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Backgammon Basics - Priming Game

A priming game is one strategy you'll come to appreciate as you gain experience at playing backgammon. A prime is a row of blocking points used to trap enemy checkers (your opponent's back men most of the time). More often than not, the best way to counter a prime is to make a prime of your own. There are a few things you should get down to fully understand how a priming game works.

When you start lining up your blocking points one of the things you should consider is the length of your prime. The best prime you can ever make in backgammon game is a really long one. The idea behind a priming game is to contain or trap your opponent's checkers. The longer your prime the harder it is for your opponent to escaped the trapped men. You often start with a four or five point prime then (if possible) make a prime that is six points long. A prime that length is a solid wall your opponent's pieces can't jump over.

Now, when your opponent counters you with a prime then the first line of defense you have is to position your trapped checkers. The goal is to position your trapped backgammon checkers right next to your opponent's prime. This makes the distance your trapped checkers have to jump as short as possible.

The next step is to a great defense against a priming game is to slow down. The peculiar thing about a priming game duel is that the backgammon player who is ahead in the race is more likely to break a prime first. You may not have any control over what outcome you get from a dice roll but you control which checkers you move.

A good tip is to move checkers that are lagging behind first. The next checkers you should move are your spares. These are extra backgammon checkers on the prime. Just make sure you move the third and fourth checkers on your blocking points first.

Remember that your opponent will also be looking for the same opportunities as you are. When a gap shows in your opponent's prime then you should escape a backgammon checker and take advantage of the situation.

A great additional move you can do is to hit an enemy checker along the way as you escape a back checker. While that opportunity for escape isn't there yet, make sure you maintain your back checkers in position and have them anchor (both checkers on one point) against your opponent's prime.

These are the basics of a priming game. Just remember that the idea is to maintain your prime longer than your opponent does and you're already a step ahead.

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