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The famous Backgammon game in Java. Let your neurons work!


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Jouez au Backgammon – faites-vous des amis!

Backgammon is played on a board divided into four sectors or boards, with each board having 6 points of alternating colour. In the picture the red checkers move anti clockwise to the home board at bottom right . Conversely the pale green checkers move clockwise to their home board at top right. The first player to bear off (remove) all their checkers from the board wins.

The points are numbered 1 (first point in the home board) to 24 (last point in the opponent’s home board).

To start off, each player throws a die to determine order of play. Thereafter two dice are thrown at the start of each player’s turn. Checkers must be moved according to the pips (number) on the dice. Throwing 5-3 allows one checker to move three points and the other five points. Alternatively move one checker three points then five points (or five then three).

If two numbers of the same value are thrown this is equivalent to four dice of that value. This is called a double. For example throwing 5-5 moves four checkers five points, one checker ten points and two checkers five points etc.

In the unusual case where either checker can be moved but not both, the highest number is used. If no movement is possible he cedes the turn.

A checker can only land or step on a point when it is, empty, occupied by checkers of the same colour or holds an opponent’s single checker. A single checker is called a blot and when hit is sent to the bar which divides the board.

Before a player does anything else all his checkers on the bar must be entered onto an available point in the opponents home board. For example 3-6 places the checker on the the third point and optionally the the ninth.

With all the checkers in the home board you can start to bear them off. If a checker is hit you will have to wait until it enters the opponent’s home board from the bar and returns. The rules of bearing off are if there is a checker on the point corresponding to a die it can be borne off. If it is a vacant point and there is a checker on a lower point and none higher it can be borne off. Whilst if there is a checker occupying a higher point it must be moved within the home board. Finally remember that bearing off isn’t compulsory.


The winner is the first to remove all their checkers. With the loser having removed at least one checker this scores one point. If the loser failed to remove any checkers a gammon is scored which is worth two points. If the loser still had a checker on the bar or opponents home board a backgammon is scored worth three points.

Doubling Cube

If a player receives an offer of the doubling cube, he can either accept it and play for higher stakes or decline it and forfeit the game and one point. The initial offer is for double the stakes. An ordinary win is worth two points, a gammon four points and backgammon six points. In turn if the receiver believes he has the advantage it can be redoubled to four times the stake and indeed be redoubled without limit.

The doubling cube is used wherever the absolute number of points won is important. In gambling and in matches played up to some set points.

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