The last checker on the starting point is called the mother checker.
As with the Backgammon game, the purpose of the Blockgammon game is to bear the checkers off faster than the opponent. We start bearing them off when we move them in the inner table (or inner board), according to the blockgammon rules.
In the figure we see the starting configuration for a blockgammon game. This is the “left” configuration, and we play with the black checkers. A board has 24 points. The first six (numbered from 1 to 6) designate the inner table and the last six (numbered from 19 to 24) designate the base area. We start moving the checkers counter clockwise from point 24 to point 1.
In contrast to the backgammon game, in the blockgammon game if a single checker is hit (or pinned), it is trapped. This means that we can not move it until it is un-trapped. Therefore, we need to be extremely cause not to get a checker trapped in the base area. Note, if a checker is trapped in the inner table, we can not collect it, and because of that, we may lose our turn.
If both mother checkers are trapped the game is a tie. Thus, the game does not end when a mother checker is trapped. Instead, we continue playing until the other player moves all checkers away from the starting point.
If our mother checker is trapped, and the opponent does not have any checkers on the starting point, we not only lose the game, but it counts for two points (double), thus, we need to control the following points:
- Points 19 and 18, so that we can “easily” move the checkers away from the starting point
- Points 12 and 13, so that we can further advanced towards the inner table
- Point 7, so that we block the opponent from running away, while at the same time, we have the opportunity to block a checker in the inner table (opponent’s base area)
We make certain that we keep at least 3 checkers at the aforementioned points, so that we easily launch our attack. More importantly, we do not leave points 12 and 13, unless we trap the mother checker or a checker next to that point (i.e., point 23).
Finally, at the beginning of the game we always move two checkers, unless we roll 1 – 3. If we trap a checker in the inner table, it does not necessarily mean that we won the game. Especially if this takes place at the beginning of the game. We move progressively by creating blocks (two or more checkers on a point), so that we not only protect our checkers, but we also block the opponent from moving away from the base area.
Enjoy the game!