Backgammon - play the classical game now with an improved graphics and animation
Backgammon is one of the oldest known board games. Its history can be traced back nearly 5,000 years to archaeological discoveries in the Middle East. It is a two player game where each player has fifteen pieces (checkers) which move between twenty-four triangles (points) according to the roll of two dice. The objective of the game is to be first to bear off, i.e. move all fifteen checkers off the board. Backgammon is a member of the tables family, one of the oldest classes of board games.
In this game you can enjoy high quality graphics and sounds which make it look and feel like real. The game is easy to play: just use the mouse to roll the dice and choose your moves.
Backgammon involves a combination of strategy and luck (from rolling dice). While the dice may determine the outcome of a single game, the better player will accumulate the better record over series of many games, somewhat like poker. With each roll of the dice, players must choose from numerous options for moving their checkers and anticipate possible counter-moves by the opponent. The optional use of a doubling cube allows players to raise the stakes during the game.
Paths of movement for red and black, with checkers in the starting position; viewed from the black side, with home or inner board at lower right Backgammon playing pieces are known variously as checkers, draughts, stones, men, counters, pawns, discs, pips, chips, or nips.
The objective is to remove (bear off) all of one's own checkers from the board before one's opponent can do the same. In the most often-played variants the checkers are scattered at first; as the game progresses they may be blocked or hit by the opponent. As the playing time for each individual game is short, it is often played in matches where victory is awarded to the first player to reach a certain number of points.
Each side of the board has a track of 12 long triangles, called points. The points form a continuous track in the shape of a horseshoe, and are numbered from 1 to 24. In the most commonly used setup, each player begins with fifteen checkers, two are placed on their 24-point, three on their 8-point, and five each on their 13-point and their 6-point. The two players move their checkers in opposing directions, from the 24-point towards the 1-point.
Points 1 through 6 are called the home board or inner board, and points 7 through 12 are called the outer board. The 7-point is referred to as the bar point, and the 13-point as the midpoint.
To start the game, each player rolls one die, and the player with the higher number moves first using the numbers shown on both dice. If the players roll the same number, they must roll again. Both dice must land completely flat on the right-hand side of the gameboard. The players then alternate turns, rolling two dice at the beginning of each turn.
After rolling the dice, players must, if possible, move their checkers according to the number shown on each die. For example, if the player rolls a 6 and a 3 (denoted as "6-3"), the player must move one checker six points forward, and another or the same checker three points forward. The same checker may be moved twice, as long as the two moves can be made separately and legally: six and then three, or three and then six. If a player rolls two of the same number, called doubles, that player must play each die twice. For example, a roll of 5-5 allows the player to make four moves of five spaces each. On any roll, a player must move according to the numbers on both dice if it is at all possible to do so. If one or both numbers do not allow a legal move, the player forfeits that portion of the roll and his or her turn ends. If moves can be made according to either one die or the other, but not both, the higher number must be used. If one die is unable to be moved, but such a move is made possible by the moving of the other die, that move is compulsory.
In the course of a move, a checker may land on any point that is unoccupied or is occupied by one or more of the player's own checkers. It may also land on a point occupied by exactly one opposing checker, or "blot". In this case, the blot has been "hit", and is placed in the middle of the board on the bar that divides the two sides of the playing surface. A checker may never land on a point occupied by two or more opposing checkers; thus, no point is ever occupied by checkers from both players simultaneously. There is no limit to the number of checkers that can occupy a point at any given time.
Checkers placed on the bar must re-enter the game through the opponent's home board before any other move can be made. A roll of 1 allows the checker to enter on the 24-point (opponent's 1), a roll of 2 on the 23-point (opponent's 2), and so forth, up to a roll of 6 allowing entry on the 19-point (opponent's 6). Checkers may not enter on a point occupied by two or more opposing checkers. Checkers can enter on unoccupied points, or on points occupied by a single opposing checker; in the latter case, the single checker is hit and placed on the bar. More than one checker can be on the bar at a time. A player may not move any other checkers until all checkers on the bar belonging to that player have re-entered the board. If a player has checkers on the bar, but rolls a combination that does not allow any of those checkers to re-enter, the player does not move. If the opponent's home board is completely "closed" (i.e. all six points are each occupied by two or more checkers), there is no roll that will allow a player to enter a checker from the bar, and that player stops rolling and playing until at least one point becomes open (occupied by one or zero checkers) due to the opponent's moves.
When all of a player's checkers are in that player's home board, that player may start removing them; this is called "bearing off". A roll of 1 may be used to bear off a checker from the 1-point, a 2 from the 2-point, and so on. If all of a player's checkers are on points lower than the number showing on a particular die, the player may use that die to bear off one checker from the highest occupied point. For example, if a player rolls a 6 and a 5, but has no checkers on the 6-point and two on the 5-point, then the 6 and the 5 must be used to bear off the two checkers from the 5-point. When bearing off, a player may also move a lower die roll before the higher even if that means the full value of the higher die is not fully utilized. For example, if a player has exactly one checker remaining on the 6-point, and rolls a 6 and a 1, the player may move the 6-point checker one place to the 5-point with the lower die roll of 1, and then bear that checker off the 5-point using the die roll of 6; this is sometimes useful tactically. As before, if there is a way to use all moves showing on the dice, by moving checkers within the home board or bearing them off, the player must do so.
If one player has not borne off any checkers by the time the opponent has borne off all fifteen, then the player has lost a gammon, which counts for double a normal loss. If the losing player has not borne off any checkers and still has checkers in the opponent's home board, then the player has lost a backgammon, which counts for three times a normal loss. If the losing player has not borne off any checkers and still has checkers on the bar, then the player has lost a double backgammon, which counts for four times a normal loss.
Last Roll rule (optional)
The player who did NOT win the first roll of the game is guaranteed the final roll of the game. With this option, the player with Last Roll may have checkers remaining AFTER the opponent has completed bearing off. In these cases, the following rules apply.
-If a player with Last Roll has one or two checkers remaining and does NOT roll doubles, but rolls numbers sufficient to complete bearing off, the player with Last Roll achieves a TIE for the game.
-If a player with Last Roll has four checkers remaining and rolls doubles sufficient to complete bearing off, the player with Last Roll achieves a TIE for the game.
-If a player with Last Roll has three checkers or FEWER remaining and rolls sufficient doubles to complete bearing off, the player with Last Roll WINS the game.
-If the player WITHOUT Last Roll has three or or fewer checkers, AND rolls doubles on his final roll sufficient to complete bearing off, AND if he is not required to use ALL FOUR of his doubles to complete bearing off, the player WITHOUT Last Roll STEALS the opponent's Last Roll and wins the game.
Backgammon is one of the oldest games in existence, alongside Go and Chess. It is probably about 5,000 years old and may well have originated in what today is Iraq—previously Mesopotamia. Recent evidence supporting this was found when these very early dice (made of human bones) were discovered in the area. The board with its twenty-four points and thirty checkers (or pieces or men) has been around for a long time, while the Romans were the first to make it truly popular with their version called "Duodecum Scripta et Tabulae" or "Tables" for short. The Emperor Claudius was a keen player—he had a special board built on the back of his chariot to relieve the tedium of long journeys. Emperor Nero was a prodigious gambler. He played for today's equivalent of $10,000 a game. Backgammon is also mentioned by Shakespeare in Love's Labour's Lost. So when you play backgammon, bare in mind that you play one of the oldest games ever existed!