Picking Up a New Hobby - Backgammon

By: Gen Wright

If you find that you have some time on your hands, and you want to find a new hobby, then perhaps Backgammon may be a game that you wish to consider. Backgammon is a popular board game but it's unlike most other board games. It's fast moving, require some thinking skills, and exciting to watch. Here is how the game works.

The game requires two players. Before the game starts, the game board needs to be setup. This can be completed in just a few minutes. There are smaller game sets that you can bring along if you are traveling. Usually, for Backgammon World Championships that you see on television, the boards are gigantic so that viewers can see the moves clearly.

When you unfold the game board, there are two sides. On each side, there is the home board, and there is the outer board. You will see a total of 24 triangles on the board, with 12 on each side. The home board will have 6 triangles, and the outer board will also have 6. Sometimes, these triangles are also known as points. It's easier to refer to them as points when you label them the shapes from 1 to 24. So when we say point 1, we know it's the first triangle. When we say point 24, we know it's the furthest triangle.

The game has a total of 30 pieces of checkers or discs. These are in 2 different colors, such as black and white. Each player will choose a color. There are 15 pieces for each color. When the color is chosen, the pieces are then placed on the board. It is cumbersome to describe the setup using words. So refer to the instructions on how to setup the board.

The pieces should go something like: 5-3 on the home board, 2-5 on the outer board on the opponent side. So that's a total of 15 pieces. The opponent player will place the set pieces in the same way.

Roll a die to determine which player starts first. The one with the higher value will begin. Each player will hold a cup in a hand. Two dice are then rolled for every turn. The dice roll will determine the number of points a checker can move in the counter-clockwise direction. For example, if a dice roll is 1-2, the player can choose to move 1 checker by 3 points, or choose to move 1 checker by 1 point, and another by 2 points.

The game gets interesting because you cannot just move your checker onto any point. If there is a single checker on a point, that checker is open to a hit. A checker that is hit gets sent back, and you don't want that to happen.

A checker can only land on a point that has no other checkers, has checkers that belong to the player, or has only 1 checker that belongs to the opponent.

Many different types of strategies can be used to play the game. With every dice roll, there are decisions to be made. Although the game depends a little on luck, a lot also rides on the player's skill level.

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Read Backgammon Books or learn how to play Bingo.

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