What is ‘Backgammon’?
Many casino games can trace their roots back for centuries. Very few of them, however, are likely to be as old as Backgammon. In fact, the earliest copy of the rules is associated with Byzantine Emperor Zeno, who was around between 425 and 491 AD.
The game involves two players on either side of a board. The board is made up of 24 narrow triangles which are called ‘points’. There are 12 triangles on each side of the board which alternate in colour. The board divides the points into four quadrants which are called the ‘home board’ and the ‘outer board’. Each player gets a home board and an outer board quadrant.
Each player starts the game with 15 checkers and the aim of the game is to advance their checkers towards their home board. Once they have reached the home board, they are able to remove all their checkers from the board, the winner being the player who is the first to clear their checkers.
The players move their checkers according to a roll of the dice. Backgammon involves two dice and each dice represents a move. So if, for example, one of the players rolls a two and a six, the player then has to move one of their checkers two spaces towards their home board. They then have to move another six. The rules permit the player to move the same checker twice, which in this instance would amount to a move of eight. If the player is fortunate enough to roll a double, each dice then represents two moves. So rolling two fours would amount to four moves of four places.
Once a player has managed to move their checkers around the board and into their home-board, they can then begin to ‘bear-off’. The process of bearing-off is simply the removal of checkers from the board. The process of bearing-off is once again dictated by the dice. Players roll the dice and they may remove the checker that corresponds to the point number it is on. So if the player has a checker on the five point and rolls a five, they can ‘bear-off’ that checker. The first player to bear-off all of their checkers wins the game.