Backgammon Terminology/Glossary


Backgammon is a board game for 2 players played on a board which consists of 24 thin triangles (points) in alternating colors. Each player gets 15 checkers which are arranged in a specific format across the board and the aim of the game is for each player to move their pieces into their home board (side) and then completely remove the checkers from the board.

Backgammon is a game with a very rich history, from Ancient Egypt. The game is a simple one to learn with a few basic rules and strategic moves which is enjoyed by all.

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Backgammon Terminology

Accept a Double
To agree to an offer to double the current stakes of the game.

A rolled die with a number 1 face.

Ace Point
The one-point on the backgammon board

Acey Deucy
A rolled dice combination of 1 and 2.

A variation of backgammon in which the above roll gives a player extra turns.

Action Play
A game play tactic that is intended to provoke hits, usually used after the opponent has escaped his runners.

Active Builder
A checker which is available to create an extra point.

Advanced Anchor
An anchor located on the opponent’s 4 or 5-point.

A point created in the opponent’s inner board.

Ahead of the Count
Having a lower pip count than one’s opponent.

Anti Joker
A very bad roll of the dice.

A group of the opponent’s checkers that work together to block and hit the other player’s checkers.

Around the Corner
Moving checkers from the opponent’s outer board to the player’s inner board.

Attacking Game
AKA Blitz – An attacking gaming strategy.

Automatic Doubles
An optional rule which allows players who have thrown the same opening dice combination to automatically double the stakes on the doubling cube. Generally limited to the amount of times this can be performed.

Awkward Numbers
A roll of dice that forces the player to break a point or to abandon a shot.

Back Game
A defensive gaming strategy which is used when a player has two or more points on the opponent’s inner board.

Back Man
A checker in the opponent’s inner board.

A completed game in which the loser has not borne off any checkers and still has one checker in the winner’s home board or on the bar.

The raised ridge which runs down the middle of the backgammon board. Once checkers have been hit, they are placed on the bar.

Bar Point
The points next to the bar in the outer boards (7-point and 18-point).

Bear In
To move checkers into one’s inner board, in preparation to bear off.

Bear Off
To remove checkers from the board according to the roll of dice.

Bear On
To be within six points of another point.

Beaver Rule
An automatic redouble by a player who just accepted a double.

Behind in the Count
Having a higher pip count pip count than one’s opponent.

An attacking game strategy intended on hitting an opponent’s blots.

A point with two or more checkers intended to slow down one’s opponent.

A series of blocks intended to siege the opponent’s runners.

A single checker on a point, very vulnerable of being hit by the opponent.

Box Cars
A roll of double sixes.

Break a Point
To move a checker, creating a blot on the point.

Break a Prime
To move a checker, creating a blot on a prime.

Broken Prime
When five of the six points are made, but the sixth has no checkers.

Build One’s Board
To create points in one’s home board.

A checker around which more supporting checkers are added.

To hit a blot, sending it to the bar.

Bury a Checker
To make a blot powerless by burying it within one’s home board.

Many checkers stacked on a few points.

To throw the dice.

Checkers spread all over the board which are intended to increase the chances of hitting an opponent’s blot.

To play in a reckless manner, when accepting or offering the doubling cube, intended to cover one’s losses quickly.

A single playing piece.

Clear a Point
To remove all the checkers from one particular point.

Close Out
A tactic which creates a prime in a player’s home board, when the opponent has a checkers on the bar.

Closed Point
An inaccessible point due to the fact that it has two or more checkers on it.

Combination Shot
A tactic whereby both rolls of the dice are needed to hit an opponent’s blot.

Comeback Shot
Hitting an opponent from the bar or within one turn of having been hit.

Contain a Checker
To stop the opponent from moving a blot to their side of the board, by blocking and hitting.

Control a Point
To have two or more pieces on a point, making it inaccessible to the opponent.

Cover a Blot
To move a second checker onto a point.

Cube Decision
To accept the cube double or not.

Cube Play
Offering the doubling cube.

Dead Checker
A checker stuck in one’s home board.

Dead Cube
The doubling cube when there is no reason to continue doubling the stakes.

Deep Anchor
A point occupied by two or more of the player’s checkers on the opponents 1 or 2-point.

A roll of dice 1 + 1.

Direct Hit
Hitting a blot using only one dice.

Direct Range
A blot vulnerable to being hit within the roll of one die – within the range of six points of the opponent’s pieces.

Direct Shot
The possibility to hit one’s opponent’s blot with the roll of only one die.

An offer to an opponent to double the stakes for the game, by using the doubling cube.

Double Hit
To move one or two checkers in order to land on two of the opponent’s blots within one turn.

Double Shot
Double of a direct shot; a blot vulnerable of being hit by two different checkers.

Doubling Cube
A dice with the faces 2,4,8, 16, 32, 64 to indicate the stakes of the current game.

To refuse a double, forfeiting the game at its current stakes.

Edge of a Prime
An empty point directly in front of a prime.

End Game
The last moves of a game, when the first player begins to bear off.

To land one’s checkers back on the opponent’s home board after being hit. Entering is dependent on there being an open point and all a player’s checkers must be entered before any other move can be made.

To move past the opponent’s blockade, especially in their home or outer board, and to avoid being hit by the opponent.

Exposed Checker
A blot which is within range of a direct hit.

Field Goal
When two of an opponent’s checkers are within range of being hit and the player rolls dice which will land his checkers on the empty points between the blots.

Forced Play
A roll which allows only one legal move.

Full Prime
Six consecutive points of the same player, preventing the opponent of moving any of their checkers past.

A game which ends with the loser still having all their checkers on the board. The doubling cube is doubled in this case.

The unoccupied spaces between made points.

Golden Point
The opponent’s 5-point, due to its strategic value to the game.

Heavy Point
A made point with four or more checkers located on it.

Landing on the opponent’s blot, sending it to the bar.

Hit and Split
Hitting the opponent’s blot and then splitting the runners

Hit and Cover
Hitting the opponent’s blot and then moving to safety.

Holding Game
A game strategy which stops the opponent from bearing off before the other player.

Home Board
AKA inner board – The quadrant of the board which a player has to move all their checkers before bearing off.

Illegal Move
A move which is played incorrectly, not according to the rolled dice.

Indirect Hit
A hit which requires using both dice.

Indirect Shot
The ability to hit the opponent’s blots by using two dice.

Initial Double
The first offer of a double.

Jacoby Rule
A rule which reduces gammons and backgammons to single stakes if no doubles have been offered during a game.

Key Point
The last point needed to complete a prime.

Kill a Checker
To move a blot deep into a player’s home board.

Lover’s Leap
The opening roll of a 6-5, when a checker is moved from the opponent’s 1-point to the player’s mid point.

Make a Point
Placing two checkers on a point, blocking the opponent from occupying the space.

Make One’s Board
To move a checker to complete having two or more checkers on all the points in a player’s home board.

Mid Point
A player’s 13-point, and the opponent’s 12-point.

Minor Split
Moving runners from the opponent’s 1-point to their 2-point or 3-point.

Move Out
To change a checker’s position from the opponent’s home board to their outer board.

On Roll
The player’s turn to roll.

On the Bar
The location where blots are placed after being hit.

Open Point
A position on the board that has not yet been occupied by any checkers.

Opening Game
The opening moves of a game, where players decide upon a strategy.

Opening Roll
The initial throw of the dice by each player which decides who goes first and what the opening moves will be.

Outer Board
A player’s space of the board between 7-point and 12-point.

Own the Cube
To be in control of the doubling cube.

Partial Prime
Less than six consecutive points made by the player.

Pick and Pass
A move which allows a player to hit an opponent’s blot and then to move to a made point.

The difference between any point numbers on the board.

Pip Count
The total number of points that a player must move his checkers before bearing them off.

The 24 long pointed triangles in alternative colors on a backgammon board, on which the checkers are placed a specified manner.

Six consecutive points made by a player.

When a player can’t move their checker’s past the opponent’s prime.

Priming Game
A game which uses primes as the major tactic for preventing an opponent from moving their checkers past.

Pure Race
When both player’s checkers are clear of one another and move towards the home board to start bearing off.

The four sections of the backgammon board.

A roll of double 4 (4-4).

A player’s position in the game according to the pip counts.

Refuse a Double
To decline an offer to double the current stakes.

To forfeit the game.


Moving a runner from the opponent’s home board to one’s own home board as quickly as possible.

The checkers located on the opponent’s 1-point at the start of the game.

Running Game
A game strategy which focuses on moving checkers to the home board and moving them off as quickly as possible.

Safe Play
A play which leaves no blots open or in vulnerable positions.

Safety a Checker
To move a blot out of hit range.

Safety Up
To remove a blot from danger, by covering it or moving it out of range.

Save Backgammon
Moving all the checkers off the opponent’s home board before they bear off all of their checkers.

Save Gammon
To bear off the first checker before the opponent has finished bearing off all their checkers.

The opportunity to hit an opponent’s blot.

Single Shot
A single blot which can only be hit in one way.

To move a blot on a point with the intention of covering it up on the next move.

Slot and Split
To place a blot, intending to cover it up on the next move, by splitting the runners.

Snake Eyes
A roll of double 1s (1-1)

Spare Checker
A checker that is available to either hit or make a point without leaving a blot open.

To separate two checker from the same point, forming two blots.

More than four checkers on one point.

Starting Position
The location of the checkers at the start of play.

Strip a Point
To move all but two checkers from one point.

Touch Down
To temporarily land on an open point after playing one or two numbers.

Trap Play
A game tactic which tries to squeeze the opponent off their anchor.

Under the Gun
A single blot, on the opponent’s home board, in range of a few builders.

Posted by CCJ Team