Improve your thinking ahead abilities by playing this classic strategic board game.

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Everything you need to play this game

A step-by-step guide to play the game


Set up the board. Place the bottle caps (= checkers) on the white and red dots on the panel.


Both players roll one die to determine who will start. The combination of the two numbers of the dice is the first move of the player who threw the highest individual number.


The numbers rolled represent two separate moves. If a player rolls a 3 and a 5, for example, he can choose to move one checker twice or to move two different checkers (in this case, one checker can move 3 spaces and another checker 5 spaces).

The players move their checkers from the direction of the other player's home board in a horse-shoe like direction, towards their own home board (marked in their colour).


The players are free to choose which checker they move. All checkers can only be moved to an open point, which is any point on the board that is not occupied by two or more checkers of the other player. Checkers can be moved to a point with no checkers on it, a point with one or more of the player's own checkers on it, or a point with only one of his opponent's checkers on it. Players always have to follow the direction of the arrow in their colour on the panel.


If, for example, a player rolls 5 - 6, but cannot find an open point when moving any checker either 5 or 6 times, then he looses his turn. If he can only play one of the numbers, he can play that number and looses his turn on the other number. If he can only play one number or the other, he has to play the highest number.


A player can move his opponent's checkers on the bar if he hits a blot. This is a point occupied by just one of his opponent's checkers. If he lands on this point, he can move his opponent's checkers on the bar. This player can only continue playing if he gets his checker off the bar.


To get a checker off the bar, the player has to roll the dice and then move the checker onto an open point on his opponent's home board. If he does not roll an open number, he looses his turn and will have to try again on his next turn. He can only start moving the other checkers on the board when he gets all his checkers from the bar.


To win the game, a player needs to be the first one to bear off or remove all of his checkers from the board and into his tray. To start bearing off his checkers, all his 15 checkers should be on his home board (marked in his colour).


To bear off his checkers, a player needs to roll both dice and use the numbers to move pieces into the tray. The numbers he rolls must be exact or higher than the number of spaces needed to remove each piece from the board. For example, if a player rolls a 6-2, he can bear off two pieces that are on these points. But if he does not have a checker on the 6th point, he can bear it off from the next highest point on his board, such as the 5th or 4th point.


If a player still has a die to play and no checker to bear off, he must move a checker according to the number on the die. For example, if he only has two checkers remaining in the 6th and 5th points and he rolls a 2-1, then he can move the checker on the 6th point over to the 4th point, and the checker on the 5th point over to the 4th point.


If a player can bear off all 15 of his checkers before his opponent does, he has won the game of backgammon!

Extra game information

Backgammon is played on a board that consists of 24 narrow triangles that are called points. The points alternate in colour and are divided into four groups of six points each. The players' home boards are on the right-hand side of the panel, marked in their colours (white and red square). The left-hand side of the panel is called the outer board. The middle of the board is separated by a ridge called the bar.

  • If a player rolls the same number on both dice, he wins two extra moves. If he rolls two threes, for example, he can make four moves of three points each.
  • A player's checkers are still vulnerable when they are in his home board, since his opponent can land on a blot (while moving his checker off the bar) and move a checker of the homeboard back on the bar.
  • One spot/point can occupy as many checkers from a player's own colour as he wants, as long as the point does not contain two or more pieces from the opponent.

Specific learning objectives

  • Develop strategic thinking skills.
  • Learn to think ahead.
  • Learn patience.

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