A game of backgammon is based on luck and dice rolls, besides of course the skill of the players. Therefore if our opponent is always lucky with the dice and we don’t, there’s little we can do to win the match, even if we are much more skilled than our opponent in this game.
On the other hand, because of the fact that the game involves a large number of dice throws, luck usually ends at some point and eventually the best strategy wins.
Basically, we can find 5 main game tactics in a game of Backgammon.
This is of course the simplest tactic. All you need to do is place your checkers at the home board as fast as possible. If both players decide to run, the luckiest one with the dice wins. For that reason, you should use this particular tactic only if you start with high dice rolls. Novice players that believe that high rolls always win a game of Backgammon, usually use only this tactic.
“Blitz” is an offensive tactic against the weaknesses of the opponent. In this case we do not need to rush our checkers to the other side, or stack checkers and block the opponent, but attack every single checker our opponent has left unprotected. The advantage we gain is that not only our opponent is left behind for a number of dice rolls, but there are also many chances that he/she will not be able to enter play with the checker, if we manage to cover all his/her home board with ours. Have in mind that attacking the opponent’s checkers in his initial board does not cause significant problems to him/her, but can get you in great trouble if you are forced to leave unprotected checkers.
This tactic involves occupying strategic points on the board with your checkers. Most good players consider this as the main tactic that needs to be practiced by novice players who start to play Backgammon.
By forming 4 blocks in a row, some sort of wall is built that forces our opponent to pass only with a 5 or a 6. This wall not only holds the opponent back, but also offers a landing area for your checkers as they move to safe places. “Occupation” is very effective when combined with “Blitz” tactic. By using “Blitz” we get our opponent’s checkers out of the game and then by using “Occupation” we make their entrance back on the board more difficult for our opponent, and thus slow down his/her play.
This tactic is about holding a steady place on the beginning board, which is also your opponent’s home board. Although usually it’s a better decision to advance you first two checkers, so that you don’t get isolated later on, “Restraint” gives you two advantages:
Defensively, it give you a safe place for any checker of yours that is hit and leaves play. This prevents your opponent from covering all places, a move that can be an automatic defeat for you.
Offensively, “Restraint” make you maintain a constant threat for the checkers your opponent advances. If you manage to hit a checker at your opponent’s home board, even if he hits one of yours later on, you gain an advantage.
The “Back” tactic moves “Constraint” one step forward. This tactic concentrates on holding positions on your opponent’s home board. Of course, since you begin with only 2 checkers at that area, you can use this tactic only of your opponent hits your unprotected checkers and forces you to play them back from the start. The difference in comparison to the previous tactics explained is that this one is rather passive, with which you try to save an almost lost game. Besides the constant threat for your opponent’s advancing checkers, this tactic also creates extra trouble for him, since you hold key positions in his home board.