Backgammon – 3 General Strategies

In very simple terms, there are three fundamental game plans employed. You want to be agile enough to switch game plans almost instantly as the action of the game unfolds.

The Blockade

This is composed of assembling a 6-deep wall of pieces, or at a minimum as thick as you might achieve, to block in your opponent’s pieces that are located on your 1-point. This is judged to be the most adequate strategy at the start of the game. You can assemble the wall anywhere inbetween your eleven-point and your 2-point and then shuffle it into your home board as the game progresses.

The Blitz

This is comprised of closing your home board as quick as possible while keeping your opposer on the bar. For example, if your challenger tosses an early two and shifts one checker from your 1-point to your three-point and you then toss a five-five, you can play six/one six/one eight/three 8/3. Your challenger is then in big-time dire straits considering that they have two pieces on the bar and you have closed half your inside board!

The Backgame

This strategy is where you have two or higher checkers in your competitor’s home board. (An anchor is a position consisting of at least two of your checkers.) It must be employed when you are decidedly behind as this action much improves your circumstances. The best locations for anchors are towards your opponent’s lower points and also on adjacent points or with a single point separating them. Timing is integral for an effective backgame: after all, there is no reason having 2 nice anchors and a complete wall in your own home board if you are then required to break down this straight away, while your opposer is moving their checkers home, because you do not have any other extra checkers to move! In this situation, it is more favorable to have checkers on the bar so that you can maintain your position up until your opposer provides you an opportunity to hit, so it can be a good idea to attempt and get your opposer to get them in this case!

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