The Basics of the Backgammon Pip Count

The pip count is a fundamental part of backgammon basics. The idea behind and the use of this tool in backgammon is quite simple yet its use if far more valuable than its simplicity. By using the backgammon pip count you can very well judge which action to take for every situation you face in the game. But take note it is just a tool any player can use. When used correctly your plays will be effective.

Let's work on a simple yet easy to understand definition of a pip count. Backgammon basically is a race. The manner or direction of your checkers in this race is from the highest point on the board to the lowest, which is also called your Ace-point. So this race in backgammon is more like a countdown. And that is what precisely a pip count is and how it works in this game.

You have a total of 15 checkers to move along the points in the backgammon board. They are positioned in various locations with each point having a different number of respective checkers. If you make a tally of the number of points your checkers have to travel until they get to the home board and taken off the backgammon board you'll get a total of 167 moves or steps.

Both you and your opponent will of course have the same amount of steps to tackle at the onset of the game. As your checkers move forward you subtract the number of steps taken to the initial total. If a checker gets hit it goes back the bar and as it enters it adds to the total number of steps or pip count since it has to work its way from the very start.

The pip count is done manually if you play with friends using a backgammon set. You literally have to count the number of points your checkers have to travel. But if you play on a computer or online the pip count need not be manually calculated since gaming systems will usually have taken care of this. You will see the pip count on your computer screen as you play the game.

If you are in the lead in the pip count you should play more safe moves. You should leave less blots and make more anchors. You might even just want to land your checkers on anchors instead of building new ones. This simply means not giving your opponent a chance to hit your checkers and catch up in the pip count. If you are behind in the pip count you should play boldly and aggressively. A big part of your objective is to hit any blot so you can catch up.

Remember that the pip count is nothing more than a tool that you must learn when studying backgammon basics. The pip count is only effective when it is used by backgammon players correctly.