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Book Review: Backgammon for Dummies by Chris Bray.

Last updated on April 20, 2024

Here is an interesting read for those wanting an introduction to the game, Backgammon for Dummies. It is an easy to read book that covers everything a beginner needs to know about backgammon.

Backgammon for Dummies.
Backgammon for Dummies.

From the back cover

Your step-by-step guide to becoming a masterful Backgammon player.

Backgammon is an exciting, tactical game, and this straight forward book enables newcomers to get in on the fun, as well as providing expert advice for the more experienced player. Fully illustrated, it’s packed with opening strategies, middle-and-end-game tactics, tips on how to make key moves, and advice to get you up to speed on dice probabilities. You’ll be hooked in no time!

  • The basics of starting play — Set up your board, get to grips with the rules and tactics of the game, and make the opening move.
  • Move smoothly into the middle game — Work out basic probabilities, apply the 25 per cent rule, and raise the stakes with the doubling cube.
  • Bearing off into the last lap — Discover key ‘no miss’ positions and master complex endings.
  • Cast your gaming further afield — Compete in tournaments, pit your skills against a computer, and play live games online.

Open the book and find:

  • The 36 possible outcomes that rolling two dice produces.
  • Over 50 illustrations of a backgammon board highlighting key tactics and rolls of the dice.
  • Definitions of backgammon-speak, from anchors and builders to a lover’s leap.
  • Strategies to apply to each type of middle game.
  • Useful backgammon resources to help refine your game further.
  • Advice on playing against computers and online opponents.


Is the book truly a step-by-step guide to becoming a masterful backgammon player? This is an ambitious claim and one that is very hard to prove. Really the claim needs some small print. “Apply the knowledge acquired from this book and then dedicate yourself to thousands of hours of diligent practice and study and you could become a masterful Backgammon player”.

I read this book as an absolute beginner and found it helpful in explaining the opening moves, basic strategies and probability. No doubt it helped improve my game, but I’m nowhere near being a masterful backgammon player. It’s a modern snappy read, it almost feels like the author is conversing with you from across the table. There are lots of useful diagrams and images. At Deluxe Backgammon, we would recommend this book to someone new to the game, but I don’t think experienced players would gain much by reading it.

Please read some of our other backgammon book reviews.

One Comment

  1. Luis Luis

    After learning the basics of backgammon through online research, I decided to download the highly recommended Backgammon Free by AI Factory. However, even on the easiest level, the program mercilessly defeated me every time. I couldn’t secure a single win, which was rather disheartening.

    I was determined to improve, so I purchased Backgammon for Dummies by Chris Bray which promised to explain every aspect of the game comprehensively, from the board layout and various moves to dice probabilities and strategies for the beginning, middle, and end games. The book also offered valuable insights into related tactics and showcased good examples to aid understanding. It proved to be an exceptional resource, catering to players of all skill levels, and even as a now experienced player, it remains a useful guide to revisit for refreshing one’s knowledge.

    The author presented the material in an accessible and engaging manner, typical of the ‘Dummies’ book series. Thanks to the book’s guidance, my performance in backgammon significantly improved, and I shed the title of a novice player rather swiftly. I am know winning 50% of my games on level 7 on Backgammon Free.

    This book is essential for anyone who wants to improve at backgammon.

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