win and two points for a gammon. There is no backgammon.
  • The doubling cube is absent from the game.

Experience the allure of Tavla, where Turkish traditions merge with strategic gameplay. Embark on a journey where each move holds the potential for victory, and strategic finesse leads the path to triumph.

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