Backgammon Setup

Are you wondering how to set up your backgammon board?

Backgammon setup is easy when you know how.

These simple instructions will help you set up your backgammon board quickly without confusion.

Quick Cheat Sheet

Are you just looking for an image which shows backgammon setup?

Here is a simple diagram which shows you how to set up your backgammon board and where each player sits.

backgammon setup
Board setup: Before the game has commenced the board and chips are arranged like this.

The Pieces

Before you set up your backgammon board you should check that all the pieces are there.

Within your backgammon set there should be:

  • 30 checkers (15 light and 15 dark)
  • A total of 4 dice (2 for each player)
  • Two cups (for players to hold and roll their dice)
  • A “doubling cube” (a die with the numbers 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64 on its faces)

Backgammon setup and play is not possible without 30 checkers.

If you only had two dice, both players could share these as they take turns.

Once you’ve checked all your pieces are there, then you can start setting up your backgammon board.

The Backgammon Board

When setting up your backgammon board it can be useful to know what all the parts of the board are called.

A backgammon board is divided into two halves, with a raised frame around the edge of each half. The ridge down the middle is called the “bar”.

There are 24 narrow triangles on the board, alternating in dark and light shades. These are called “points,” or “pips”. Each point functions as a space on the board, along which you will move your checkers.

The points are all numbered from 1 to 24. There are 12 points in each half of the board and 6 points in each quadrant.

The four quadrants are: Player One’s home board, Player One’s outer board, Player Two’s home boar and Player Two’s outer board.

From your perspective, you will see that your 1 point (also known as your “ace point”) is in your own “home board”.

Your 24 point is in your opponent's home board. Each player’s home board faces each other, on the other side of the board.

The points of each player are numbered in an opposite way. For example, Player One’s outermost point is their 24-point, and for Player Two, this point is their 1 point.

Player One’s 23 point is their opponent’s 2 point, and so on.

Starting Position

In order to set up your backgammon board to begin a game, you will need to take your 15 checkers and place them on the following positions on the board:

  • 5 checkers on your 6 point
  • 3 checkers on your 8 point
  • 5 checkers on your 13 point
  • 2 checkers on your 24 point

In backgammon setup terminology this is known as the “starting position”.

The checkers should be set up like this before every single backgammon game.

Movement of Checkers

After you have set up your backgammon board you will be ready to play.

You might be wondering which direction your pieces will move.

The players decide between themselves who will use the light checkers and who will use the dark checkers.

You will be moving your own checkers towards your own ace point (the point numbered “1”) and off the board. Your opponent will see the numbers 1 to 24 from the opposite point of view, with their ace point in their own home-board etc.

Brown enters their chips in the top right, moves them left, down and then right to get all their chips into brown's home board. Brown finally bears off (exits the board) into the bottom right corner.

White enters their chips in the bottom right, moves them left, up and then right to get all their chips into white's home board. White then bears off in the top right corner.


As you can see, backgammon setup is easy when you know how.

At first it can seem complicated and difficult to remember.

The more you set up a backgammon board, the easier it will become.

Happy playing!