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Backgammon Rules: How Do You Play Backgammon?

Overview

Play head to head in a game where you must move your pucks farther than your opponent

Game type: Competitive, Dice

Number of players: 2

Suggested age: 6+

Game Pieces

15x White and black flat circle playing pucks, 2 dice, game board.

Pregame Setup

Players sit across from each other. Setup the board so that the triangles are facing out from the two players. Players choose a color and take the 15 discs associated with that color.

Home base for light is in that player’s bottom right and home base for dark is in that player’s bottom left.

Players place their pucks down onto the board in the following order:

  • Starting from the bottom right side from the white players perspective
  • Black places 2 pucks on point 1 and white places 2 pucks directly across
  • White places 5 pucks on point 6 and black places 6 pucks directly across
  • White places 3 pucks on point 8 and black places 3 pucks directly across
  • Black places 5 pucks on point 12 and white places 5 pucks directly across

From that same perspective, the game flows to the left, up, and then around to the right for white. Black flows to the left, down, and then to the right. Your base is always the last 6 points on the route.

Determine who plays first.


Playing the Game

On your turn roll both the dice. You may choose to move two pucks, one for each dice, or move one puck the combination of both dice.

Your puck may only land on a point that is not occupied by 2 or more of your opponent’s pucks. Any number of matching pucks may occupy the same point.

If you roll doubles then your roll counts as twice as many dice. If you roll 4’s then you get four 4’s to move with instead of two 4’s.

You must move if you can, and you must move the farthest amount if you need to choose between two options for one move.

If you land on a single opponents puck then that puck is sent to the “bar” which is in the middle of the board. That player must now restart its long journey at the beginning point in their opponents base.

Once you have all of your pieces on your home points, the last 6 points on your route, then you may start bearing them off.

When you roll, and your pucks are all inside of your last 6 points on the route, your home board, then you need to roll the number of the point they are on to bear them off the board. If they are on point 6, for example, then you can bear off a single puck from the 6 point. If you roll a 5 and have no pucks on 5, then you must move a puck from 6 up to 1.

If your roll is higher than the highest point you need to bear off then you may take 1 puck from the next highest point and bear it off instead.

If a puck is taken out of your base by an opponent then it must return from the bar, all the way around the track, and then back into the home base before you can bear off any more pucks.

Winning the Game

Bear off all 15 of your pucks before your opponent to win.

Dice/Consistency Notes

When you roll the dice the dice are counted as individual moves. They are two separate moves that can be combined into one. If you roll doubles then you can move up to 4 pucks even while bearing off. Any available moves that can be done, must be done, and if only one move can be done with two available moves, then the farthest possible move must be taken.

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