Helpful Backgammon Glossary

by Gene Marshall

Backgammon is a game that has been passed down through the millennium. The Backgammon rules of the Backgammon board game in use today were officially codified in the United States in the 1930s. This list of Backgammon terms have been commonly used to describe the game and game strategies throughout the past century. For those who play Backgammon, using this Backgammon lingo is important to both understanding and successfully competing in the game.

Outside Prime: A prime composed of points that mostly or fully exist in the Outer Board.

Own a Point: To possess a point with two or more checkers.

Own the Cube: After you have been challenged to and accepted a double, you will then retain possession of the cube and thus the ability to raise the stakes once again with another double.

Pip Count: Calculated by multiplying the number of checkers on every point by the point's assigned number, and then adding each of these totals together. Each player begins the Backgammon game with a pip count total of 167.

Pips: This term has two meanings. 1) Backgammon moves are counted in these units. 2) The specific number of dots on each side of the die that total to equal the side value of the die (1 through 6).

Points: The 24 triangle-shaped dividers on a Backgammon set. There are 12 points on each side of the Backgammon board.

Prime: A strategic move in Backgammon in which a player occupies several points in a row, blocking their opponent from moving forward in the game.

Quadrant: In the Backgammon setup there are four sections of the boards. Each section is comprised of 6 points.

Re-Double: Once a player has already accepted a double challenge from his opponent, he may then turn around and immediately propose a re-double, doubling the stakes of the game once again.

Runners: The two checkers that begin the game on the opponent's 1 point.

Set Up: The Backgammon set up is the way the board and its pieces are laid out at the beginning of a game. The set up is always the same, and includes 2 checkers on the opponent's 1 point (Runners), a stack of 5 checkers on the 13 point in the middle of the board, 3 checkers on the 8 point, and 5 checkers immediately after that on the 6 point.

Shot: A player's chance to hit an opponent's blot.

Shut Out: The Backgammon strategy that involves blocking the points on your home board to ensure that your opponent cannot re-enter after a hit.

Slot: Landing a single checker on one point with the objective of making that point on the following turn.

Spare: Additional checkers located on a point that are not needed to control the point.

Split: Two separate two checkers who cover one point.

Switch Points: To forsake one point in order to make another.

White: The nickname used to describe one of the game's players based on the light color of his checkers.

Gene Marshall, knowledgeable backgammon player, works for a few distinguished backgammon publications. The writer contributes articles about backgammon and backgammon download basics. Additional information and works by Gene Marshall on the theme of backgammon are available on the internet.

About the Author

Proficient backgammon buff Gene Marshall is commissioned by a number of renowned internet backgammon magazines. The author focuses on articles about online backgammon and backgammon download sites. Other articles by Gene Marshall on the topic of backgammon are accessible on the web.