How to play Backgammon?
Backgammon is one of the oldest two player board games. Millions of people all over the world enjoy this wonderful game. Learn to play it as well!
The game requires:
– 30 checkers. Each player has 15 checkers of one color (white or black)
– 2 dice, these are ordinary dice with points on sides (from 1 to 6)
– doubling cube: a special cube, showing the bet of the current game
– board: the game area on which the checkers are moved according to the rules.
But you do not have to buy any of this as it is all already in our game!
The board is divided in four quarters, six points in each. The quarters are called – home, yard, opponent’s home and opponent’s yard. Home and yard are separated by the bar.
Beginning of the game
To determine who plays first, both players roll one dice. If the dice are the same, roll again. The player with the highest number goes first.
Moving of checkers
You have to move the checkers until all of them are at home. Then you have to bear the checkers off the board before your opponent does. The white checkers move counter-clockwise and the black ones – clockwise.
After the roll you have to move any checker for the specific number of times equal to the number you rolled with the dice. Afterwards you should move any checker for the number of times that you rolled with the other dice.
For example, if you rolled 3 with one dice and 5 with the other, then you can move any one of your checkers three times and another one five times. You can also move one checker eight times.
When you get an identical number of pips on both dice (double), you have to make 4 moves for the amount of pips on one dice.
If you have any hit checkers on the bar, you have to make a move with them first and then with the others. If you can not make a move with the checker on the bar, then you lose a turn. In backgammon you can place as many checkers as you like on one point. You can only place your checkers on the point if it is free or is already occupied by your checkers. If the point has one opponents checker on it, you can hit this checker.
If there is more than one checker on a point, then that checker is covered. Your opponent cannot take that point. If you are unable to move any checkers using the dice just rolled, you lose a turn. By covering six consecutive points, you can block your opponents progress. This type of play could give you an advantage and help you to win the game. You must move checkers according to the dice rolled even if you do not want to do so.You cannot skip a turn or shorten a move.
How to hit and return checkers?
In backgammon it is possible to hit opponent’s checkers. You can ony hit checkers which are not covered. In order to do this you have to move your checker on a point with an opponent’s checker that is not covered. After this move the opponent’s checker counts as hit and is placed on the bar.
Hit checkers are placed on the bar and are starting their moves from the beginning of the board. White checkers have to start from the 1st point and the black ones – from 24th. This is why the objective of each player is to hit opponent’s checkers, thus increasing the amount of necessary moves for victory.
For example, if your checker was hit and you got 6-4 pips on the dice roll, then you have to move to the fourth position. The dice 6 in this case loses, since the sixth position is taken by an opponent’s checker.
Bearing checkers off
This is possible only when all of your checkers are at home. You can bear the checkers off only from points which numbers correspond to the pips on a dice roll. For example, if you get a dice roll of 5-3, you can bear off one checker from point 5 and one from point 3.
Bearing off checkers from a point which is of lesser value than pips rolled on the dice is only possible if these points have no checkers on them. For example, you get a dice roll of 6-4, but the point 6 has no checkers, then you can bear off one checker from the point 5 and one from point 4.
There is no draw in backgammon. The first player to bear off all the checkers from the board is the winner. The winner receives points which are equal to the current bet. However, if the loser has not borne off any of his checkers, he is gammoned and loses twice the value of the doubling cube. Or, worse, if the losing player has not borne off any of his checkers and still has a checker on the bar or in the winner’s home board, he is backgammoned and loses three times the value of the doubling cube.
If the doubling cube is inactive, then before rolling the dice, a player who’s turn it is can offer their opponent the choice to double the bet or concede the game. The doubling is progressive, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64. The first doubling of the match would be two times the original bet. The second doubling would be four times the original bet. After a doubling is accepted, control of the doubling cube passes over to the other player. At the start of a game, the doubling cube resets to 1.
How to play Narde?
Narde is a popular version of backgammon and is played a lot in Russia.
The uniqueness of this play style is in checker placement – along the left side of the board for every player. Checkers at their initial positions are called “head” or “home”.
You have to move all your checkers to your home board, and then bear them off from the board before your opponent. Movement of checkers is counter- clockwise for both players.
Bearing checkers off the board and determining the winner is done the same way as in backgammon.
Beginning of game
Narde starts differently from backgammon. Both players roll one dice and the player with the higher, rolls two dice to begin play.
Moving the checkers
Checkers move in the same way as backgammon but with one exception. You cannot land on, (hit), an opponent’s checker. You can only move a checker to an open position or one already occupied by you. Good play is to have your checkers on as many points as possible in order to restrict your opponents movement. If you have six consecutive positions occupied then your opponent cannot pass. This may result in your opponent being unable to move and losing a turn. This is an important part of game strategy. Important! It is forbidden to block ALL your opponents checkers. At least ONE checker has to be able to move.
You can only move one checker from the head per dice roll but there is one exception. For the FIRST dice roll, if your checker cannot move, then you can move a second checker from the head. There are only three initial moves, 6-6, 4-4, 3-3.
There is no doubling cube in Narde. Points are awarded as follows. You get +1 point for every win, +2 points for gammon (if opponent hasn’t borne off any checkers), +3 points for home gammon (if opponent has all checkers at home board but hasn’t borne any off). This rarely happens.
How to play Tavla?
Tavla is very popular in Turkey. Tavla is very similar to classic backgammon, but there are some differences, which make the game quite complicated.
Beginning of the game
On first turn both players roll a single dice. Who ever gets a higher pip count, rolls both dice again. This is a difference from backgammon. Only after the second roll the player makes a move.
Moving the checkers
Moving the checkers is done the same way as in backgammon with one exception. You can not hit an opponent’s checker in a players home and continue the move. This means that you can’t “hit and run” at home. This creates an element of danger, since your checker can be hit in this situation. It is recommended to cover this checker with another checker.
Bearing checkers off
The rule for bearing checkers off is the same as in backgammon but with one exception. You must always bear a checker off the board if the pips allow it.
For example, your checker is on the third position. You rolled 5:2. You have to bear the checker off the board, using dice 5. You can not move two positions forward. This way Tavla becomes more difficult, since you are not able to move your checker forward and cover your open checkers.
There is no doubling cube in Tavla, therefore the following method is used for calculating winning points. You get +1 point for an average win and +2 points for a gammon (if the opponent did not bear off any checkers from the board).
How to play Old English Backgammon?
This version of backgammon is very popular in Great Britain and has been the most common one played since 1970. The differences between Old English and classic backgammon are: You do not have to move checkers according to both dice. If you prefer, only move checkers using one of the dice. You cannot have more than five checkers on any one position. The doubling cube is not used. The winner gets 1 point.
How to play Nackgammon?
The main difference between Nackgammon and other versions is in the checker placement.
Two checkers from positions 6 and 13 are moved back to point 23. This change in checker placement frequently prolongs the game.
Nackgammon requires more skill compared to backgammon. The game is more focused on positions, since the checkers frequently move back.
All the other rules are the same as in backgammon.