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If you are one of those people who likes the challenge of playing heads up games then Backgammon might be for you. Gambling on Backgammon has been around not for years but for centuries and is believed to have been played as long ago as 3000BC in what was at the time Persia. The game requires a special board which if you buy one can be quite intricate, made of wood and inlaid with ivory and a couple of dice. Online Backgammon uses the exact same board. Backgammon is a simple dice gambling game played by two players only so head to head is the only way to play.

How to play Backgammon

The backgammon board is divided into four segments with six separate places for checkers in each segment which are marked on the board as rather tall triangles. These are known as “points”. The four segments of the backgammon board are your “home board” which is in bottom right as you look at the board in front of you; your “outfield” which is the bottom left segment; your opponents “outfield” which is the top left segment and finally your opponents “home” which is top right. The “points” are not necessarily numbered on the table but for explanation purposes it is handy to identify them so we shall call points 1 through 6 those in your home quadrant; points 7 through 12 those in your outfield; points 13 through 18 are those in your opponents outfield and 19 through 24 are those in your opponents home. In other words we shall number them in an anti clockwise direction starting from the bottom right corner. Note however that from your opponents perspective they are numbered anticlockwise starting in the bottom left. The numbering is only important to know where the checkers must be positioned at the start of the game and of course with online backgammon they will already be positioned for you. The checkers will be two different colours (one for each player as in drafts or chess). Your checkers must be arranged as follows to start the game:-
5 checkers on point 6, 3 checkers on your point 8, 5 checkers on your point 13 and 2 checkers on your point 24. Your opponents checkers will be exactly the same but remember that your point 24 is your opponents point 1 so their checkers on their point 13 are on your point 12.

The idea of the game is to move your checkers in an anti clockwise direction according to the dice roll to get all your checkers into your home quadrant and then to remove them; the first player to complete this wins. It will not have escaped you that the players are sitting on opposite sides of the board so that the home quadrant of one player is bottom right but the home quadrant of the other player is bottom left. The anti clockwise movement applies to the player who has their home quadrant in the bottom right; players with their home quadrant bottom left will move in a clockwise direction. This sounds complicated but will soon become clear once you start playing.

Movement of the checkers is according to the dice thrown and s there are two dice, two checkers can be moved in any one throw so if for example you throw a 1 and a 3 you may move either one checker by one point and another checker by 3 points or you can move the same checker by 1 point and then 3 points or first by 3 points and then by 1 point. The only exception to this is when a double is thrown which enables the player to have 4 moves of the number thrown.

The checkers may only be moved onto points which are either already occupied by your own checkers or are not occupied at all or are occupied by a single checker from your opponent. It can happen that it is impossible to move the number thrown on the dice; in this case the player must move what is possible to move and forfeits the remaining move or moves.

If at all possible you should not leave a single checker on a point or if your opponent has done so it should become a target for you. By landing on a point occupied by one of your opponents checkers you may remove that checker from play. A checker that has been removed in this way must start from a fictitious point 25 or in other words back at the beginning and must be brought back into play into the opponents home board before any other move can be made. If the player cannot bring the checker into play because the points are occupied he must forfeit his turn so this is a disadvantage.

Once a player has all 15 checkers into his home board, he can then start the process of removing them. A checker can be removed in the following ways:

• The player may remove a checker from the point corresponding to the rolled die.
• If there is no checker on the corresponding point, a move must be made from a higher numbered point. If there are no more checkers on higher numbered points, the player may remove a checker from the highest numbered point where there is still a checker.
• A player does not have to remove a checker if there is an alternative move.
• Once a checker has been removed it cannot be brought back into play.
As already stated, the winner is the player to have all their checkers removed first but it is possible to win a double or a triple which means you win more from your opponent.
A double win is achieved if your opponent has not removed any checkers from the board in the end play.
A triple win is achieved if your opponent has not removed any checkers from the board AND still has at least one checker in your home quadrant.

The game of backgammon is actually quite simple despite what appears to be complicated instructions so give it a go on free play and see how you enjoy it.