Backgammon Strategy: The Running Game

One of the most straight forward way of playing backgammon is by making it a race. This is the essence of the running game as a strategy in backgammon. Since the first impression we get when we start learning about backgammon is that it is a race to be the first to bear off your checkers, the running game becomes a strategy which is easy to understand.

But there is more to a running game than just relying on luck to be the player to get the better outcome on the dice. Let's take a look at what things we need to keep an eye on when we use a running game in backgammon.

In backgammon, the running game is essentially outrunning your opponent on the board. You race to bring home your backgammon checkers and bear them off before your opponent does. But, that's not as simple as it would seem during a game.

Starting a running game would require a bit of luck when you throw the dice. A backgammon player needs to get a few high rolls at the start of the game and run as many checkers as possible. The next step is to avoid any confrontation and getting a checker sent back to the bar. This means you have to keep a low profile and move your checkers to points you control and take advantage of doubles when such dice results come around.

The running game has been described as a competitive race and not a passive type of competition. At times when a backgammon player executes a running game, that player doesn't have to worry about keeping an even distribution throughout the game. In fact, a player who executes a running game doesn't even mind having a blot or two exposed to attack every now and then. All these become secondary to the main objective of the running game.

The next question is when do we execute a running game. There are backgammon players who think that a running game can only be executed when there is no longer any interaction between the two opposing parties. Running games are most likely initiated during the middle game but it is anticipated in the opening.

A bunch of high rolls and a blotless board is the perfect combination and is a good signal to start a running game. A running game is a great strategy to employ specially when we have a great position without much enemy barricades in our way. Well, that was the initial idea behind backgammon in first place, a good old fashioned checker race.