A very old 2-player game with checkers played on a board with 24 "points." The object is to move (based on dice rolls) all your checkers past points controlled by your opponent, and ultimately off the board, while bumping off and trapping your opponent's checkers. (20-minute playtime.)

With its origins tracing back to 3000 BC in Persia, backgammon is a game with history on par with chess or Go. However, backgammon is not a pure strategy game, possible moves are determined by dice. Because of this, there is a long tradition of gambling on backgammon.

To play backgammon, two players place checkers, sometimes called "men" on the board in a particular starting configuration. The board is divided into 4 quadrants, each consisting of 6 points which the checkers can occupy. On a turn, a player rolls two dice and moves checkers according to the numbers shown. Players move their men in opposite directions--one clockwise and the other counter-clockwise--and are not allowed to move backwards. (One player's "start" is the other player's "finish".)

A single checker on a point is called a "blot" and may be knocked off by an opponent landing on it. When a checker is knocked off it is placed "on the bar," on the divider between the left and right sides of the board. A player with a man on the bar is not permitted to move any other men before bringing the man off the bar and into the farthest back quadrant.

Once all of a player's men are in the nearest quadrant, he may begin "bearing off," moving his men off the edge of the board. The goal is to be the first to bear off all your men.

Backgammon is usually played with a doubling cube. Before rolling the dice on her turn, a player may offer a double to her opponent, to which the opponent chooses to double the stakes for the current game or resign at the original stakes. If the double is accepted, then the accepting player gains control of the doubling cube and is the only one able to offer another double.

We welcome backgammon questions about rules, strategy, equipment, computer backgammon, variants, and most other related topics!

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