Backgammon is a two-player board game with pieces called checkers. The object of the game is to move all your checkers off the board first.
To start the game, each player rolls a single die. The player with the higher number moves first using both the numbers shown. After the first roll, the players roll two dice and alternate turns.
The roll of the dice indicates how many points, or pips, the player is to move his checkers. The checkers are always moved forward, to a lower-numbered point. The following rules apply:
- A checker may be moved only to an open point, one that is not occupied by two or more opposing checkers.
- The numbers on the two dice constitute separate moves. For example, if a player rolls 5 and 3, he may move one checker five spaces to an open point and another checker three spaces to an open point, or he may move the one checker a total of eight spaces to an open point, but only if the intermediate point (either three or five spaces from the starting point) is also open.
- A player who rolls doubles plays the numbers shown on the dice twice. Rolling a 6-6 means that the player may move up to four separate checkers forward six space each, and he may move any combination of checkers he feels appropriate to complete this requirement.
- A point occupied by a single checker is called a blot. If your opponent lands on your blot, the blot is hit and the checker is placed on the bar until you have it re-entered. If you have a checker on the bar, you must have the checker re-entered before you can move any other checker. If you have more than one checker on the bar, they must all be entered before you can move any other checker. A checker is entered by moving it to an open point on your opponent's home board corresponding to one of the numbers on the rolled dice.
- When you have all 15 checkers in your home board, you can begin bearing off.