Perhaps you received a backgammon board as a gift, or maybe you purchased one for yourself. Whatever the case, if you are reading this article, chances are that you are a new player who needs help with setting up their board. This guide will explain the basics of a backgammon board and show you how to set yours up. Once you’ve gotten a hang of the setup process, you’ll be ready to play. Click here if you want to know how to play backgammon.
What you’ll need
- A backgammon board
- 30 checkers in two distinct colours (15 of each colour)
- 2 six-sided dice, but preferably 4 (for social backgammon games, a doubling cube is optional)
The layout of a Backgammon Board
The most noticeable thing about a backgammon board is its 24 distinct elongated triangles, which are called points. At the start of every game, the checkers will be placed in a specific manner along these points, and move along these points during gameplay. These points are arranged into four groups (quadrants), each composed of six points. The bar divides the centre of the board, splitting the quadrants into groups of two. The bar itself does not count as a point.
Upon being hit, checkers are removed from the board and placed on the bar. Their re-entering into the game is subject to the roll of the dice. The bar also splits the home boards and outer boards; the home boards can be either on the right or the left, depending on where the player is sitting. The home board is always on the near side, and players will move their checkers towards themselves to the home board. Outer boards are situated on the other side of the board and are used by both players.
To record games, backgammon uses a notation system. Each point is identified using a 24-point numbering system from the player’s perspective. The number 1 point is the point on a player’s home board furthest from the bar, whereas the number 24 point is the point on the opponent’s board which is furthest from the bar.
Setting Up a Table
To set up a board properly, ensure that both sides mirror one another. For the black checkers, a backgammon table should be laid out as follows:
- Two black checkers should be placed on the number 24 point of the board, which is in the far-right corner.
- Five black checkers should be placed on the number 13 point of the board, which is in the far-left corner.
- Three black checkers should be placed on the number 8 point on the near side of the board.
- Five black checkers should be placed on the number 6 point on the near side of the board.
- For white checkers, these positions should be mirrored.
Once you’ve set up your table as described above, feel free to take out your dice as now you’ll be ready to play a game of backgammon!