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LocationBlazing Games - Ultimate Retro Project - Volume 3 - Episode 31

Ultimate Retro Project

Episode 31: Classic Backgammon

The classic board game.

Page Last Updated: April 1, 2006


Backgammon is a very interesting game as it combines strategy with luck. While it is possible for a poor player to beat a superior player, in the long run the better player will win more frequently than the poor player.

Using the Console

Creating text games is interesting, but my goal was also to present the game in a way that would simulate a teletype machine as close as possible. This is why the game uses my console.

My Teletype Emulator is designed to simulate playing the game on an old teletype machine, down to the dot matrix output. Anybody who has used an old printer knows how slow they were. They were also noisy, but out of the goodness of my heart, I decided to leave the noise out.

For getting input from the user, I decided to go with a fancy LCD model, in which what you type will be send to a LCD display for your approval before being transmitted to the machine. Unlike real machines, my terminal is intelligent and will only let you enter something when the program is requesting input. Any other typing is ignored!

Playing the Game

Each player has 15 pieces that are initially laid out on the board in a specific pattern (don’t worry, the computer will handle this part for you). One player moves his or her pieces clockwise while the other player moves his or her pieces counter clockwise. The goal is to move all your pieces off the board.

Each turn you roll 2 dice. Unless some of your pieces are on the bar (more on that later) you are able to choose any two of your pieces (or the same piece twice) to move but can only move in your direction. You must move the piece the exact amount of the dice but can not move to locations which are occupied by two or more of your opponent’s pieces.

The bar

If you move your piece onto a location which consists of only one opponent then the opponent’s piece is sent to the bar. The reverse is also true. If you have pieces in the bar, you must move those pieces from the bar before you are able to move any other piece.

Pieces are moved from the bar by placing them in your opponents ending area with the position being the die roll chosen for the move. You can not move to a location that is occupied by two opponent pieces, but are able to land on locations with only one opponent, in which case you will not only have released that piece but will also have sent an opponent piece to the bar.

Removing Pieces

This is where the game gets a bit confusing. To remove a piece, all your pieces must be in the last 6 locations of your end of the board. You must then roll exactly the amount to move a piece off the board. The exception to this is if the roll is greater than the distance of the farthest piece, in which case you can move the farthest piece off the board.


Commands are not case sensitive.

? or HELP Brings up this help file.

B or BAR selects bar to move pieces from.

SKIP Skips turn (must not be able to make a move).

V or VIEW redraws game board

System Requirements

This game is requires Java 1.1 or better to run. Browsers that support 1.1 tend to be 4.x or better versions. Windows XP users may have to download a Java plug in to use Java applets.

Clicking on the link below indicates that you agree to the disclaimer (click here to read).

PLAY Classic Backgammon

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