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Backgammon is one of the oldest games for two players and has been enjoyed for over 5000 years.
Play Backgammon online against the computer or versus a friend:
This free game opens as a web page. No installation. Mobile friendly.
The online Backgammon game has a low difficulty level and is suited for beginners.
↓ Scroll down for instructions.
To win at backgammon, you have to move all of your checkers into your own home board and then bear them off.
Backgammon is a game for two players. There is some luck involved (from rolling dices) but it is usually played in a series of games, and in the end the player that displays superior skill and tactics will win the series by choosing the best moves and by anticipating the opponent’s counter-moves.
The Backgammon board has 24 long triangles, called “points” (12 on each side in red/white). The points are numbered from 1 to 24.
In the illustration below, the Backgammon board is viewed from the white player’s side (your side), and the points (long triangles) are marked with their values from 1-24:
Fig.1 How to play backgammon: The backgammon board with points marked.
The objective of the game is to move your pieces (small discs often called “checkers” or “chips”) around the board in the direction of the arrows shown in the illustration below, from the 24-point triangle to the 1-point triangle, and then off the board completely (remove them). The first player to move all his/her checkers off the board, is the winner of the game.
Fig.2 How to play backgammon: The movement of your pieces.
BUT you cannot start moving your checkers off the board until ALL your checkers are in your “HOME BOARD”:
Fig.3 How to play backgammon: The home board (also called The inner board).
As shown in the illustration, the points 1 through 6 constitutes your HOME BOARD (also called “inner board”). Other parts of the board also have names: The points 7 through 12 constitutes your “outer board”, the 7-point is called “the bar point”, and the 13-point is called “the midpoint”.
Each player starts with 15 checkers placed on the Backgammon board as shown in the illustration below. As you can see, you do not start with all your white checkers placed at the 24-point triangle as you might expect. At the start of the game, all your checkers are placed in a determined pattern across the board as follows: Five on the 6-point, 3 on the 8-point, 5 on the 13-point and 2 on the-24 point. Your opponent’s pieces (Red pieces in this online game) will mirror yours, as he sits on the opposite side of the board, and the points on the triangles goes in the opposite direction for him. He will move his checkers in the opposite direction of yours, so his 24-point is the same as your 1-point triangle.
Fig.4 Backgammon setup: The starting positions
The game begins with each player rolling one dice. The player with the higher number rolled gets to use both dices for the first move.
Each checker is moved separately and can be moved to any point that is not BLOCKED:
When your opponent has two or more checkers on a point, then that point is blocked. (If the point has your own checkers, no checkers, or only one opponent checker, then that point is not blocked, or open.)
A player who rolls two of a kind (both dices show the same number) gets to move double the numbers on the dices.
When moving the same checker with both dice numbers, the intermediate points must be open (not blocked). For example: if you roll a 3 and a 4, you can only move your checker 7 points if point 3 and 4 is not blocked.
A player who moves his checker to a point occupied by only one of the opponent’s checkers (called a “blot”), can “hit” (take) the opponent’s checker and place it on the bar in the middle of the board. When this happens, the opponent is required to return that checker into the game before making any other moves. The checker must be entered back into the game via his/her point 24. If the checker is blocked from being returned into the game, no moves can be made, and the turn goes back to the other player.
When you finally have moved all your checkers into your home board, you are able to begin removing them from the board by moving them past the 1-point. This is also known as “bearing off”. The first player to remove all his/her checkers from the board wins the game.
But if one of your checkers is hit by your opponent and placed on the middle bar while you are bearing off, you must move that checker back into the game and all the way to your home board before you can continue removing your checkers.
If a higher number is rolled than you have while bearing off, the farthest checker can be removed.
If a player has no checkers off the board when his opponent has removed all his checkers, it is known as a gammon and is worth a double game.
If a player still has a checker in his/her opponents home board or on the bar and the opponent has removed all his/her checkers, it is known as a backgammon and is worth a triple game.
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Backgammon is a very old game that can be traced back through almost 5000 years of history. Archaeologists conducting scientific excavations in search for Persian and Mesopotamian artefacts have found remains of board games dating back to 3000 BC. The game was spread into Europe by the Roman and Byzantine Empires.
Backgammon from the “Libro de axedrez, dados e tablas” (“Book of chess, dice and tables”, 13th century)
Backgammon from the “Carmina Burana” (“Songs from Benediktbeuern”, 11th – 13th century)
Backgammon from the “Codex Manesse” (book of songs/poetry, 1304-1340)
The Playpager free Backgammon app is programmed in html5/Js. No flash player needed. Suited for mobile, PC and tablet. No installation or registration. Enjoy. If you like this game, please share. Thanks!