Backgammon is one of the more ancient board games still played. It seems to be created 5000 years ago, in Mesopotamia. In any case, the first written rules of the game date from the 13th century, in the Book of the games, by King Alfonso X.
Backgammon is a board game for two players. The board has 24 triangles distributed as the shown in the picture. The board is separated in two zones by a bar; one of the zones contains the home board of both players, and the other the inner board.
Each player has fifteen pieces, placed like this at the start of the game:
It is a race game; so, the goal is to be first to bear off the own pieces from the board. Players move their pieces in the opposite direction, clockwise one of them, and counter-clockwise the other.
The player who wins the game gets one or more points; the match goes on until one of the players reaches or exceeds the score set before the start of the game.
How the game goes on
Start of the game
Every player use two dices. In the first turn, both roll simultaneously one die. The player who gets the highest number will make the first move, using the values of two rolled dice.
Next turns are played alternatively by both players.
In every turn players roll the two dice and advance two pieces (according to both numbers) or just one piece in two consecutive moves. Moves are valid if they finish on an empty triangle, on a triangle occupied by own pieces, or a triangle with one only opponent piece. In this latest case, that piece is captured and carried to the bar.
It is not possible to put any piece on a triangle ocuppied by more than one rival piece.
When the dice show a double (both have the same value), the complete move is made twice, in other words, there must be made four moves using the value that has been repeated.
The player who has any piece captured (on the bar) only can move that (or those) pieces to reintroduce them on the board. Remaining pieces are locked until the bar is empty again.
Captured pieces get into the board starting from the first triangle of the own route.
Moving is compulsory; the maximum possible number of moves must be made in every throw according to the rolls.
Particularly, if one only piece may be moved with both rolls, but not with the sum of the two rolls, the highest value must be used.
If there is not any possible move to be made, the turn is lost. It happens frequently when there is any captured piece on the bar.
End of the game
The game ends when one of the players takes all the pieces out of the board
In order to start taking the pieces out of the board, players must previously place all of them in the own home board (the last 6 triangles of the route).
Pieces are beared off by using the precise numbers. Only higher numbers may be used to bear off a piece when there is not any other piece placed on a previous triangle.
Bets and end of the match
Explained rules are enough for a casual play, just one only game; but usually the goal is to reach a certain score during several games (match play).
At the start of every game players fight for one only point. During the game, before rolling the dice, players may challenge the opponent to double the bet. If it is not accepted, the game is finished and the player who has made the bet wins the amount of points that was set before this last bet.
Otherwise, the bet may be subsequently doubled again by the player who has accepted; this dynamic may be repeated several times during the game.
When the player who has won the last game needs only another point to win the match, during the next game (called Crawford game) bets are not accepted.
The player who takes all the pieces out of the board before the opponent takes out any of them gets a gammon; in this case, the value of the game is doubled in order to update the score of the match. Besides, if any of the pieces of the opponent remains in the bar or in the home board of the winner, it is a backgammon, and the value of the game is triple.
How to play in Ludoteka
There are some instructions that you should know about the interface. First, about the bets and the rollings:
- The doubles are made by clicking on the button labeled x2.
- The rolling is automatic when there is no option to double.
- If it is possible, the rolling is automatic when the corresponding icon () is on; otherwise, you should click on the Roll button.
- When it is in automatic mode, you cannot click on the x2 button; whenever you are planning to bet, you should disable the automatic roll.
About the moves:
- If one piece may be moved only to one destiny, you just have to click it.
- If there are different options, you may drag it to the destiny; if the destiny point may be reached only from one point, you also have the option to click directly on the triangle.
- If you don´t want to drag the pieces in the first move of every turn, you also have the option to select the die to use before clicking on the piece.
- Forced moves are automatic if you enable the corresponding option ().
Resign: if you see the actual game is already lost, you can start the next game quickly by clicking on the corresponding icon (). If you do it before bearing off any piece, it will be considered a gammon.
Play online with some other players
Play by yourself: backgammon
BackGammon Club du Leman
Fédération de Backgammon du Québec
Fédération française de Backgammon
Libro en castellano sobre backgammon