Backgammon is principally a game for two players played on a special board. The players take their places at the opposite sides of the board. Each player has a set of 15 Counters which are called STONES or MEN. The Counters owned by each player have their own distinctive colour.
A board consists of four sections which are called TABLES, each table has six narrow triangle-shaped fields which are called POINTS. The tables on one side of the board are the HOME or INNER tables and the ones on the other side are the OUTER tables. The two INNER and two OUTER tables are divided by a strip known as the BAR.
Game Start and Basics
Each player has a pair of dice and they throw one die each to establish who starts the game. The person throwing the highest number starts. In the event of a tie there is a re-throw. The person starting the game can choose to move the total of the two dice already thrown by himself and his opponent or can re-throw his own two dice for his initial move. Thereafter each player throws alternatively and moves the STONES according to the two numbers which he has thrown. The STONES are moved from point to point around the board according to the exact numbers thrown on the two dice.
The moves taken must be the exact numbers thrown on the two dice. The numbers are always taken individually and not just the sum total of the two dice. Any move must be the exact number thrown and must be onto an open point or one which is occupied by your own counters. You can have any number of your own men on the same point. You have an alternative of moving any two of your men or one Stone can move both numbers, provided that both points he lands on are open. You must always make the full move whenever possible. If it is only possible to take one of the numbers thrown then it must be the higher of the two if this is possible.
If you throw a double of any number then it counts as a double move, i.e. if you throw double 3 then you make 4 separate moves each one advancing a man 3 points. This can be taken by any number of men from 1 to 4, but for the total number of 12 points in 4 moves of 3 points each. In all cases the point on which stone lands must be open.
The object of the game is to move all your men around the board and into your own Home Table. It is not permitted at any stage to move your Men backwards. Once you have got all your Men into your own Home Table, then you can start to move your Men off the board. This is known as BEARING OFF. The first person to BEAR OFF all his Men from the board is the winner.
If at the end of the game the loser has born off at least one stone from the table then the game is SINGLE. If he has not born off any stones, then the game is a GAMMON. If the loser has any stones left in the winner's home table then the game is Backgammon.
Once you have all your Men in your own HOME table then you commence to bear your men off the board. In doing this you must always bear off your men from the points with numbers equal to numbers at the dice thrown. If you want you may move your Man instead of bearing it off, provided there is a point open for such move. If there is no your Man at the point with the highest number thrown and there are no Men at the higher points, you may bear off the Man from the highest numbered point.
The first person to bear off all his men wins the game.
Principles of Play
In order to play successfully you should attempt to follow certain basic principles:
1. Make points when and where they are likely to obstruct your opponent. The more points you make the fewer places on which it is possible for him to land. The most valuable points to make are considered to be ones own 5 points, own bar point (next to the bar) and your opponent's 5 points.
2. Try to make 6 points in a row. This is called a PRIME. It completely blocks your opponent from making any move which can take him past them.
3. Keep the risk of leaving blots in the SHORT Game to the
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