The object of a backgammon game is to remove all your pieces from the board before your opponent manages to do the same. There are several strategies both to prevent the opponent from reaching the stage known as ‘bearing off’ and to enable yourself to ‘bear off’ quickly and easily. The object of the game remains the same in all settings, online or off, including backgammon matches, backgammon tournaments, and friendly backgammon games played at home.
There are 15 checkers of each color (a checker is a backgammon piece). You should also have four dice, two cups, and a doubling cube. The color of the dice usually matches the color of the checkers. Each player selects a color.
To describe the points on the backgammon board, it is common to use a numbering system. Each of the points is represented by a number; the first point in your home board is point # 1, and the last point, counting in a clockwise direction, is # 24 in your opponent’s home board.
Set up your checkers as follows;
Two checkers on point # 24
Five checkers on point # 13
Three checkers on point # 8
Five checkers on point # 6
Your opponent sets up his checkers in a mirror image of yours.
Starting a backgammon game is relatively easy, once you’ve set up the board.
In addition to the checkers on the board, each player has two dice. The two dice for each player are generally the same color as the checkers. Most professional or semi-professional players also have a dice cup in which to shake their dice.
To start a backgammon game, each player takes one of the dice, shakes it around in the dice cup, and rolls it out to the correct side of the backgammon board.
If both dice are the same, then the doubling cube is moved over to 2, and each player rolls a single die again. The doubling cube may be increased several times this way, but it is fairly uncommon.
When the two players have rolled different numbers, the player whose die shows the higher number gets to go first, using the two dice that appear on the board. The player does not re-roll in standard backgammon, although in some backgammon variants, the player with the higher die does re-roll with two dice of the same color.
Once the first player has completed the move, he removes his die from the board, signaling the opponent to remove his own, and signaling the end of his turn.
After the first turn, each player rolls two dice of the same color on the right side of the board. Since players sit across from each other, this gives each player his own half of the board.
Players take turn throughout the game, rolling the dice and moving their pieces.