Backgammon Strategies for Beginners

According to history, backgammon is the oldest know recorded game. Played for centuries, there’s no denying the game of backgammon has increased in popularity since its advent many years ago. While it’s a relatively simple game to learn how to play, understanding the strategies behind each move requires more effort and concentration. While it may be tough to master the game of backgammon, the effort is well worth the results you’ll find when you’ve completely understood the concepts and strategies that are required to be a backgammon master. Once you’ve learned a few beginning strategies, you’ll find the game of backgammon takes on an entirely new meaning for you.

For starters, there are essentially three different ways to play a game of backgammon.

A player can tackle one form of game play, or combine all three variations to form their own strategy. Basically, the type of game you play will be determined according to your dice rolls or how you want to play in accordance with your opponent. In any case, the three types of games are called a running game, a blocking game, and the back game. Different variations are easier to play than others, but all of them have their own strategies you should employ in order to make the most of your game and increase your odds of defeating your opponent.

  • compact backgammon game
  • pink colored backgammon

the running game

With the first type of backgammon game, the running game, you’re at an advantage because it’s one of the easiest to play as well as to understand. During a running game, your objective includes getting your counters around the board as quickly as possible and bearing off before your opponent does. Provided luck is behind and you consistently roll higher than your opponent, you should be in pretty good shape. When playing a running game however, you should remember a few key points. For instance, you’ll want to try to avoid leaving blots if at all possible. If you don’t leave very many blots and you’re rolling well throughout the game, your odds of winning dramatically improve. Secondly, you’ll want to make sure your counters come around the board slowly but surely. However, do not leave any of your counters abandoned in your player’s home board, if you can avoid it. Doing so will significantly slow down your game and inhibit the bearing off process for you.

blocking game

The second way to play backgammon, the blocking game, involves a few things. First and foremost, your objective is to block your opponent in your inner board, thus giving you the needed time to bring your counters into your inner board and bear off accordingly. How can you master this strategy? By building a prime (in backgammon, a prime refers to six points in a sequence) your opponent has no way of getting out of your home board until your prime is broken. This is an excellent strategy for beginning players to master, but be aware that in doing so there’s a possibility you may leave blots early on during the game.

back game

Finally, another strategic variation of backgammon is called the back game. Arguably the hardest strategy to master, the back game is ideal for a player who has thrown terribly and finds himself at a great disadvantage fairly early on in the game. If your tactics just aren’t working this early in the game, the back game strategy is advisable for you so you can reverse your tactics and try to push the game over to your favor. In order to play a back game, you’ll keep your counters as far back as possible. Additionally, spread them out so they leave a series of blots across the board. If played correctly, the idea behind a back game is that your opponent will try to hit your blots, meaning a few of your counters will be able to re-enter into your opponent’s inner board. Once there, the goal is for your counters to hinder the progress of your opponent’s as well as being in the prime position to hit any of your opponent’s counters, either on the inner or outer tables. There’s no denying that a back game can be incredibly difficult to play, but if played well you can turn the game to your favor relatively quickly.

The game of backgammon, while easy to learn, requires a variety of strategies in order to truly master the game. For beginning players, it’s not as hard to learn strategies as you may think but some are easier to understand than others. Provided you practice and work out the strategy or combination of strategies that are right for you, there’s no reason why you can’t become a master of backgammon with hard work, a little determination and dedication to see it through.