Backgammon Rules

Backgammon is normally played with 2 players. It is almost definately the most played games around the world.

Absolute Backgammon
allows you to play against a computer opponent, with 5 skill levels, or a friend.

All that is needed is a backgammon board and 2 dice. Of course, Absolute Backgammon takes care of that for you.

Who goes first

Each player rolls one die to determine who goes first. The player that rolled the highest die goes first. In case of a tie, each player rolls again until a winner is determined. In Absolute Backgammon press the Roll Dice button to roll a random die for each player.

After the first player finishes his turn, play is passed back and forth until the game is finished.

Object of the game

The object of the game is to get all of your pieces around the board and into the tray before your opponent does, or if using a doubling cube, to force the other player to lose by declining a double of the cube.

Board Setup

You can see how to setup the pieces on the board by downloading Absolute Backgammon. When the game starts, it sets up the pieces for you. Press the Help button to find out which pieces are yours and which direction you are moving the pieces.

Piece Movement

1. Direction of play is from your opponent's innerboard to your innerboard. You bear off your pieces from your innerboard, at the bottom of the board, into your tray.

2. Play of the pieces is governed by two dice, thrown onto the board (right side of the board). One move for each die. If both dice are the same (doubles), then play consists of four moves of the number thrown.
3. The first play goes to the player making the highest opening throw. The opening throw is made with each player throwing a single die, with the winner using the number on both his own and his opponent's die for the first play.

4. The play of the pieces consists of:

a. Moving a piece the exact number of points indicated by the number of pips on a die. Either one piece can be moved using both die or by moving two different pieces.

b. Bearing off a piece from your innerboard. This can only be done if you have no pieces outside of your innerboard or on the Bar.

5. No play can be made that lands on a row occupied by two or more of your opponents men.

6. When your play lands on a row occupied by a single piece (blot) of your opponent, the blot is "hit" and is put on the Bar for later entry into your innerboard.

7. A player having a piece on the Bar may not play other pieces until that piece has been entered from the Bar. A piece is entered from the Bar into your opponents innerboard.

8. Plays must be made for both dice if possible. Either number may be played first. If only one number can be played, and there is a choice, the higher must be played.

Bearing Off Pieces

For this discussion of bearing off, the row numbers are the same as the minimum number of pips required to bear off, 1 through 6.

1. As soon as a player has moved all of his pieces into his innerboard, he may start bearing off his pieces.

2. You can bear off only if you have no pieces outside of your innerboard or on the Bar.

3. A piece may be borne off a row of the same number as appears on the die.

4. A piece may be borne off from the highest occupied row if it requires less than the number on the die to bear off the board.

5. If a number is thrown for an unoccupied row, no piece below can be borne off, for that die, while any piece remains on a higher row.

Scoring

1. A Single game is won by the first player who bears off all his pieces or has caused his opponent to refuse a doubling of the cube.

2. A Double game is called a Gammon and is won by the player who has borne off all his pieces before his opponent has removed a piece.

3. A Triple game is called a Backgammon and is won by the player who succeeds in bearing off all his pieces before his opponent has borne off a piece, and still has pieces in the winner's innerboard or on the Bar.

Doubling Cube

The doubling cube allows the stakes to be doubled during game play by the player that "owns" the cube, or by either player the first time it is used.

The cube has values 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 and 64 printed on the 6 sides of the cube.

The cube starts in the middle of the board with the side with 64 facing up, being "owned" by neither player. At the start of the game the 64 stands for 1.

When either player wishes to double the stakes during game play, he places the side up that doubles the bet and places it on the opponents side of the board. If the double is accepted by the other player then the stakes have been doubled with the other player "owning" the cube, being the only one that can next redouble. If he declines then the game ends immediately with the value of the cube being what it was before the double.

At the end of the game the points won is determined by the value of the cube times 1 for a single game, 2 for a double game, or 3 for a triple game.

Customizing the game

To customize game play in Absolute Backgammon, choose Preferences from the Absolute Backgammon menu or choose various options using the menus in the game. You can also change some things by pressing the Help button.

Oldest Recorded Game

Backgammon is the oldest game to be recorded in history. The game has been associated with rulers of ancient civilizations like Persia , Rome, Greece and Egypt. Traditionally backgammon was played on wood surfaces, stones where used as markers and dice where made from bones. The oldest backgammon style game that has been excavated can be dated to 3000 B.C.