Back game: A type of game played when a player is so far behind that he must concentrate on getting more men back and forget his running game.
Backgammon: When a player has borne off all of their men and their opponent still has at least one or more men stranded in the winner’s home board or on the rail, the victor scores three times the value of the game, or a backgammon.
Bar: The space that separates the home board and the outer board, running from one player’s side to the other’s. Sometimes this is a raised partition.
Bar point: The first point in the player’s outer board, next to the bar, labeled the seven-point in the diagrams.
Bearing off: The final stage of the game when a player has moved all their men to their home board and begins to remove them according to the rolls of the dice.
Block: Any point on the board where two or more men rest. An opponent may not land on such a point.
Blocking game: A defensive game played when an opponent’s dice have been better than yours and when they are playing a running game.
Blot: A space with only one man on it. A vulnerable situation, for if the opponent makes a throw that lands one or more of their men on the space, the man is sent off the board. The man must then re-enter and begin again.
Board: The term is used in two ways. First, the entire backgammon table is called the board. Secondly, the four divisions within the tables are called outer boards and home boards.
Box: A term used in chouette. The man who has rolled the highest number is said to sit “in the box.” The other players play against him.
Breaking a prime: The process of removing a man or men from a point in a side prime or prime.
Builder: A man brought down close to your home board as an extra man. With him, you may hope to make an additional point in your home board or just outside your home board.
Captain: A term used in chouette. The player rolling the second-highest number and the man who plays the man in the box.
Checkers: The discs moved on the board.
Chouette: A type of backgammon in which more than two people play. One man competes against the others, who constitute a team. One member of the team, representing the others and calling on them for advice, plays against the single man.
Closed board: A player’s home board having all six points made so that an opponent’s man on the bar cannot enter.
Come in: Bringing a man back into play, after having been hit or knocked off.
Counters: The discs used to play the game.
Crawford rule: A rule invented by the late John Crawford, used in tournaments, under which a player is prevented from offering a double in the first game after their opponent reaches a score one short of the number of points up to which the match is being played.
Cube: The cube marked with the numbers 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and 64 used to double the stakes.
Cup: The cup used to throw the dice. It should have a small lip on the inside to prevent fixing the dice.
Double: Increasing the stakes of the game to twice their immediately previous size.
Doubles: A roll of the dice in which both dice show the same number. A player plays each die twice.
Doubling block: The block used to signify the double.
Doubling cube: A cube used to keep track of the current stakes and to double them.
Exposed man: A man who sits alone on a point. He is vulnerable to being hit
No-brainer: A game in which the primary strategy is simply running one’s checkers, with little or no skill required.
Off the board: Refers to a checker being hit and sent to the bar, or knocked off the board entirely.
Outer board: The twelve points of the board that are furthest away from a player’s home board.
Pip: A term used to describe the number of points that separate two checkers or two players.
Points: Refers either to the triangular shapes on the board or to the spaces where two or more checkers of the same color are stacked.
Prime: When six consecutive or adjacent points on the board are occupied by checkers of one color.
Rail: A synonym for “off the board”.
Running game: A strategy in which a player aims to quickly move their checkers to their home board, with an emphasis on offense.
Safe: When a player lands a second checker on a point where their opponent has a blot, making that point safer.
Shot: An opportunity to hit an opponent’s blot or achieve some other objective by rolling a specific number on the dice.
Staying back: A defensive strategy in which a player keeps their checkers on their opponent’s side of the board, rather than moving towards their own home board.
Table: A synonym for “board”, although it is not commonly used today.