Backgammon Glossary

Backgammon Glossary

Bear Off, Kamikazes, Candlesticks, and more. Learn the terms to play.


Accept a Double

When a player raises the stakes in Backgammon to twice the current stakes, before the opponent rolls the dice, the opponent may accept a Double, or alternatively Refuse a Double.


A rolled die in Backgammon that shows the number 1.


The traditional name for the one-point on the Backgammon board, the deepest point in a player's home board, from which the entire board must be crossed to be borne off.

Action Play

A strategy employed in Backgammon that tries to provoke as many exchanges of hits as possible.


Building and leaving behind in the opponent's end of the Backgammon board a point occupied by two or more of your checkers.


Back Game

A strategy employed in Backgammon by a player who behind, but has an anchor or two in the opponent's home board, waiting them out until able to get a late hit.

Back Man

The a player's rearmost checker in Backgammon, a runner.

Bear Off

The final stage of the Backgammon game, when the player removes checkers from the board according to the rolls of the dice, commencing once all checkers have been brought into the home board.


A point on the Backgammon board occupied by two or more checkers, which hinders the opponent's progress.


A series of blocks on the Backgammon board that seriously hinder the opponent's progress, ideally in consecutive points, with the ideal blockade being the prime.


Hitting an opponent's checker in Backgammon is called a bump.



A not-so favorable situation in Backgammon in which the player's checkers are piled high on a few points.

Cash a Game

Offering a double in backgammon, believing it will be refused, thus claiming the game and collecting the current value of the cube.


A French word, pronounced shoo-ETT, it is the name of a Backgammon variant, a social setting, for three or more players. In Chouette, a single player plays on a single board against a team made of all the other players.

Close Out

Making all six of home board points in Backgammon while the opponent has one or more checkers on the bar shuts the opponent off from entering back onto the board and into the game.



Using the doubling cube, a player can offer the opponent to double the stakes of the game of Backgammon in the course of playing. The offer must be made just before the player rolls the dice. The player then faces two options, either refuse the double, which means the game ends with a loss at the existing, re-doubling stakes, or accepting the double, continuing at double the previous stakes. Once a double has been offers and accepted, the acceptor becomes the owner of the doubling cube, thus the one who can make the next doubling offer.

Doubling Cube

A doubling cube is a regular shape cube in Backgammon with the numbers 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 and 64. Early in the game, the cube lies in the middle. The first player to claim it, will use it to double the stakes of the game. Accepting the offer doubles the stakes from the current value, and passes control of the cube to the opponent offered the double. Rejecting the doubling offer ends the game, with the player offered the double losing at the current, pre-doubling stakes.



A Backgammon game that ends before one of the players borne off any checkers is a gammon, resulting in a win double the value of the doubling cube.


Kamikaze Play

A somewhat wild, back-game Backgammon strategy in which the player breaks points in the home board with the intention of having the checkers re-circulated.

Kill a Checker

Moving a Backgammon checker deep into the home board where it cannot serve any useful purpose until borne off.


Noncontact Game

A stage in a Backgammon game where all checkers have passed the opponent's checkers, so that no further hits are possible.


Own the Cube

By accepting the doubling cube in Backgammon, the player becomes the owner of the cube, and the only one who can offer a double next.



A player can block the progress of the opponent in Backgammon by building six consecutive made points.

Other primes can be 4-prime or 5-prime, for example, which can be passed by the opponent but with considerable difficulty and risk.



The Backgammon board, made of 24 points, is divided into four quarters, or Quadrants.


Return Shot

Hitting an opponent's checker in backgammon while leaving behind some vulnerable checkers of your own that can be hit on the following turn.


Sit-and-go Backgammon Tournament

Backgammon tournaments that begin only after a certain number of players have joined.


Leaving a single checker on the backgammon board, planning or hoping to cover it in the near future.

See also

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