Skip to content

Playing Guide: Backgammon Board set up.

Last updated on April 20, 2024

Perhaps you have received a Deluxe Backgammon set as a gift or purchased one yourself, but you are a novice or a casual player and you need to learn how to set up the board. This guide will step you through the basics of the backgammon board and how to set the board up for play. Once you are familiar with the setup you can be ready to play within minutes.


What you need:

  • A Deluxe Backgammon board, preferably one sourced from sustainable materials.
  • 30 checkers in two distinct colours. 15 checkers of each colour.
  • 2 six-sided dice, but preferably 4. The doubling cube is optional for social backgammon games.

The Backgammon board layout

The first thing you will notice about the backgammon board is the 24 distinct elongated triangles called points. At the start of play, the checkers will be placed in a specific configuration on these points. During play, the checkers will move along these points according to the roll of the dice. The points are arranged in groups of six called quadrants. The quadrants are divided down the centre of the board by a ridge called the bar. The bar does not count as a point.

When checkers are hit and removed from the board they are placed on the bar before being re-entered according to the roll of the dice. On one side of the bar is both player’s home board. This could be on the left or right depending on which side of the board you are sitting on. Your home board will always be on the near side of the backgammon board and you move your checkers towards yourself to the home board. On the other side of the bar are the outer boards for both players.

These features are labelled on the diagram below.

Backgammon setup.
Backgammon setup.


Backgammon uses a notation system to record the passage of play. It uses a 24-point numbering system to identify each point on the board from the player’s perspective. The number 24 is for the furthest point located in your opponent’s home board. The number one point is in your home board at the point furthest from the bar. The diagram above shows the points numbered from the black checker’s perspective. The white notation would be the exact opposite.

Backgammon set up

The checkers are laid out on the board so that both sides mirror each other as in the diagram above. From the perspective of the black checker’s the layout is as follows:

·         Place two black checkers on the point labelled 24 in the far right corner of the board.

·         Place five black checkers on the point labelled 13 in the far left corner of the board.

·         Place three black checkers on the point labelled 8 on the near side of the board.

·         Place five black checkers on the point labelled 6 on the near side of the board.

As in the diagram above, the white checkers should mirror these positions.

Take out your dice and you are now ready to begin playing on your Deluxe Backgammon set.

A complete list of Playing Guides is available on this link. Backgammon rules are available on this link. Setup FAQs are available on this link.

Related content

Backgammon, points to ponder


  1. Denis Denis

    I’ve often wondered about the historical reasons behind the standard backgammon setup of checkers on the board. I imagine there is some historical explanation. Has anybody shown (via computer simulations) that this makes for a better game than any alternative backgammon configuration?

    • Jason Jason

      Hi Denis, the board with 24 points and 30 checkers dates back at least to the Roman occupation of Palestine around 2000 years ago. Various combinations of initial position, number of dice, and rules for movement have evolved over the centuries. The current setup dates back at least to the late 17th century and perhaps earlier. The doubling cube and chouettes were invented in the 1920s and created an exciting, fast-paced backgammon game for gambling, which created an enormous burst in popularity. I am not sure what the optimal setup would be or even how to coordinate computer software to determine the best setup. Backgammon, as it is, is an amazing game, with a long history and I am quite satisfied with the format we have been using for hundreds of years. Thanks for commenting, Jason

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *