# Backgammon Rules

Backgammon is played by two players. It is played on a board that has 24 triangular shaped spots named points. The points have alternate colors (light and dark) next to each other throughout the board.

The board has 4 distinct sections called quadrants, of 6 points each. The quadrants are referred to as the home board or quads and outer boards or quads. The board is also divided in half in the the center called the bar.

All points on the board are signified by numbers. A players outermost point (furtherest from his home quadrant) is point 24. Player number 1's point 24 is player number 2's point 1, player number 1's point 23 is player number 2's point 2 and vice versa.

Each player has 15 markers, also known as stones, of a single color either light or dark.

The game is played using 2 dice, as well as a doubling cube. The doubling cube has the numbers 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and 64 on it and is used to help keep track of the stake in the game.

The object of the game of backgammon is to move all your stones into your home board, and then to bear them off the board. The first player to bear off (or clear) all their stones from the board is declared the winner of the game.

In order to start the game, each player will roll a single dice to determine who moves first, and the sum of the two dice rolled is the first player's first move. If each player happens to roll the same number, then they each roll again. The player that has the highest first roll goes first, and moves the sum of both dice.

All subsequent turns, each player rolls both dice and moves his stones the total number of pips (or points) the sum of the dice. The numbers on the 2 dice must be considered separate moves. For example, if a player rolls a 3 and a 6, he may move one stone 3 spaces to an open point and one other stone 6 spaces to an open point, or he may move a single stone 9 spaces to an open point. (in the second scenario, he can only move the single stone 9 spaces to an open point only if the stopping point of one of the dice - either 3 or 6 spaces from where the stone started is open).

Players always move their stones toward the lower numbered points. Stones can only be moved to open points. An open point is determined to be a point with no stones, only the same players stones, or less than 2 of their opponents stones.

Any player that rolls doubles, moves his stones twice the roll. In other words, if the player rolls two 4's, then that player will move his scones a total of 16 points, (4 sets of 4). They may use any combination of 4 moves to complete this, providing each of the 4 moves were legal moves.

Providing the moves are legal moves, a player must always move his stones the number rolled on both dice and a player must use all 4 numbers of a roll when they roll doubles.

Any time that the number from only one dice can be used from a roll is legal, then that move must be made. Any time that either number from a roll can be used, (but not both of them) then the higher number of the 2 dice must be moved.

Any time a player rolls numbers that can not be used, then his turn is considered over. If a player rolls doubles but can not use all 4 numbers, they must use the number(s) that they can, and then their turn ends.

One of the rules that can make playing backgammon very interesting has to do with hitting and entering. Any time that a point is occupied by only a single stone, it is referred to as a blot. During the game play, when a stone lands on a blot, the opponents stone is hit and removed from the point and placed on the bar.

Once a player has a stone on the bar, their first obligation at the beginning of each turn, is to move their stone or stones off the bar and enter into their opponents home board (your outermost quadrant). A player may only enter a stone into the board on a open point that corresponds to one of the dice rolled. An example is if you have one stone on bar and you roll a 2 and a 4, you may enter that stone only on your opponents point 2 or 4 Providing they are open points, (this would be your point 23 or point 21). If neither point is open, or if they are unable to enter all stones from the bar, they should enter the stones they can and then their turn is considered over.

Bearing off your stones, which is the object of the game, is the method in which you clear the stones from your home board and is handled as follows. In order to start bearing off your stones, you must first move all 15 of your stones to your home board. You bear off a stone by using the number of one of the dice rolled that corresponds to a point on which you have a stone, and remove the stone from the board.

The player must always make a legal move corresponding to the numbers rolled so if there is no stone on the point matching their roll, they must move a stone from a higher numbered point the number of points on the dice. If there are no stones on the higher numbered points, the player can remove a stone from a lowered numbered point. Players are not obligated to bear off stones, provided they move a stone the number of points indicated on each dice indicated on their roll.

If a player ends up getting a stone hit and placed back on the bar once they start bearing off, they must first move that stone back into play and back to their home board before they may continue bearing off.

Since backgammon is usually played for an agreed upon wager (or in the case of Backgammon Tournament play an agreed upon number of points) the doubling cube adds an extra flair of excitement throughout the game.

At the start of their turn only, (before they roll the dice) a player may decide to double the stakes. The opponent may refuse the double, in which case they forfeit the game and pay the original wager. If the opponent accepts the double, the game play continues for the new higher wager amount, (or higher number of points in a tournament). The player that accepts the double becomes the doubling cube owner and only they can make the next doubling proposal.

Any subsequent doubles during the game are called redoubles. Any player that refuses a redouble must pay the amount of the wager before the redouble. When a player accepts a redouble, they then become the doubling cube owner and the game continues. The use of the doubling cube and redoubles can effectively raise the stakes in a game to up to 64 times the original wager - or tournament point value.

One optional variation in some money play is called beavers. What this means is that when a player uses the doubling cube, and the opponent accepts the double, he can then immediately redouble before giving up control of the doubling cube. The opponent has the option of accepting redoubles in the same way as they do the first double.

When the game ends, if the player that has lost has had the opportunity to bear off at least one stone, then the wager or point value is treated normally. However, if the losing player was not able to bear off at least one stone then they have been Gammoned, and they lose twice the amount of the wager, or point value, or twice the amount agreed upon from the last doubling.

If the losing player was not able to bear off at least one stone, AND has at least one stone still residing on the bar then they are Backgammoned and they lose 3 times the wager or point value, or 3 times the last doubling value.