Backgammon rules title

OBJECTIVE:  The objective of the game is to be the first to move all of your checker pieces to the other side of the board and bare them off.


MATERIALS: Backgammon Board, Checkers, Dice, Cups

TYPE OF GAME: Strategy Board Game

AUDIENCE: Ages 6 – Adults


The Backgammon game usually comes in an easily transportable case resembling a small suitcase. The lining of the suitcase serves as the game board and the inside contents include 30 checker pieces, 2 sets of dice, and 2 shakers.


There are 24 triangles on the board known as points. The checkers are color-coded, 15 of one color and 15 of another. Each player will set their board according to the diagram below. Two pieces will go on the 24th point, five on the 13th point, three on the 8th point, and five on the 6th point. This is the starting setup of the game, and players will strive to move all their pieces to their home board and then successfully bare all their pieces off the board. A strong strategy is to try and hit as many of your opponent’s unprotected playing pieces, known as “blots”, along the way.

Backgammon rules board;_Checkers_(2003).pdf


To start both players will roll one die, the player that rolled the higher die goes first. Usually, you will roll two dice but since each player rolled one die each, the player with the higher roll will move first based on the die that they rolled and the die the opponent rolled. From there, players alternate turns accordingly.

Moving your pieces

You are always moving your pieces towards your home board. The checkers can only move the number of rolled spaces to an open point, meaning that the point is NOT occupied by TWO or more of your opponent’s pieces. If the point has only ONE of your opponent’s pieces, you are encouraged to move your checker there in order to” hit” your opponent. More on this under the section titled “Hitting a piece”.

Backgammon gameplay board

After rolling your dice, you have two choices as to how you move your checkers. You can move one checker the equivalent of the first die and a second checker the equivalent of a second die, or you can move one checker the equivalent of both die added together, but you can only do the latter if the count of the first die moves the checker to an open point. You can stack as many of your personal checkers on any one point.


If you roll doubles you get to move double the amount. For example, if a player rolled double 2’s they would get to move a total of four 2’s in any format they would like. So essentially instead of moving 2 pieces 2 space each you get to move 4 pieces 2 spaces each. You must move the full count of the roll, if possible. If you cannot move you lose your turn.

Hitting a piece

If you can land on a point that has only ONE of your opponents pieces, known as a “blot”, then you can hit your opponent and move their piece to the bar. The bar is the middle crease of the board, where it folds in half. You can hit more than one of your opponents pieces in a turn. Now the opponent with checkers on the bar cannot make any other move until their pieces are off of the bar. They must re-enter the board on their opponent’s home board.

When re-entering the game from the bar, you can use your whole turn. Meaning, if you roll a 3-4 you can re-enter on the 3 or 4 point and then move your checker according to the remaining die, as you would on a normal turn. You can hit an opponents piece on the home board or the outer board.

Bearing off

All 15 piece must be on the home board before you can begin bearing off. To bear off you roll the dice and remove the associated checkers. For example if you roll a 6 & 5 you can remove one checker from the 6 point and one from the 5 point.

Now, if you roll a die that is higher than where your checker is on the board, i.e. you roll a 6 but highest checker is on point 5, you can remove a checker from the highest point, so from the 5th point. The dice has to be higher than the highest point in order to do this. Meaning if the lowest point your checker is on is the 3rd point and you roll a 2 you cannot remove a checker from the 3, however you can move a checker on the home board just as you would on a normal move.


The player that successfully removes all of their checkers from the home board first wins the game! If you are able to remove all 15 of your checkers before your opponent as borne off any of theirs then it is considered a gammon and the win is worth two points as opposed to one.

If you are able to bear off all 15 of your checkers before your opponent has the chance to bear any of theirs, and your opponent still has a checker on your home board then the win is considered a backgammon and is worth 3 points!

The Doubling Cube

These days, most backgammon sets come with a doubling cube. This cube is mostly used in competitions and not an essential component of the game, however, it does add an element of excitement on any level. The cube is used to double the stakes of the game and is marked with the numbers 2,4,8,16,32 and 64.

If you decided to play with the doubling cube, you will start the game off at one point. If at some point in the game one of the opponents feels they have an advantage to win, they can pull out the doubling cube and double the points of the game from one to two. The opposing player can either accept the challenge by picking up the cube and placing it on their side of the board, or they can concede the game right then and there and choose to lose one point instead of two.

If the opponent accepts the challenge the player that accepted now has the option to double the game once again if the tide turns in their favorite raising the stakes from two points to four. Now the opposing opponent can accept or concede and if they conceded they give up two points as opposed to one.


What does a Backgammon board look like?

A backgammon board is made up of four quadrants of six triangles each. The triangles alternate in color. The four quadrants are the opponent’s home board and outer board and your home board and outer board. The home boards are separated from the outboards by the bar.

How do you win a game of Backgammon?

The first player to bear off, AKA remove, all 15 of thier checkers wins the game.

Can you lose your turn in Backgammon?

When a player rolls the dice, if a number can be played, the player must must play it. If a player is incapable of playing any numbers rolled this is when a player loses his turn.

What happens when you roll the same number on your dice?

If you roll a double on the dice it double your amount of movement. For example, if you rolled double 5’s you would get to move 4 checkers 5 spaces.

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13 thoughts on “BACKGAMMON RULES”

    • Hey Lucky!

      Would love to answer your question but can you be a bit more specific in what you mean by, “mistake in the way he plays his dice”.

  1. I have a question; Player A has all of his men in his home. what is left is 3 on6 and2 on 5.
    Player B still has his original 2 men in line 1 in player A’s home. Player A has a dice throw of 6&5.
    A takes off a 5. QUESTION ? Can A take off his 6 when ihe is blocked from going 6?

    • Hey Marty,

      Not sure I understand your questions completely but hopefully this answer helps. In this version of Backgammon, you can always move pieces off a space as long as the space where you’re moving the piece is clear or has only one of your opponent’s pieces on it. A piece cannot be moved to a space if two or more of your opponent’s pieces are in that space.

    • Hi Andrew, I am not sure what you are referring to, could you be a bit more specific so I could fix the issue?

    • Hi, Anthony thank you for pointing out that error. There is not a 6 side on the doubling die and it has been corrected to reflects so in the rules. thank you again and sorry for any confusion!

  2. question about bearing off:
    If a player gets their fifteenth checker into their home portion of the board in the first half of a roll do they get to use the second half of their roll to bear off a checker or are they required to wait until their next turn to begin bearing off?

  3. He took off a cube from the 5 spot because moving 5 places from the 5 spot puts him in his home base; therefore, moving a cube 6 places from the 6 spot will also put him in his home base. Hope that helps.

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