backgammon strategy for beginners

Backgammon Strategy For Beginners and Opening Moves

Developing a strategy in the backgammon game takes patience, practice, and persistence. You can master them if you are familiar with the basic moves and rules that govern them.

That’s why I recommend for beginners to start with the common backgammon strategies that are already been used and proven.

This guide here will teach 3 backgammon strategies for beginners that can help you win you first game. Also, will talk about the opening moves that are most successful in backgammon.

The idea is to star with a defensive move to protect your stakes. Then you can think of moving all your pieces onto your home-board before the opponent. Then you can bear-off and win.

Let’s dive into the details.

Backgammon Strategy For Beginners: Three Strategies To Master


Ultimate goal of Backgammon game is to bear-off at the earliest. You can do it in three possible ways.

The first strategy is to avoid clashing with the opponent’s pieces and move your pieces onto your home-board. Then you can bear them off. It is called the running strategy.


The second strategy is to create blocks for your opponent’s pieces. You can do it by distributing your pieces evenly across the board. The technique is to have two or three pieces on each triangle o the opponent’s path.

Then you can move your pieces onto your home-board before he can clear the blocks and move his pieces. It is called the blocking strategy.


The third strategy is to hit and run. Here, you wait for the opponent to have only one piece on the triangle. Then you can hit and send it to the bar.

But you have to make sure of blocking that triangle with two of your pieces. At the same time, you have to plan your moves to complete the home-board quickly.

There are many other advanced strategies for experienced players.

In this article, we shall explore the three strategies for beginners and see how to avoid the risks of losing.

We have not covered the doubling cube here since our aim is to show you the basic techniques and strategies.

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1. Backgammon Running Strategy

What is it? As the name suggests, it is to keep running your pieces through the free triangles without clashing with the opponent. It is stated to be the quickest way of reaching the home-board for bear-off.

Why Use it: In a commoner’s language, you can call it water flow technique. It is to find the path of least resistance and move your pieces. The probability winning is high. Risk of losing points and ending up on the bar is also very low, though it is existent.

How to apply it?  You can use the combination of Five and Six to move your pieces. It is stated to be one way of ensuring fewer of your pieces on the opponent’s home board. You can also ensure you go past his pieces without any risks.

You need to avoid the situation in which your single piece is on the triangle. It can invite the opponent to hit and send it to the bar.

The other possible dice combinations are 3 and 1, 6 and 3, 5 and 3, and 2 and 1. You may choose to add up the dice-numbers and move only one piece. Or you may move two pieces for each dice-number.

But you should be aware of occupying the free triangles with more than two pieces and fewer than four pieces.

2. Backgammon Blocking Strategy

What is it? Blocking is more of defensive strategy. It is also a way of distributing your pieces across the triangles in numbers of minimum two and maximum three. It can prevent your opponent from moving his pieces freely. It will also reduce the possibility of hitting your pieces.

Why Use it? The strategy will allow you to plan your running game without worrying about being outsmarted by the opponent. You get plenty of time to move your pieces smoothly.

How to apply it? Six-Prime-Block is stated to be the most recommended method for blocking. You have to occupy the six consecutive points on the board when your opponent’s pieces are on the fourth. Then you can plan your running strategy for moving your pieces onto the home-board.

How long to keep the prime block depends on how quickly you move the other points. Make sure you don’t keep more than two pieces in one point for a longer time. At the same time, you have to keep shifting the pieces ahead with the same six-prim-block pattern.

The other probable way is to block four or five points in the series. Then you can keep moving your pieces in the same pattern.

The strategy helps you to keep your pieces on board without hitting the bar. At the same time, it keeps your pieces moving ahead without any blocks from your opponent.

3. Backgammon Hit-and-Run Strategy

What is it? Basically, it is an offensive strategy. You target the points where your opponent has only one piece. Te you hit and occupy it with your pieces. Then you can run your pieces ahead towards your home-board.

Why use it? The trick is to put your opponent on the defensive moves. He will only think of saving his pieces from being hit rather than moving ahead. It gives you an opportunity to move your pieces ahead.

How to apply it? When you plan to hit, you must be ready to get hit. The trick is to push your pieces from the bar onto the opponent’s home-board and block the points there.

You must avoid hitting them too often when more of your pieces are on his home-board. Then he may block your points and put you on hold. Similarly, you can afford to get hit when more of opponent’s pieces are on your home board.

You should keep at least two of your pieces on one point to avoid getting hit when the game is equally poised. The hit-and-run strategy works best when your opponent has the higher probability of moving his pieces over to his home board. Hitting will force him to start from the first point.

Backgammon Opening Strategy For Beginners

You can use the combination of blocking and running strategies to open your game.  You must take care of blocking the point numbers five, four, and the bar-point at the beginning.

Use the other points to keep moving the rest of your pieces ahead.

You can keep the bar-pint occupied as long as possible. It will keep your opponent on the bar, once you start hitting his pieces.

At the same time you have to make sure that your opponent is not blocking your way ahead. So, you need to keep an eye on his strategies and the next probable moves.

Final Words

You can use a combination of three strategies in your game. But you should know when to use it without running into the risk of losing too much.

Practice with experienced players to improve your strategy. You will get to learn from your mistakes. So, don’t hesitate to move your pieces in random order even if it means taking more risks.

And remember, practice makes perfect.