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What are the Basic Backgammon Game Rules?

Here's a concise list of backgammon game rules. Once you get to learn them after a few games, backgammon becomes very interesting. You'll be looking at a fast-paced highly tactical board game.

First part of backgammon game rules is the objective. The goal is to bring all your men to your home board and be the first to bear them all off. You will move from the 24-point (upper right point) down to the Ace point (lower right point) in something like a counter-clockwise direction. Your opponent will move in the opposite direction.

Next set of backgammon game rules: Checkers only move forward along the board according to the dice roll (e.g. you rolled a two and four, move one checker two points and another four points, or move one checker a total of six points). Rolling a double means you double the number of points your checkers can move (e.g. roll a double two let's you move one checker eight points forward or two checkers four points each). You can only land on empty points, points occupied by your men, or points occupied by one enemy checker (thus sending that enemy checker to the bar and starting all over again).

Next set of backgammon game rules concern hitting and entering. If one of your checkers get sent to the bar (i.e. hit) then your first obligation is to enter that checker on the opposing home board using your dice roll. You may only enter on an empty point, a point occupied by a single enemy checker, or one occupied by your men. If you can't use a dice roll because a point is blocked (i.e. occupied by at least two enemy checkers) then you forfeit that move. This part of the backgammon game rules also applies to moving your checkers along the board.

Once you have all 15 checkers on your home board you may begin bearing them off. Bear checkers off according to dice roll. Example: if you roll a six, you can remove a checker from the six point. If there is no checker on the six point you get to move the checker on the second farthest point. Example: you have no checker on the six point but have a checker on the four point, you can use the roll of six to bear off the checker on the four point. If you a roll on the dice doesn't permit you to bear off then just move that corresponding checker closer to the Ace point. The same rules for doubles also apply, meaning you can bear off or move checkers twice as much if you roll a double.

Players who win get one point. But if a player uses the doubling cube and offers to double the points and the other player accepts then the winner gets the corresponding double in points. But if one player declines the double then that player automatically loses. This is useful when both players race to reach a certain number of points over a series of games.

If one player is able to bear off all checkers and the opponent hasn't borne off any then the game value is multiplied by two after the doubles from the doubling cube are made. Multiply that by three if you bear off all checkers and your opponent hasn't borne off any.


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