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Playing backgammon on GammonSpace requires a one time download of our App and to register inside of our app. There is a wide choice of ongoing tournaments of all types as well as one on one money games inside the application lobby, both playmoney and realmoney. Timeouts between continents are minimized with very robust server architecture. All games are saved and can be reached from inside of the app in saved games.

International backgammon rules

Backgammon is a board game for two players, played with two dice each. Each player moves fifteen checkers of their colour (thirty checkers together) on a board made up of twenty-four triangles called points. The points can be grouped into four groups each quarter of the board. Each quarter of the board is known as a player's home board, outer board, and their opponent's home board and outer board. A line called a “bar” divides the home and outer boards.

The points are numbered for either player starting in that player’s home board. The outermost point is the twenty-four point, which is also the opponent’s one point. Each player has fifteen checkers of their own colour.

Starting a game

The initial arrangement of checkers is: two on each player’s twenty-four point, five on each player’s thirteen point, three on each player’s eight point, and five on each player’s six point.

To decide who goes first, each player rolls a single die, with the highest going first. The player throwing the higher number now moves their checkers according to the numbers showing on both dice.

Moving checkers

Players then alternate turns at rolling their dice and moving their checkers around the board. A checker may be moved only to an open point: a point that is occupied by one or fewer opposing checkers. The numbers on the two dice constitute separate moves. This means, for example, that if a player rolls 5 and 3, they may move one checker five spaces to an open point and another checker three spaces to an open point, or move the one checker a total of eight spaces to an open point; but only under the condition that the intermediate point (either three or five spaces from the starting point) is also open.

A player who rolls doubles plays the numbers shown on the dice twice. E.G: On a roll of 5 and 5, a player has four fives for their turn, and may move any combination of checkers they feel appropriate to complete this requirement. Again, if more moves are made with one checker, all points the checker uses have to be open. A player must use all numbers of a roll if this is legally possible. Two numbers for a roll of different values or all four numbers if player rolls a double. When only one number can be played, the player must play that number and if either number can be played but not both, the player must play the one with higher value. When neither number can be used, the player loses their turn. A similar rule applies to the double rolls, when all four numbers cannot be played, the player must play as many numbers as possible.

Hitting

If a point has only one checker on it then the other player may move their own checker to that point and send the opponent's checker to the bar: the middle of the board. When such action occurs, it is known as “hitting”. A point with only one checker, open to hitting is termed a “blot”. The checker can re-enter the game by moving it to an open point corresponding to one of the numbers on the rolled dice in the home board of their opponent and then to move their way around the board again in the same direction. The checker can be brought back to the game only to open points with one or fewer checkers on it. A player may not make any further moves until all their checkers on the bar have been brought back into play by rolling corresponding numbers.

Bearing off

Once a player has moved all of their fifteen checkers into their home board, they may commence to bear them off . Bearing-off is the removal of checkers from the board and out of play. The way players do this takes a little bit of thought to understand the rules, but once you understand, it makes perfect sense. A player must have all of their checkers in their home board in order to bear off. A player rolling a 3 with one of their dice, may bear-off a checker on the 5-point. If they had a checker on their 5-point they may instead chose to move this 3 points to their 2-point. This can be done in all variations if the number of the checker is higher than the value on the dice. If there are no checkers on the dice's corresponding point number they must move a checker from the highest point number that they have a checker on, or remove (bear-off) a checker from the highest occupied point. A player is under no obligation to bear off if they can make an otherwise legal move. If a player's checker(s) is hit after they have started bearing-off, then they must move it back into play and around the board back into their home-board before any more of their checkers may be borne-off. Once a player has removed all their checkers from the board, they are declared the winner of the game.

The doubling cube

The doubling cube is a marker with numbers 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and 64 written on the sides, denoting the current "stake." At the start of the game the cube is placed with the number 64 upwards in the centre of the bar. At any point during the game, but before rolling the dice, a player may propose to their opponent to double the current stake. The opponent faces two choices. They can either refuse to accept the doubling and thus lose the precedent value on the dice before doubling was proposed. Or, they can accept the doubling if they think thay have a fair chance of winning the game; they then place the doubling cube on their part of the board, signifying thay can again at any moment of the game before they roll the dice, propose to double the stake. If the stakes are doubled a number of times, but then a further double is refused by one of the players, the winning player receives the number of points equal to the last double that was accepted.

An addition to the doubling cube rules is the Crawford rule. The Crawford rule states that if one player reaches a score one point short of the match, neither player may offer a double in the immediately following game. This one game without doubling is called the Crawford game. Once the Crawford game has been played, if the match has not yet been decided, the doubling cube is active again.

Backgammon

Backgammon is a win in which a player prevents their opponent from bearing off any of their own pieces and also one or more of their checkers resides either in the bar or in your home board (the portion of the board where your pieces must all reside before you're permitted to bear off your own pieces). A backgammon is scored at triple value, both points or stake.

Optional rules

The following rules are relatively widespread in the world of backgammon but remain optional:

Beaver/Raccoon: When a player doubles, the opponent has a third option to their standard two: they can accept the cube "beaver". It means the player redoubles immediately but still keeps the ownership of the cube. The player who initially doubled can refuse the beaver and lose 2 points, accept it and the game continues with a cube at 4 or even "raccoon" which is another re-re-doubling proposition to 8. It is often used in money games but never in match play.

Jacoby Rule: No player can score a gammon or backgammon if the cube is still at its initial value . Known as the "Jacoby" rule because it was invented by Oswald Jacoby, a Backgammon player and author. As with the beaver/raccoon optional rule, it is often used in money games but it loses its sense in match play and is never used.

Automatic double: In money game play, and if the players have both agreed, if during the initial dice roll both players roll the same value, the doubling cube doubles its value. Sometimes, players limit this optional rule to one doubling per game, sometimes the double is used for the following game, sometimes there is no limit on the number of times this rule is applicable.


Irregularities

These irregularities do not frequently appear in real playing but it is good to know the rules thoroughly. 

1) The dice must be rolled together and land flat on the surface of the right hand section of the board. The player must re-roll both dice if a die lands outside the right-hand board, or lands on a checker, or does not land flat. 

2) A turn is completed when the player picks up their dice. If the play is incomplete or otherwise illegal, the opponent has the option of accepting the play as made or of requiring the player to make a legal play. A play is deemed to have been accepted as made when the opponent rolls their dice or offers a double to start their own turn. 

3) If a player rolls the dice before his opponent has finished his turn, the roll shall stand.