The game of backgammon is actually a race. Although luck plays a major role, a player must use his own strategy to win the game. The goal of the player is to move his checkers, with each roll of the dice, past those of his opponent and remove them from the board. At first, the checkers are scattered and may be blocked or hit by the opponent.
The game is often played in matches as playing time for every individual game is just short. The first player to reach a certain number of points wins. The backgammon board has a track of 12 long triangles called points on each side. The points are numbered from 1 to 24. Each player starts with two checkers on his 24-point, three checkers on his 8-point and five checkers each on his 13-point and 6-point, respectively. The players move their pieces in opposite directions.
Both players should roll a die to start the game. The player with the higher number gets to move his checkers first. At the beginning of each turn, a player rolls two dice. The checkers should be moved according to the number of pips showing on each die. For instance, if a player rolls a 4 and 3, he must move one checker four points forward and another checker three points forward.
For a faster play, a doubling cube is usually used. The cube is a six-sided die marked with the numbers 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 and 64. A player can call for a double before rolling the dice if he thinks his position is superior. A double means the game will be played for twice its current stakes. And to show that the game’s value has been doubled, the cube is placed with the two side face up. His opponent then must either accept the offer or back out from the game. If he accepts a double, he can offer to redouble the stakes. A game can be redoubled up to four times.
Backgammon is a game of very high skill and combines mathematics, game theory and knowledge of what your opponent is likely to do. This in itself is the primary skill of a good player. If you know your opponent to be defensive in nature then you can afford to take more risks than you would do otherwise. A skilled backgammon player analyses their opponent first and foremost and adjusts their game accordingly.