Backgammon, how does that game work again?

Fifteen discs each and a pair of dice. That’s all you need for a game of backgammon. A good backgammon board and doubling cube can be helpful, but not necessary to get started.

As with chess, all information is public, there are no hidden cards or secret clues to look for. Still, don’t be mistaken about the simple design of the game. It’s not all luck and winning isn’t that simple. Backgammon is a game with endless possibilities, countless strategies and countless hooks and eyes.

Backgammon, how was it again

Like chess, you play backgammon in a one-on-one setting with the same starting position for both players. In chess it all comes down to your own choices, but backgammon takes a bit of luck. The dice act as a random number generator. The dice can cause trailing players to get ahead or speed up a player’s winning run.

While luck is an element in backgammon, in the long run the better player will always win. Backgammon is a game of skill, but few people will argue this. You can get lucky and beat a stronger player in any game, but you will eventually lose.

It’s an old game

People have been playing backgammon for over 5000 years, making it one of the oldest and best known board games in the world. The game comes from Persia, present-day Iran and Iraq. Although backgammon was a game of skill, it was played in casinos. Nowadays it is getting difficult to find this game in brick and mortar casinos.

When the game was very popular, James Bond played it too. In the movie Octopussy, James Bond takes on the villainous Kamal Khan in a game of high stakes backgammon. Switching the dice in the final move of the game makes Bond win.

No Backgammon in casinos

The game has moved away from land-based casinos, but backgammon is still popular all over the world. Online casinos offer the game in various forms. You can play online against an opponent or play the stripped-down version where you play against the house with only two pieces. In this game, players only have the options: ‘jump’, ‘out’ and ‘doubles’.