Teaching Backgammon: How to Introduce the Game to Friends and Family


Backgammon is a classic board game that combines strategy, skill, and a bit of luck. While it may not be as popular as some other board games, teaching Backgammon to your friends and family can be a fantastic way to introduce them to a game that’s both fun and educational. In this article, we’ll explore tips and strategies for teaching Backgammon, ensuring that your loved ones not only enjoy the game but also learn valuable skills along the way.

Start with the Basics

Before diving into the more advanced aspects of Backgammon, it’s essential to begin with the basics. Explain the objective of the game: to move all your checkers around the board and bear them off before your opponent does. Teach the setup of the board, with 24 points, 12 on each side, and two home boards.

Understanding the Board

One of the first things you should introduce is the layout of the Backgammon board. The board consists of 24 points, which are divided into four quadrants, with each player having a home board and an outer board. Make sure your learners understand how to count the points and differentiate between the home and outer boards.

The Starting Position

Teaching the starting position is crucial for getting the game underway. Explain how to set up the checkers, with two on the 24-point, five on the 13-point, three on the 8-point, and five on the 6-point. Show them how to move their checkers in the right direction, which is counterclockwise.

The Roll of the Dice

Backgammon heavily relies on the roll of the dice, so ensure your learners understand the two six-sided dice and how to roll them. Explain that each player will roll one die to determine who goes first, with the highest roll starting the game.

Movement Rules

Teaching the movement rules is where the real fun begins. Walk your friends and family through how to move their checkers based on the numbers rolled on the dice. Highlight the importance of strategy, such as moving checkers closer to the home board or safely bearing off.

The Concept of Hitting

One of the key strategies in Backgammon is “hitting” your opponent’s checkers. Explain that landing on a single checker sends it to the bar, and the player must then re-enter it into the game before making any other moves. Emphasize the importance of timing when hitting your opponent’s checkers.

Doubling Cube

Introduce the concept of the doubling cube, which allows players to increase the stakes of the game. Explain when and how to use it and how the potential for doubling the stakes adds an extra layer of strategy to the game.

Developing Strategy

As your friends and family become more comfortable with the basic rules, delve into the various strategies that make Backgammon such an intriguing game. Some essential strategies include:

  • Blocking your opponent’s progress by landing on their points.
  • Creating a “prime” by building a continuous wall of checkers.
  • Running your checkers home efficiently.
  • Using the doubling cube strategically to maximize your advantage.

Practice Makes Perfect

To reinforce their learning, encourage your friends and family to practice. You can play casual games with them, offering tips and guidance along the way. As they become more familiar with the game, they’ll start developing their strategies and improving their skills.

Emphasize Sportsmanship

Backgammon, like any game, should be played with good sportsmanship. Teach your learners the importance of fair play, gracious winning, and graceful losing. Encourage them to enjoy the game itself, irrespective of the outcome.

Learning Resources

Point your friends and family to learning resources like books, online tutorials, and Backgammon apps. These resources can help them further develop their skills and strategies, making them more competitive players over time.

Organize a Backgammon Night

To foster a love for the game, organize regular Backgammon nights with your friends and family. These gatherings can become a fun tradition, providing an opportunity to practice, enjoy each other’s company, and learn from one another.

Be Patient and Supportive

Not everyone will grasp Backgammon immediately, and that’s perfectly okay. Be patient and supportive, offering guidance and answering questions as they arise. Remember, the goal is to have fun and learn together.


Teaching Backgammon to your friends and family can be a rewarding experience. It’s a game that combines strategy, skill, and social interaction, making it an excellent choice for gatherings and family nights. By starting with the basics, understanding the board, and introducing key concepts like hitting and the doubling cube, you can provide a solid foundation for your learners. As they develop their skills and strategies, they’ll come to appreciate the depth and excitement of Backgammon. So, gather your loved ones, set up the board, and embark on a journey of fun, learning, and friendly competition.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *