Rules of Backgammon

The Rules of Backgammon

Download the rules in pdf

For 2 Players


1 Game Board, 30 Checkers, 4 Dices, 1 Doubling Cube.


Be the first player to move all of your checkers off the game board.

Setting up

The Game Board is divided into 4 sections that each contains 6 triangular spaces, called points. Notice the bar divides the Game Board in half. Each player places 15 Checkers of the same colour on the Game Board as shown below.


Each player rolls a single dice. The Player who rolls the highest number moves his/her Checkers according to the numbers showing on both of their dice. After the initial roll, players alternate turns using both dice to determine the number points to move the Checkers.
Always move the Checkers in the direction of your home board, as noted in the diagram.

A Checker can move to an open point, which is a point that is occupied by any numbers of your own Checkers, or a point that is not occupied by two or more of your opponent's Checkers.

You can move a Checker the count of one dice and another Checker the count of the other dice. Or you can move one Checker the count of both dice, only if the count of one of the dice could move your piece to an available point. For example, if you roll 4 and 5, you may move one Checker 4 spaces and another Checker 5 spaces. Alternatively, you may move one Checker the total 4 and 5 or 9 spaces, only if either the fourth or fifth points are open.

If you roll Doubles, play the number shown on the dice twice. For example, if you roll two 5s, use any combination of Checkers to move a total of four 5s.


When you are able to land on a point that is occupied by only one of the opponent's Checkers, place the opponent Checker on the bar. This is called a hit. Your opponent must now re-enter the Checker by way of your home board before moving any other Checkers. If you roll a 3 and 6, move your Checker from the bar to your opponent's third point because the sixth point is not open. Then move another of your Checkers 6 spaces. (refer to diagram)

Bearing off

Once you have moved all 15 of your Checkers to your home board begin moving them off the Game Board. This is called bearing off. You must roll a number that matches the number of points needed to remove a Checker from the Game Board. If the die roll is higher than needed to remove a Checker from the board, you may move a Checker from the highest numbered point. If one of your Checkers is hit while bearing off, it must re-enter and travel back around the entire Game Board and reach your home board again, before you can continue bearing off.


If you are the first to move all of your Checkers to your home board and bear off, you are the winner.


The first player to bear off all of his or her Checkers wins the game. However if an opponent fails to bear off at least one checker from his home board or is caught with one or more checkers still outside his or her home board, in the outer board areas, the winner scores a "gammon”. A gammon is worth twice the points or stakes being played for in "match play” a series of games played at predefined stakes. If the winner has removed all his or her Checkers and his or her opponent still has one or more Checkers in the winner's home board, or on the bar, the winner scores a "backgammon", which is worth triple the number of points or current wager.

The VIDO Doubling Cube

The doubling cube is used to raise the stakes in a game. It has six sides individually marked with the numbers 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 and 64 (VIDO) on its faces. It is not used in a 1-point match or single game, unless one is playing for money.

Anytime after the opening roll in match play and before he or she rolls his or her dice, a player who believes he or she has an advantageous position may offer his opponent to play for twice the stakes. The doubler takes the cube from the center of the tray and places it in the middle of the board with the number 2 face up and says "I double". His or Her opponent agrees to play on by saying "take", lifting the cube and placing in the tray on his or her side of the board with the 2 showing face up. If the opponent refuses the cube, he or she says “I drop” or “I pass" and the current game ends with the doubler scoring the win.

If a player who has accepted a cube wishes to redouble his or her opponent in a later game, the cube is offered back at 4 and if taken can be re-offered later by the original doubler at 8, and so on. But for example if the players are in a 7 point match there is no need to double higher than 8, since 8 points will end a 7 point match in the current game, If for example, the players are tied 3-3 in the score of a 7 point match, there is no need to double higher than 4. However, the cube may go up to 16, 32 or 64 (VIDO) in longer matches or money games.

When the cube has been used in a game that results in a gammon or backgammon, the winner gets twice (gammon) or three times (backgammon) common the number of points showing on the cube. Therefore, in the example of a 7 point match, the match would end in one game the cube reaches 4 since the gammon would be worth 8 points and a backgammon worth 12 points.

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 with no doubling is called the Crawford game.