Backgammon Terms

In order to understand and play backgammon correctly, it is necessary to know backgammon terms. If you want to learn backgammon, you do not need to know the terms by heart, but it is advantageous to have heard them before. In our Backgammon Wiki we put together the most important backgammon terms:


Rejecting refers to the rejection of an offered double. The game ends immediately, the player who has doubled the value of the double cube wins.


The term ‚removal‘ refers to the clearing of one’s own home pitch in the final phase of the game. You can only begin to bear off your stones once all your stones are in your home board.

Ace Point

The Ace Point is the one point. It is the first point in the home field. If the opponent has reached his one point, it is simultaneously his own 24 point and vice versa.


Action is a term used by players for the possibility of playing for real money.

Action Play

The Action Play is a move which tries to force the contact and is usually performed by the player who is behind in the game.

Active helper

The active helper is the stone, which is located up to six eyes from a certain point. You want to occupy this point and it is actually used to occupy the point.

Attacking Game

The attacking game refers to the game of defeating the opponent by frequently hitting the checkers and closing the home field. This way of playing is also known as „blitz“.

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An anchor is an occupied point in the opponent’s home board which is occupied by two or more checkers.


If a double is accepted then this is called a double: Accept. An acceptance is made like this: The player who accepts places the double cube on his side outside the field and says „I accept“. The player now has the right to double again, since he owns the cube.


The own outfield is limited by the points 7-12. The opponent’s outfield is limited by the points 13-18.

Playing out is another term for removal.


The goal of this game is to beat blots while removing them.


Backgammon denotes the game outcome with 3 times the value. If the opponent still has at least one checker on the bar or is in the opponent’s home board, backgammon is scored.


Beaver Regel in Backgammon
The Beaver Rule – named after the animal Bieber

The directly renewed doubling is described by the beavern (Biebern).

Example: A player doubles his game to 2 – the opposing player can again double to 4 in the same turn. Another variant of the Beaver is described by the Racoon, i.e. the Raccoon.


A blot is a single stone on a point on the board that can be hit by the opposing stone.


Chouette (pronounced „Schu:et“) is a form of play in which several players are involved in a game of backgammon at the same time.

One player plays „in the box“, he plays completely alone against one team (the other players). The team is led by a captain, which means that he draws and rolls the dice, the other players have the function of advisors.

If there is any doubt, the captain decides for the team.

Crawford’s rule

The rule, which was coined by the American gaming expert John Randolph Crawford, states that doubles may not be played in a match if a player is one point away from winning the match. The rule therefore has its sense and origin, because the player with an advantage could „automatically“ double without taking any risk. John R. Crawford became vice world champion in backgammon several times and understood the game like few people do.

Cross Over

Cross Over refers to the playing of the stones from one quarter to the next.


Diversification refers to the distribution of the checkers with the aim of increasing the number of good dice combinations on the next roll of the dice.


Duplicating describes the game of placing one’s own checkers in such a way that the opponent has as few favorable rolls as possible.


The stake is the value for which a match or game is played. The Initial Stake is the specific amount per point which is set at the beginning of a game. The Current Stake is the current amount, which is the original bet multiplied by the value of the doubling cube.

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Playing in, also known as stacking, refers to the re-entry of an already captured checker from the bar into the opponent’s home board.


The term „escape“ is the removal of one’s own checker from the opponent’s home board and at the same time moving it over the opponent’s bar point.


Equity refers to the probability of winning a game.


A backgammon board is divided into 4 playing fields. Each player has an outside and a home field.

Full Prime

The full prime is the largest possible blockade, also called the prime. A full prime cannot be skipped by opposing checkers because six consecutive points are occupied. The highest possible number of points on a die cannot provide this number.


Gammon refers to the outcome of the backgammon game, the value of the game is doubled. In this game, a player has managed to bear off his own checkers before his opponent could bear off a single checker.

Holding Game

The holding game refers to the game in which you play with a forward anchor until the final phase. The fact that the anchor is in the opponent’s field puts pressure on the opponent.


is also referred to as home field. The home board is the points one to six, i.e. the first quarter of the entire board, in which all blots must be played before the Bear Off can be started.

Indirect Shot

A blot which is at least 7 squares away and where there is the possibility of hitting is called an indirect shot.

Jacoby rule

The Jacoby Rule was named after Oswald Jacoby. It is not used in tournaments, but in the money game – that is, when playing for money. The rule states that backgammon and gammon do not count until the doubling cube has been used, i.e. before doubling. This is relevant when counting at the end of the game and the points are counted. So a single game, a double game (gammon) or a triple game (backgammon). You can read more about counting and the end of the game here.


The backgammon case is a way to play backgammon on a board. The backgammon case is opened and unfolds the playing field with the individual quadrants or fields inside. There are many different types of backgammon cases, so it is worth informing yourself before buying a case.


The contact is the position where stones can be hit. This means that both players are not yet past all the opponent’s stones with their own stones.


Runners are checkers that are far from home in the game, but are not yet blockers.

Running game

A running game is also called a racing game.


A match refers to a series of games that have the goal of being the first in all games to reach a certain score. It does not matter how high the score is won.


Money Game

A money game (playing backgammon for money) is basically the original form of a backgammon game. In contrast to a match, the individual games are played independently. The winnings consist of both players betting a certain amount (stake), which is multiplied by the result.

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Backgammon variant named after its inventor Nack Ballard. In nackgammon, the basic set-up is slightly changed, but the normal backgammon rules remain the same.

There are only 4 checkers on point 6 and 13 instead of the usual 5, but 2 checkers are placed on point 23. Thus, as a player with 4 checkers, you must escape from the opponent’s home board.

Outer Board

Outer Board is the English term for the outfield. The fields in backgammon are divided into the inner and outer board. In backgammon, the checkers are placed with this backgammon setup in both squares.


Points are the triangular playing fields on which the game pieces are placed.


A Prime (German: Blockade), is a series of successively occupied points, which make it difficult or even impossible for the opponent to play the blots behind them. A full prime is the biggest blockade.


A quadrant is one of the 4 divisions of the board. There are 6 points in each quadrant.


An addition to the Beaver Rule is called Racoon – the raccoon as the animal equivalent of the beaver. In tournament play this rule is rather unusual, which says that after a Beaver (direct doubling after accepting the double), the opposing player can double this again directly, i.e. achieve a direct eightfold increase.


Recirculation refers to a method of play in which the blots are kept in the game by hitting them and then returning to the game, as they then land in the opponent’s quadrant.


Slotting refers to the preparation to occupy a point. A single blot is placed on a point so that it can be occupied in the next turn. The danger here is the chance of being beaten as long as the point stands alone.

Deep anchor

A deep anchor or in English Deep Anchor means an occupied point (at least 2 blots) which is located on point 1, 2 or 3 of the opponent.

Undoubled Gammon

The term Undoubled Gammon can occur in a match in which you win a gammon while the doubling cube has not yet been used. The game played is therefore worth two points.



Backgammon Uhr
Often chess clocks are used as backgammon clocks

The backgammon watch is used in tournaments. It should be noted that players are not entitled to a backgammon clock, but it can be used to complete the tournament within a reasonable time after a warning about the duration of play. If you want to buy a backgammon clock in a shop, you will often find chess clocks that allow you to play time.

Doubling Cube

The doubling cube is a cube with the following eyes: 2,4,8,16,32 and 64.
At the beginning of each game, the doubling cube is placed in the middle of the board and each player has the right to double. If a player doubles, the cube is placed on the side of the other player, who now has the right to double. The current value of the double is always shown on the top of the dice.

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Wastage describes the number of pips wasted in the dice roll. The wastage is generated by blots which are placed on the deep points.

Dice Theory

In backgammon, many of the decisions and moves depend on the probabilities on the dice and to estimate these correctly. With the same probability, 36 different combinations of dice can be made with two dice. Everything starts with the setup of Backgammon, since the dice numbers are based on it.

Yankee Seven

The Yankee Seven is a term for the throw from six to one.

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