Basic Backgammon Strategies

Backgammon is not just a game of chance. It is also a game of skill and strategy. Fortunately, more experienced players are willing to share some proven backgammon strategies.

Backgammon Strategy 1: The Running Game

The running game is usually recommended for beginners. It is the simplest strategy to follow and involves attempting to move around the board as fast as possible, thereby avoiding hits, traps and stand-offs.

Backgammon Strategy 2: The Holding Game

The holding game is more complicated than the running game. It involves establishing so-called anchors, meaning checkers intentionally left on certain strategic points on your opponent's side.

The purpose of this strategy is to block your opponent's progress back to his side and to have a position from which to hit an opponent's blot. It also provides you with a reserved landing spot for any hit piece trying to get back in. The holding game could likewise pave the way for a prime.

Backgammon Strategy 3: The Priming Game

As introduced earlier, the priming game develops from the holding game. Creating a prime means occupying several adjacent points so as to block your opponent's progress.

The best goal is to build a full prime, meaning occupying six adjacent points. This is most effective when situated right in front of your opponent's checkers.

Backgammon Strategy 4: The Blitz Game

The blitz game is an offshoot of a successful priming game. It involves occupying your entire home board in quick moves, leaving your opponent stranded on the bar. This can win you a gammon.

Backgammon Strategy 5: The Backgame

Sometimes, the holding game and the priming game do not develop into a blitz. Instead, your anchors are left deep in your opponent's territory. When this happens, the backgame is recommended.

In the backgame, instead of hitting your opponent with your anchors, you allow your opponent to build a prime. While doing this, you can even allow your own checkers to get hit to bide time. You are waiting for the moment when your opponent runs out of good moves before you yourself run out. Your opponent will be forced to break prime before you.

These are the basic backgammon game strategies to learn and practice early on. They may seem simple but can be quite difficult to implement in actual game situations. Only frequent and diligent use of the strategies will give you the ability to wield them well in any game situation. From this foundation you can then build further skills.