The game of backgammon, called trictrac by the French, is thought to date from the 10th century, and probably developed from a Roman game similar in character.
It is played by two persons on a specially – designed board, each player having fifteen men, one set being black and the other white. The board, usually made of wood and lined with leather, is divided into four tables, each of which is provided with six points, coloured alternately black and white.
Both black and white have inner (or home) and outer tables, the inner tables being separated from the outer tables by a raised bar. A Bet of two dice and a dice box are required by each player, the dice being numbered in the usual way from one to six.
The points on each table are named. The points on each of the inner tables farthest from the bar are called the ace points, those next to them the deuce points; then follow the trois, quatre, cinque and six points. The outer table points are similarly named, but they take their order from this bar, that nearest to this division being the ace or bar point.
The players begin a game by throwing a dico each for the right to start first. The winner may, if he so chooses, take the total of the two numbers thrown by helf and his adversary as his first movo. After this, all throws must be made by each playor with two dice.
The men are set out at the start of the game as shown in the diagram. Black moves from whites inner to whites outer table, and thence through his own outer table to his own inner table; white moves in the opposite direction to black.
The men are moved from point to point according to the numbers on the dico thrown by each player in turn, providing the point to winch the number would bring the man is not blocked by two or more of the other players men. A man may be moved for each number of the dice, or the two numbers may be added together aud only a single man be moved. For example, should a player throw three with one dice and four with the other, he may move two of bis men three points and four points respectively, or he may move one man only seven points forward.
Should a player be fortunate enough to throw a pair of sixes, called doublets, he may make four moves of six points with one man, or separately with more than one man.
Suppose, for example, at the opening of the game, black were to throw three and five, he can move a man from the ace point of whites inner table to the quatre point, but he cannot move another man to six point, as it is blocked. On the other hand, he may add the dice numbers together and move a single man from the ace point of whites inner table seven points ahead to the trois point of whites outer table.
When there is only a single man on a point it is called a blot, and should the adversary throw a number which carries one of his own men to that point he scores a hit. The man who is hit must be taken from the point and placed on the bar. The player to whom this man belongs cannot move another man until such time as he has entered this player again, and this is effected by throwing a number which will enable the man to occupy an unblocked point in his opponents home table. Thus it will be Been how advantageous it is to make all the points in ones own home table, that is, to have two men on each point.
The game progresses until a player succeeds in getting all his men into his own home table, when he proceeds to bear them olf, which is to remove them from the board according to the numbers tlirown with the dice. Unlese there is a man on a point corresponding with the number thrown, he cannot move one from the board.
The winner is the player who first succeeds in bearing all his men from the board. Should his opponent have begun to bear off his men, his victory is a single game, or hit ; if his opponent has not borne a man a double game, or gammon ; if his opponent has not borne a man and has one in the victors inner table, a triple game (or backgammon ).