How to Play Backgammon

Below are direction on how to play the game Backgammon. For video directions please visit

Set Up:

  • Backgammon is played on a board that consists of 24 narrow triangles that are called points. The points alternate in color and are grouped into four quadrants of six points each. There are four types of quadrants: the player's home board and outer board and the opponent's home board and outer board. The intersection of these four quadrants, the middle of the board, are separated by a seem or line called the bar.
  • Each player must set up his or her 15 pieces for the game to begin. The pieces will be comprised of two distinct colors. To set up the board, each player must place two pieces on their 24th point, three pieces on their 8th point, five pieces on their 13th point, and five more pieces on their 6th point. Remember, each player has their own numbering system, so the pieces will not overlap.

Game Play:

  • Roll a die to determine who goes first.
  • Player 1 rolls the dice. The numbers rolled represent two separate moves. For example, if you roll a 3 and a 5, you can move one piece three points and another piece five points or you can move one piece eight points.
  • You must move your pieces to an open point. An open point is any Pic. 3 point on the board that has one or less piece. You can move your pieces to a point with no pieces on it, a point with one or more of your pieces on it, or a point with one of your opponent's pieces on it. Remember, you should always move your piece counter-clockwise.
  • Once all pieces have been moved, it is player 2's turn to roll the die and move their pieces to an open point.
  • Continue taking turns rolling the die and moving pieces until there is a winner.


  • If a player rolls doubles (the same number on each die) then they get to play that roll twice. For example if a player rolled two 1's then they could move a total of four points.
  • If a player can't move either number they rolled, then they lose their turn.
  • If a player lands on a point with only one of your pieces on it, then you have to place your piece on the bar. You can only move your piece off the bar by rolling the dice and moving the piece onto an open point, starting the farthest from your home quadrant. If you do not roll an open number, then you lose your turn. You can't move any other pieces until ALL your pieces are off the bar.
  • You can not move the total number of the dice if the two numbers that you would land on are not open. Just think of each dice as a separate move even if you are only going to move one piece.


  • To win you must be the first player to remove all your pieces from the board.
  • You must have all your pieces in your home quadrant before you can start moving pieces off the board.
  • The numbers you roll must be exact or higher than the number of points needed to remove your pieces from the board.


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