Learn how to play backgammon - a game created 5000 years ago! www.GameOnFamily.com teaches you the basic backgammon rules. Game on!

How to Play Backgammon

Backgammon is one of the most popular classic board games of all time. It falls in the same league as chess and checkers, and requires a specific backgammon strategy to play this game correctly. You will need to keep a keen eye out for the other player’s moves as well as your own in order to win it.

According to Wikipedia, the backgammon game originated about 5000 years ago, making the oldest two-player board game! It can be taken back to Ancient Greece where emperors played this game in their spare time. It has also been found in Ancient Egyptian documents, as well as Persian history.

If you haven’t played backgammon before, there is no need for you to stress! By following these simple backgammon rules, you’ll be able to play it before the season is over – just in time for the holidays!

Backgammon Requirements

This is a two-player game, so you will need a friend to play with you. You will also need a backgammon set which will include the backgammon board as well as the backgammon pieces and the dice.

How to Play Backgammon

  1. Before you start playing, familiarize yourself with the board first:
    • the board consists out of 4 quarters – each player will be in charge of two quarters: the home quarter and the outer quarter. The home and outer quarters will be separated by what is called a ‘bar.
    • each quarter will have 6 triangles; this is where you will move you backgammon pieces as you play the game.
    • these triangles are marked from 1 to 24 going from the bottom left, to the top of the board, and to right.
  2. Each player will get 30 backgammon pieces and place them on the table as follows: two pieces on each player’s 24 point, 5 on each player’s 13 point, 3 on each player’s 8 point, and 5 on each player’s 6 point.
  3. Decide who goes first by rolling the dice – whoever gets the highest score will go first.
  4. Players will then take turns to move their pieces along the board. The goal is for you to bring all you pieces back to your ‘home’ quarter. To do this you roll the dice and simply move the amount of spaces your dice is showing to you. If you roll a 2 and a 5, you may move one piece 7 places, or 2 pieces 2 and 5 places, respectively.
  5. One player will move in an anticlockwise direction and the other in a clockwise direction. For a move to be allowed, its destination may not have more than one of the opponent’s pieces on it.
  6. A point with only 1 checker on it is called a ‘blot’, and players may move blots to the bar by landing on them – this is called a hit. The player may not play further until his checkers are back in the game again. In order to do that, the player must roll a value that is the same as a point in their opponent’s home board where there is only one checker on.
  7. Once all your checkers are at ‘home’, you will start bearing off, where your checkers are removed from the board. This is done by throwing a value that is the same to the point value on your home board. If you throw 5, you may remove a checker from the 5 point.
  8. If there are no checkers on the point that was thrown, you will need to remove a checker from the highest point closest to that number.
  9. If an opponent ‘hits’ your checkers before you have finished taking them off, you will need to put it back into play and move it along the board again before removing the checkers in your home quarter.
  10. Once all your checkers have been removed from home, you have won the game.

Backgammon Video Tutorial