I complete the rules by introducing the cube and its significance in the game. In essence the cube is like a raise in poker, and I explain the scoring system of backgammon, and how you can use the cube to get more points out of a game.
In this video I continue to look at the cube, its doubling capablility, and how it turns Backgammon into a game of skill over luck. As a very rough guide the cube should be offered to your opponent when you are 75% sure you will win, conversely you should accept the cube when you are 25% or better to win.
However a LOT of this is down to judgement, particularly how you perceive your opponent. If hes a gambler you might want to leave it later (perhaps 80-85% to win) to get your opponent to make a mistake in accepting the cube.
I talk about the most important "points" or places on the board to gain an advantage over your opponent. However if you are starting out in the game, and you are playing other beginners, you'll often see your opponent racing you around the board. You need to have some strategies in place to defend against such an opponent who can get lucky against you.
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These players are looking for "safe" moves. Moves where they are not leaving any "shots" (or chances to be hit). This is a poor idea, because if the rolls don't go your way, you'll end up leaving shots anyway, plus you are less likely to be building "primes". Primes are consecutive points that are covered. (Not hittable). Creating primes will limit your opponents good moves.
I play through a typical beginner game, reaching an ugly position where both players have many checkers on jsut a few points (making the whole game become luck based - as one player will offer a shot sooner or later).
Good play in backgammon is about timing. Timing of using your prime in conjunction with bringing up your back checkers and baring off safely. Each decision should be thought about against the percantage chance of the move benefiting you the most if replayed many times over. Learn the percentage play in each sitaution by practising against a computer opponent (jellyfish etc).
I look at opening rolls, stating with the best dice rolls for you. 3-1,6-1,1-1, building rolls 5-4,4-3,5-2,5-3. 5-3 can also be used to make the 3 point in your inner board (but its not a very co-ordinated opening roll played like this). You can also run with one man 6-5,6-4,6-3,6-2.
There are also split moves - where you hope to make the 5 or bar point on the next turn, 4-1,5-1,2-1
Also If you move 2nd you could roll a double, 6-6 (a fantastic start), 5-5, 4-4, 3-3, 2-2, and 1-1 (the last of which is also an excellent roll). with 4-4 you get to have an advanced anchor which is great, 3-3 you make your 5 point and have an advanced anchor. 2-2 is the more flexible (see the video for places to go to).
Slotting moves like 4-1 are risky but if they work give you a great start.
More on slotting openings 2-1, can be played agressively. There is also the 5-1. The thing about these moves is that you are entering into a hitting game where both you an your opponent will hit each other and someone will emerge with an advantage and his 5 point covered.
After the opening you may get into a "holding game", this is where both players may well have primes and two advanced anchors. The first person to "break down" and offer a shot that is hit will be at a big dissadvantage. So timing is very important here.
Enjoying the series so far? Is it all making sense? Feel free to let me know your thoughts below and comment.Now we look at the attacking game and priming game. This is the fun of the game, coping with tricky positions and pitting your wit against both your opponent and the dice! I conclude the turorial with a look at the most common dice probabilities that you'll need to commit to memory.
In the attacking game you play agressively (i.e. take risks) to make points in your inner board. You put all your effort into making these points and hitting your opponents chequers as he re-enteres off of the bar. If you play like this (and you get off to a good (lucky) start), then offering the cube early is a good idea to put your opponent mentaly on the defensive and to get more out of the game.
Of course this type of game is risky and you quite frankly risk losing as well. Perhaps you would play like this if you find that your opponent is uncomfortable in these situations.
I play through a game in this fashion and it turns out to be a great example where I (almost) win before my opponent gets a lucky shot (a 1-1).
In this attacking game, you get to see the agony that is backagammon. I have an attack where my opponent gets a lucky hit, and suddenly my timing is out, my prime at risk. So the game changes into a more even affair. At my level of play this happends, I've seen master levels of play too where they get very unlucky and have to deal with it.
In this game I try to keep my primes, leaving the safest possible shots and watch in horror as my (fake) opponnent comes back into it. Also as my primes start to break up I leave shots at the end of the prime.
Continuing my trial attacking game which goes wrong, we look at what happends when you can't quite control your end game and your timing is out. In this example brown got hit just as he was about to get to the baring off stage, then his opponent gets into a smililar position whith brown now having two chequers in whites inner board (the point is covered).
Browns prime is ruined, but white has to bear off ... sure enough white rolls a very unlucky 6-5 and brown is presented with an opportunity to get back in the game.
This is quite typical of the swings and turnarounds you get in backgammon, and further jsutification as to why you need to play a series of games against an opponent to prove you are the superior player.
To round off the series on how to play backgammon I cover dice roll probabilities. It is well worth studying these percentages to maximise your hitting chances, plus avoiding being hit and rentry chances off from the bar.
I hope you have enjoyed this series on backgammon, please do leave your comments. If I inspired you to take up the game - great! - let me know. That would be good to hear. :-)