Backgammon FAQ - Basic Backgammon Strategy for Beginners

These Backgammon Tips were taken from the Backgammon FAQ at the newsgroup rec.games.backgammon. 
Single checkers (blots) on a point are vulnerable to enemy attack and must start over if hit by n opponent's checker. Two or more checkers on a point are safe from attack and can also be used for blocking or trapping your opponent. 

Basically, backgammon game is a race to see who takes off all of his checkers first. However, the shortest distance between two points is not always a straight line. Most beginners, rarely leave exposed checkers and hit as often as they can. As you will find out, this seemingly logical approach is not the best backgammon strategy. The following is a simplification of some of the factors that you should consider in forming a winning game plan:


Distribution is how evenly your checkers are divided among the points occupied. It is usually better to have 3 checkers each on two different points rather than 4 checkers one and 2 on the other. You should rarely have six checkers on a point and almost never have any more. A backgammon player with even distribution will seemingly get "luckier" dice than his less flexible opponent.


Don't be afraid to leave shots early in the game to establish a strong offense or defense. Be more cautious as your enemy's home board gets stronger. The more points he has in his home board, the more difficult it will be for you to re-enter after being hit. 
Conversely, the more points that you control in your enemy's home board (anchors) the bolder you may play. Even if his board is weak, limit the number of blots (single checkers) to no more than four. If you are significantly ahead in the race or position, then restrict your exposure to maintain your lead.

Blocking and Priming

Try to build points without gaps between them directly in front of the enemy checkers in your home board to prevent their escape. Establishing these critical points as early as possible in approximate order of importance: 5, 4, 7 to start your blockade. Six points in a row is called a prime. This makes it impossible for your opponent to escape for as long as you can maintain that structure.


Try to hit checkers that are the most advanced or checkers that your opponent would like to cover to establish an important point. Attack only when it is advantageous to do so. For example, if you already have two enemy checkers on the bar, it is more critical to make another point in your home board than to hit a third checker. Also refrain from hitting if it makes you more vulnerable than your opponent. Keep your objectives in mind and don't be side-tracked. However, there is an old backgammon adage that still carries weight, "When in doubt, hit."


Anchoring is establishing a defensive point (anchor) in your enemies home board . This gives you a landing spot to come in on should you get hit and prevents your opponent from making his home board. Early in the game try to establish anchors on the higher points (20,21). If you become significantly behind in the race, the lower points (22,23,24) have more value as your strategy is to build your home board and wait for a shot. If you have two