Saturday, 6 September 2014

Off-Topic: Rules of Backgammon

Rules of Backgammon.

A. Game Play

Initial position.

1. The Beginning

Each player rolls one die. If the numbers are the same the roll is repeated. The player who rolls the higher number begins the game, using the two numbers rolled. After this the players roll the two dice alternately.

2. The main game

The player can use the numbers on the dice in either order. If the two numbers are the same he must move the number four times. He must use both numbers, if possible. If he is only able to use only one of the numbers, he must use the larger number.

A move is made by moving a checker towards his home board the number of pips on the die. A player may move a checker onto a position that is either empty, occupied by his own checkers, or occupied by a single checker of the opponent. If he moves onto a position occupied by his opponent's checker, the checker is placed on the bar.

If the player has any checkers on the bar they must be moved into play onto the corresponding number in his opponent's home board first. If he cannot do this he forfeits his turn.

3. Bearing off

When all of a player's checkers are in his home board he may move them out of play with the position's number. The checker at the back may be moved out with a higher number.

4. Score

The player who bears off all his checkers wins the game and scores one point. If the other player has not borne off any checkers, the winner scores two points. If the other player has not borne off any checkers and still has a checker on the bar or in his opponent's home board, the winner scores three points.

5. Doubling

Either player may offer to double the stakes of the game. If the double is refused, the other player loses immediately. If the double is accepted, the winner scores twice the amount of points. After the first double the players may double alternately, up to a maximum of six doubles.

B. Match Play

1. A match consists of a series of games that ends when a previously decided score, any number from 2 upwards, has been reached.

2. If a player reaches match point (one point less than the score needed), no doubling is allowed in the next game.

C. Optional rules

1. Automatic doubling

If the two players roll the same number at the beginning, the point score is doubled. This is a common rule, especially in single games for wagers.

2. Resigning

There is no official way to resign in Backgammon, apart from refusing a double. However, many players do not like to continue when they think they have no chance of success. An unofficial rule allows resignation by allowing the other player to remove all his checkers immediately, leading to a score of 1 to 3 points plus doubling. This rule is common among beginners, but is never used by experienced players.

3. Beaver

The beaver is an option to accept a double and immediately redouble without giving up ownership of the doubling cube. This multiplies the stake by 4 instead of by 2. This option is sometimes used in game play for wagers, but never in match play.

D. Wagers

If money is bet on a single game, the amount is multiplied by the point score. If money is bet on a match, the amount remains the same.

E. Etiquette

After rolling the dice the player should decide on all his moves before making the first move. A move is complete when the player removes his hand from the checker. After making a move it may not be taken back, unless the other player offers it (for instance, as a favour to a beginner).

Backgammon is usually played at a swift pace. Many Backgammon clubs impose a limit of two minutes per turn, but this is very generous, as most turns are completed in 30 seconds or less. There should be no unnecessary delays in simple positions or when there is only one possible set of moves, but patience should be exercised when a player has a difficult choice.

It is considered bad style to tell your opponent he was lucky. On the other hand, you may be generous and tell him that you were lucky.

If a player makes an incorrect move the other player should tell him to take it back. The offending player receives a warning. If he makes a second incorrect move he loses the game.

I posted these rules because I promised it in my previous post about Backgammon. I know that the rules are already available on other web sites, but I do not believe that anyone else has described the rules as succinctly as me.

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