Backgammon Rule Layout

Here are the rules of the popular board game Backgammon game as recorded by Hoyle. Also included is a short history of the game.

Backgammon is the oldest known board game recorded, approximately 5000 years old. It is believed to have originated in Mesopotamia, which is now Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Wooden boards and stones were used to play the game. The dice was made from bones, wood, or pottery. Cleopatra and Caesar were known to have played the game.

The name Backgammon was derived from "bac" and "gamen" meaning back game, which may refer to the re-entry of the stones back into the game when put out by the opponent. In the 11th century it was also known as "tables" which references the way the game was played at a "table".

As the game grew in popularity, royalty and aristocracy from Rome, Greece, and the Far East played the game. It then became known as the "Game of Emperors".

In 1743, Edmund Hoyle, the famous "game player and documenter", documented and standardized the rules of Backgammon. They remained unchanged until the 20th century. Backgammon become popular in the United States after the end of the second World war. It has retained its popularity and is now played in pubs, colleges, and homes everywhere.

To play backgammon, you will need a Backgammon board. The board consists of 24 actual "points" on the board and each player has a pair of dice and 15 "stones".

The object of the game is for a player to move all 15 stones to the right across the board until they are in his "home" section of the board. Then the stones are removed according to the roll on the dice. Whoever removes all the stones first is the winner.

To start, the players must set up the board.

The stones are placed on certain points on the board. Each point is given a number 1-24 consecutively. As the player rolls the dice, he moves the numbers on the dice being sure he lands on an open point. An open point is an unoccupied point or one that only has one opponents stone(which is called a "blot") on it. Of course, he can land there if his stones are there. The player can move combinations of the numbers on the dice. Such as, if rolled a six and a four. The player can move one stone ten points or one stone six points and another stone four points. If the player lands on a point with the opponents' single stone on it (the "blot"), the opponent must take his stone and place it on the bar in the middle of the board. He cannot reenter the game until he rolls the dice and there are open points for him to come back in on.

Play continues around the board until all 15 stones are on your "home" board. Then the player must start "bearing off" which is the removal of the stones according to the rolls of the dice.

The first player to remove all their stones from the board wins the game.

© Demand Media 2011