Backgammon – Pieces of the Board

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 32,292
    Vic Morawksi, expert backgammoner, teaches the basic to the game including the pieces in a standard Backgammon set and what you will need to get started and play the game.

    Vic Morawski: Hi, I am Vic and today we are introducing you to the game of Backgammon. We would like to look now at the pieces in a standard Backgammon set and what you will need to get started and play the game.

    Here you see a standard tournament sized Backgammon set. Now, most of you, unless you are going to only play at home or want to get a set that folds up like this set does, note the set is divided into two halves or segments and each half has points in it, there are a total of 24 triangular shaped points in a Backgammon set and we think of these as divided into four quadrants and we will talk about this a little bit more later. Basically, each player gets 15 playing pieces, these are referred to sometimes as stones. We are going to most of the time use the term checkers. A nice nine gender term and however sometime, they are still referred to as man in certain circles.

    Basically, the dice in a Backgammon set, if you look at these are rounded on the corners and that's not an accident. In the small space of a Backgammon set, they give you a better roll. So, unless you have a very old set, your dice are going to round.

    Now, these dice have something special about them, that probably your set will not, in fact most tournament players use precision dice, just because it will give them an actual roll of the dice, that's close to what the rules of chance or the laws of probability would say the dice should do. But these are expensive and if you are just starting out you are not going to buy precision dice, but recognize that even if you play at a local Backgammon club, your opponent might insist that use their precision dice and they have a right to do so. Each player gets a matching set of dice cups.

    Now, you will notice these also have a lip, again this is to give you a better roll so that the dice will toss out and you get a good honest roll of the dice. Sometimes when people are playing informally, they will just roll the dice in their hands. However, while you might do this in the comfort of your living room or drawing room, recognize that if you come out to play at even a local club tournament, you will be required to use the dice cups.

    Now, this further piece that looks like a big die, does not get roll, you do not toss it. Basically, this has to do with marking who last doubled, if you are playing -- and it's called the doubling cube, it is an invention that's relatively recent in the history of backgammon, dating back to the late 1920's, somewhere at some club in New York and it's a good way, the best way that people have found over the years to mark who has doubled.

    So, these are the parts to standard Backgammon set, just one more thing, the set is divided down the middle by an area, that we call the bar and literally, we will see later, when a checker is hit, it is literally placed on the bar. Next, we will talk about the rules of the game.

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