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What is the Difference Between Gammon and Backgammon?

Discover the distinctions between Gammon and Backgammon at PinkStore. Unravel the nuances of these classic board games in our insightful blog.

Backgammon is one of the oldest known board games, with a rich history that spans thousands of years. It is a two-player game that combines strategy, luck, and skill. As you delve into the world of backgammon, you might encounter the term "gammon," which can be confusing for new players. In this article, we will explore the differences between gammon and backgammon, demystifying the terminology and helping you understand this classic game better.

Understanding Backgammon

Backgammon is a board game played on a board with 24 narrow triangles called points. The points alternate in color and are grouped into four quadrants of six points each. Each player has 15 pieces, often referred to as checkers, which they move around the board based on the roll of two dice. The primary objective of backgammon is to move all your checkers into your home board and then bear them off (remove them from the board) before your opponent does the same.

The game begins with each player rolling a single die, and the player with the higher number moves first. The numbers rolled on the two dice dictate how many points the checkers can move. Checkers can only move to open points, which are not occupied by two or more opposing checkers. Backgammon game involves elements of luck, due to the dice rolls, and strategy, as players decide which moves to make based on the current position of checkers.

Backgammon Game

What is a Gammon?

A gammon is a specific outcome in the game of backgammon. It occurs when one player manages to bear off all their checkers before the opponent has borne off any of theirs. In other words, a gammon is a type of win in backgammon that is more valuable than a standard win.

In a regular backgammon win, the victorious player scores one point. However, winning by a gammon is worth double the points, which means the winning player scores two points. This scoring rule adds an extra layer of excitement and urgency to the game, as players strive not just to win, but to win by a gammon whenever possible.

Key Differences Between Gammon and Backgammon

To understand the differences between gammon and backgammon, it's essential to grasp that gammon is a term used within the game of backgammon to describe a specific type of win. Here are the key distinctions:

  • Scope: Backgammon refers to the entire game itself, which includes all the rules, gameplay mechanics, and objectives. Gammon, on the other hand, refers to a specific condition or outcome within the game.

  • Scoring: In backgammon, players aim to win by bearing off all their checkers. A standard win earns the victor one point. A gammon, however, occurs when the losing player has not borne off any checkers, and this type of win is worth two points.

  • Strategy: The strategy in backgammon can shift based on the possibility of winning by a gammon. Players might adopt more aggressive tactics if they see an opportunity to gammon their opponent, aiming to double their score. Conversely, a player at risk of being gammoned may take a more defensive approach to at least bear off one checker and avoid the gammon.

  • Impact on Match Play: In match play, where players compete over a series of games to reach a set number of points, the possibility of winning by gammon can significantly impact the overall strategy. Securing a gammon can quickly shift the balance in a player's favor, making it a crucial aspect of competitive backgammon.

The Historical Context of Backgammon

Backgammon has a storied history, tracing its origins back to ancient civilizations such as Mesopotamia and Persia. The game evolved over centuries, spreading through trade routes and cultural exchanges. Its appeal lies in its blend of chance and strategy, making it accessible to beginners yet challenging for seasoned players. Understanding the historical context of backgammon adds depth to your appreciation of the game and its enduring popularity.

The Role of Strategy in Achieving a Gammon

The Role of Strategy in Achieving a Gammon

Achieving a gammon requires not only skill but also a deep understanding of backgammon strategy. Players must balance offense and defense, anticipating their opponent's moves while positioning their checkers for an optimal bear-off. Key strategic elements include:

  • Blockades: Creating blockades by placing two or more checkers on adjacent points can prevent your opponent from advancing their checkers, increasing your chances of achieving a gammon.

  • Prime Building: A prime is a sequence of six consecutive points occupied by your checkers. Building a prime can trap your opponent's checkers behind it, giving you a significant strategic advantage.

  • Doubling Cube: The doubling cube is a die marked with the numbers 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and 64. It is used to raise the stakes during the game. Understanding when to use the doubling cube can be crucial in capitalizing on opportunities to gammon your opponent.

The Psychological Aspect of Backgammon

Beyond strategy and luck, backgammon involves a significant psychological component. Skilled players can read their opponents, anticipate their moves, and adjust their strategies accordingly. The threat of a gammon can put psychological pressure on players, leading to mistakes or overly cautious play. Mastering the psychological aspect of backgammon can give you an edge in competitive play.

Tips for New Players

If you're new to backgammon, here are some tips to help you get started and improve your chances of achieving a gammon:

Learn the Basics

Familiarize yourself with the rules and basic strategies of backgammon. Understanding the game's mechanics is crucial before you can start thinking about advanced tactics like achieving a gammon.

Practice Regularly

The more you play, the better you’ll understand the nuances of the game. Practice against different opponents to gain diverse perspectives and experience.

Study Strategies

Read books, watch tutorials, and study the strategies used by experienced players. Learning about different opening moves, middle-game tactics, and endgame strategies can improve your overall game.

Use the Doubling Cube Wisely

Knowing when to use the doubling cube can make a significant difference. Use it to put pressure on your opponent when you have a strong position.

Observe and Adapt

Pay attention to your opponent’s moves and strategies. Adapt your game plan based on their style of play and the current state of the board.


In summary, while backgammon is the overarching game that has captivated players for centuries, a gammon is a specific type of victory within this game. Understanding the difference between gammon and backgammon is crucial for anyone looking to delve deeper into this timeless board game. By mastering the rules and strategies of backgammon, and by recognizing the importance of a gammon, you can enhance your gameplay and enjoy this classic pastime to its fullest.

As you explore the world of backgammon, consider enhancing your collection with high-quality gaming products from PinkStore. PinkStore's wholesale backgammon sets are perfect for game shops, toy stores, and other retailers looking to expand their inventory. With customizable options, you can create personalized solutions that meet your business needs. By choosing PinkStore, you're not only investing in top-notch gaming accessories but also in a partner committed to your success in the competitive retail landscape.

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