Fundamental Backgammon Strategies: Priming Game

One fundamental backgammon strategy you're sure to become familiar with is called a priming game. The priming game is based on the tactic of making blocking points. The priming game takes this tactic and extends the idea by lining up blocking points making what is known as a prime. Priming games are common and are part of backgammon basics.

Let's deal with what happens during a priming game. Basically, you have entered a priming game when you and your opponent have both made primes. Primes are composed of blocking points lined up in a row for the purpose of trapping enemy checkers behind them. The prime therefore acts like a wall imprisoning your opponent's checkers. Usually you can expect that your back checkers (i.e. your two checkers on the 24-point) to be targets of a prime.

In a priming game both you and your opponent have opposing checkers trapped behind the prime. One good tip when playing the priming game is to make the length of your prime as long as you can. The longer your prime is the harder it will definitely be for the opposing checkers to jump over and escape from your prime. Primes consisting of four or more points are really effective. The most you can make in backgammon is a prime that is six points long.

Since you will be defending against your opponent's prime in a priming game you should learn how to maneuver your trapped back checkers. You should position these checkers right next to the prime. Make them into a blocking point and don't ever break this point until you're ready to jump over your opponent's prime.

As soon as you have an opportunity to jump over your opponent's prime you should go for it. If the opportunity still hasn't presented itself then maintain your blocking point beside the prime. You should also maintain your prime and hold it out longer. The first player to break a prime usually loses the game.

To avoid breaking your prime you should move the other checkers that are not part of the prime. Another option is to move extra checkers on your prime. If a point in your prime has more than two checkers you should move that one instead. Remember that keeping your prime for the longest time possible is a key to winning a priming game.

Now, if you are forced to break your prime you should definitely play more aggressively and hit more. Your opponent will be in the lead if you do so, which warrants an aggressive play in order to catch up. Understanding the principles behind the priming game is essential in backgammon basics.