Backgammon is one of the oldest games known on earth, but not many people actually know the backgammon rules. Learn how to play backgammon and the key steps to start a game right here.


Backgammon is a strategical race game between two players. 

Each player has 15 checkers (or pips or blots) that need to go in their home pocket faster than his opponent.

The checkers move on a board composed of 24 triangles, also known as points.

The board is divided into 4 parts of 6 points.

One player moves his checkers clockwise, while the other plays counter-clockwise.

The movement of the checkers is determined by the roll of 2 dice.

The number on the dice indicates the number of points a checker is allowed to advance. 

During the game, the players try to bring all their checkers into their home board and bear them off, which means taking them out of the board. 


At the beginning of every game, the checkers of both players are placed symmetrically on the board as you can see in the example below. 

The white checkers will move clockwise to reach the top right part of the board (also called white inner board), while the black checkers move counter clockwise to reach the bottom right of the board (black inner board).

In no circumstances is a player allowed to move a checker backward.


The game starts with each player throwing one die. The player with the highest number on his die makes the first move (therefore, a game cannot start with a double).

The dice can be used to move the same checker twice or two different checkers once each.

From that point, the players are moving their checkers by playing one after the other.

The movement of the checkers obey some rules:

  • A checker can land or pass freely on a point with no other checker on it
  • A player can have as many checkers as he wants on a specific point
  • If a player rolls a double, he has to play 4 times
  • It is not possible for a checker to land, or pass on a point already occupied by two or more of his opponent checkers ;
  • A lone checker on a point is called “a blot” and can be hit by his opponent. 
  • If there is a way to play a roll it must be done even at the disadvantage of the player ;
  • When a checker is hit, it is put “on the bar” and will have to start back on its opponent’s inner board. 
  • A player cannot move any other checkers as long as he has one on the bar.

To re-enter in his opponent’s inner board, a player has to roll a number not covered by two or more of his opponent checkers.

You can consider every point in the inner board as a gate numbered from 1 to 6.
Bearing Off:

Once all your checkers are inside your inner board, the last part of the game is starting. This part is called the “bear off” and consists of taking out your checkers off the board as quickly as possible.

To do so, you have to take checkers out according to the numbers you are rolling.

Consider that your inner board is also composed of gates from 6 to 1 (1 being the point on the far right).

For every roll, you can take out the checker corresponding. 

If you have checkers on every gate and you roll 6-1, it means you can take one checker out from the 6th point and one checker out from the 1st point.

If you roll a 6 but don’t have any more checkers on this particular point, you can use this roll to take out a checker from the next highest point. 

But if you roll for example a 4 without any checkers on this point and still having some on the 6th and the 5th point, you cannot use this roll to bear off a checker and must move it to the 2nd or the 1st point. 

The first player to remove all of his checkers is declared the winner and a new game can start.


Only two players can play a game at one time.


Game Board, 15 natural checkers, 15 black checkers, 2 sets of 2 dice.

Have fun!