Putting the BACK in Backgammon: A Beginner's Guide

With what started as a pastime for ancient Mesopotamia 5000 years ago has now become one of the most played games to date, be it over the Internet or otherwise, whether for money or sheer passion. Bac Gamen. Wee Battle. The oldest known board game in history. A game of luck, skill and strategy. Whichever way you want call it---this is backgammon.

Introducing Backgammon to Beginners

You know the adage, 'you can only learn by doing?' Said adage, can be practically applied with backgammon. The fundamentals can be taught to beginners, however the skills and growth of the players can only be honed through continuous practice. One can never step up from being a novice having only the basics in his armory.

One board, two payers, 15 pieces each, a pair of dice and 24 triangles or points, these things form the game that is backgammon. Said board somewhat resembles that of a chessboard, the difference lays on the points present in the former. In addition, the backgammon players have their own home and outer boards. The aim of the game: to move all your pieces past your opponent and remove the same off the board.

Beginner's Move

Fifteen white and 15 black pieces, the former moves clockwise while the latter shifts the other direction. To know who'll go first, each player will roll a die. Whoever gets the higher digit moves first using the numbers as initially thrown by both players. Note that the dice accounts for two separate numbers. To illustrate, if you rolled a 5 and a 4, you have the option to move 9 spaces or take two pieces, move one piece 5 spaces and the other 4 spaces.

A piece may be moved only if the point is open, when I say open, it means that the triangle does not contain two or more of the opponent's pieces. If you want to be good at this game, I have one advice. Practice. Play backgammon over the Internet, challenge other players, whether they are physically present or virtually existing.


Tricking or as I call it psyching out your opponent in backgammon. This may come really handy in the long run particularly for beginners. I suggest you plant the seeds early on in the game. An example is acting like you're not good and that you're one of those beginners who just want to try out the game. Sacrifice some of your own pieces. By the end of the game, your opponent will be left with a handful of pieces in his home board making it hard for him to catch up.

Blocking. More often than not, it's much easier to block and hold the opponent's pieces in your turf or your home board. Two of the great 'holding points' are 4 and 7. Another point that need be raised is visualization. Beginners must try to visualize the scenarios of what could probably occur after every move they make in the game of backgammon.