Fundamental Backgammon Strategies: Back Game

We all have to face the facts that things will not always go right in backgammon. There will always come times when we will play miserably and won't be able to cope with your opponent's game. Part of backgammon basics is to be able to shift from one strategy to another. And when things don't go your way one strategy you will want to shift to is called a back game.

Let us try to picture out what a back game would look like on a backgammon board. The most distinct feature of a back game is that one player is really leading and the only contact left between opposing checkers are a few defensive anchors. Most of the time the player who is left behind in the pip count will have his anchors behind an enemy prime.

The leading player will also have set his back checkers free from any threat from the opponent's forces. The back game's nature is that only the player who is behind in the pip count plays the back game. Holding games and priming games will at least have both sides on equal ground. In those two games both players play a holding or priming game. The back game is a pretty lop sided counter strategy when everything favors your opponent.

The idea behind the back game is that the player catching up will keep his anchors in place as long as possible. The other checkers that are not part of the anchors will take priority with movement as they will be assembled on the home board making a prime or a bunch of blocking points. As soon as a blot is open, the player will try to hit the one in the lead and contain that checker. Once at least one opposing checker is contained the rest of the checkers run to the home board and take the lead.

Defending against a back game is simple, all you have to do is play it clean and safe, which means you avoid leaving blots. Since it is obvious that the other player wants to hit checkers the leading player should never leave open shots. The player who is behind in the pip count however should try to have at least two anchors to get better odds at hitting a blot. If you're behind it is just right to leave blots for your opponent to hit and use them to build your anchors.

The back game is a strategy that you can turn to when things become severely unfavorable. Understanding how it works is part of backgammon basics.