Fundamental Backgammon Strategies: Running Game
There are many strategies that one can apply in backgammon. Each strategy can has its basic idea and at certain times you may be required to switch from one strategy to another. If you are interested in backgammon basics then you should spend some time with the fundamental strategies used in this game.
The easiest fundamental backgammon strategy to comprehend is called the running game. By simply getting the context of the name of this strategy you can already guess its objective. You are right if you guess that the running game involves a race. This is very easy to understand because the theme and premise of the game of backgammon is indeed a race between two players.
Take note that not all games in backgammon are races. It is also interesting to know that most of the games in backgammon wont end as a race or a running game. Nevertheless since running games will occur we will look at what constitutes it and how to make it work for us when the time comes.
The running game will occur when there is no longer any contact between your checkers and your opponent's checkers. This is the moment when you are hoping to make big rolls, bring all of your checkers into your home board, and hope to make doubles along the way to win the game.
Running games will not always end with one player bearing off all of his checkers. The more important elements of a running game are knowing the right time to double and knowing whether to take or pass when offered a double. Don't be surprised to find running games that have been doubled then redoubled. There will also come a time that one player offers a double and the other will pass and therefore lose the game.
To know when precisely to double or whether to pass or take, you should learn how to do a pip count. You should also be able to adjust your pip count for any wastage that may come along. If you don't know how to do a pip count then you should go over our pip count page.
Answering the question of when is it the right time to double in a running game, it is wise to offer a double when you're ahead in by no more than four in the pip count. The next question is when do we take and when do we pass? You should take if your opponent leads the pip count by two or a bit more, if not then you should pass.
The running game isn't really all about running your checkers. A lot of it has to do with knowing when to double, when to take, and when to pass. Understanding these important elements is part of backgammon basics.