Skill GamesStrategies

A Few Backgammon Strategies That Work


Backgammon is a fast paced game in which you may see the pro player’s checkers hitting the board frenetically. This proficiency can be easily achieved by the players with the development of the understanding of the subtle mechanisms of the game. Here, we will highlight some of the most common strategies which may help you win your next game. There is a variety of strategies available in order to successfully play the game and you’ll soon realise that winning a backgammon game mainly depends on the ability of distributing the checkers on the board according to the different scenarios you may incur.

First thing to consider is that once the players start to play the game, both players have fewer pieces in the home board of the opponent and hence it is easy to bring forth the checkers back in the game and towards your home board. The opponent with more pieces on the home board of the opponent in the later stages of the game will find it difficult to get pieces back on board. However the strategy you choose is often determined by the rolls of the dice in the first stages of the game on one side and the strategy adopted by your opponent on the other. For example if your first two rolls are high combos like 6-5 and 6-5, you probably want to move your back checkers forward and get into a race strategy in which you want to bring all your checkers into your home board and bear them off as quickly as possible, just like it were a competitive race. If you are hit early and have checkers sent back instead, you probably want to play a holding game or a back game in which you want to reach a positional advantage by keeping one ore more points in your control. In the holding game you will reach your positional advantage controlling the 20 point or bar points. They will work as anchors and they will provide maximum chances to hit your opponent as he brings his checkers closer to the home board. Points further back are generally weaker. In the back game instead you must control at least two points in the home board of your opponent with the goal of hitting a blot late in the game and restrain it.

Also a very important strategy in any Backgammon game is blocking opponent’s pieces at your home board. The opponent will have a tougher time moving out as you get more and more checkers there. The player should start the blocking strategy early in the game to get all six checkers inside his home board. A quick blocking strategy of this type is called a “backgammon blitz” and its ultimate goal is to close out one or more of the opponent’s pieces by occupying all 6 of the points in the own home board. This will make it impossible for these pieces to return to the game until a point becomes available. And this will happen just when you start the bearing off phase. You can also block your opponent’s checkers behind a “Prime“, a row of six consecutive occupied spots by at least 2 checkers, also called 6 “made points“. An opposing checker trapped behind a prime cannot escape until the prime is broken. The prime can be constructed anywhere between point 2 and point 11 in the board.

Backgammon is definitely a skill game where strategies must evolve and adapt to the different situations. Luck certainly plays a role in the roll of the dice, but the many decisions available on how to move your checkers after the dice have been cast, are the very essence of this game and hence a professional player can play with an advantage and eventually have much higher chances to win.

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