Game rules backgammon

The purpose of backgammon is that every player gets his pieces in his home area, and eventually off the playing board. The player who is the first one to remove all of his pieces from the board is the winner. Below you will see an empty playing board.

You see 24 triangles that are called points or pips. The points are numbered from 1 through 24, the numbers also indicate the playing direction. The opponent plays in the opposite direction, so from point 24 to point 1. Each player starts with 15 pieces. When you're playing the white pieces, you start with 15 pieces in the first area with the points 1 through 6. Your opponent will play with black and will start on the other side in his starting area (points 19 through 24). You both will meet somewhere in the middle, where the confrontation will take place.

Below you will see the playing direction:

White starts with his pieces in area 4 and will aim for the route to area 1 in the upper left corner. Black does the opposite, and will play from point 24 in area 1 to area 4 in the bottom left.

The starting positions are as follows:

White places his pieces as follows:

- 2 pieces on point 1. This area is black's home area

- 5 pieces on point 12. This area is white's outside area.

- 3 pieces on point 17. This area is black's outside area.

- 5 pieces on point 19. This area is white's home area.

The same goes for black.

Start of the game

To determine who gets to start, every player throws a piece of dice. Whoever throws the highest, will start. When it's your turn, you throw two dice at the same time. Every pair of points per dice equals one move. With every move, you can move one piece. Per turn, you can make at least 2 moves. When you've thrown the dice, you can move the pieces.

When you throw the same number twice, for instance two times four, you've thrown a double. This means you can move 4 times instead of 2. So:

If you throw 1-1, you play 4 x 1
If you throw 2-2, you play 4 x 2
If you throw 3-3, you play 4 x 3
If you throw 4-4, you play 4 x 4
If you throw 5-5, you play 4 x 5
If you throw 6-6, you play 4 x 6

Below you will find an example of how you can move the pieces.


Black throws: 1-5

Below you will see that black moves one piece, 1 point ahead. He moves one piece from 24 to 23. His other piece is moved from point 13 to point 8, where 3 pieces were already. There are now 4 pieces.

Take/be taken

When you move your pieces, you have to pay close attention if you can take pieces from your opponent or not. When you only have one piece on a point, a player can take your piece. A piece that is alone at a point, is called a blot. When you have two or more pieces on a point, you block that point and this protects your pieces. Your opponent will nog be able to take pieces from you at this point. When a piece is taken, you will have to bring this piece all the way back to the beginning. The pieces that were taken, will be put on the middle bar until they're entered in the game again.


White throws 6-4. When he plays the 6 now, with a piece from point 1, he can take the black blot on point 7. The second part of his move (4), white plays with a piece from point 12 to 16.

Bear off

When a player has placed all 15 of his pieces to the home area, he can start taking pieces from the game. This is called the "bear off". When a piece has been taken out of the game, it can no longer be taken by another player, or brought back into the game. In the following example, both black and white have their pieces in the home area. They can now take pieces from the game. Whoever takes all of their pieces out of the game first, is the winner. Black throws first, and will take the piece that corresponds to the number of points thrown with the dice, first.

Black takes one piece from point 4. Then, because points 5 and 6 are already empty, black takes one more stone from point 4. This is an important rule when taking your pieces out of the game. When all  of your pieces are at one point, you know you can always take some from the game.

Keeping score

There are three ways of winning the game: with a single point (one point), a gammon or a backgammon.

Single point (1 point)

You win a single point when you're the first one to take all 15 of your pieces from the game. In this case, your opponent will have taken at least one piece from the game as well.

Gammon (2 points)

You win with a gammon if you're the first one to remove all 15 pieces from the game, when your opponent has not yet removed a single piece from the game.

Backgammon (3 points)

You win with backgammon if you're the first one to remove all 15 pieces from the game. If your opponent is still in your home area with one or more pieces and has not yet removed a single piece from the game, you win with a backgammon. It's the ultimate victory, and you win three points at once.

Play for fun or real money at:




Backgammon Masters

Gammon Empire