In addition to learning about opening moves and replies to opening moves, there are also strategies for how you play your game, and usually a combination of strategies.
Since there are dice involved, it would behoove you to learn various strategies to know how to choose one over the other. So plan well to minimize risk and many dice rolls will work to your advantage.
- Building Your Board
- Making points (make a point : placing two or more chips on a point) in your home board to prevent your opponent's chips from escaping and/or have fewer points for them to return from the bar. Also makes you chips evenly distributed
for better chances of bearing off chips on each roll.
- Escaping Game
- Moving your runners (runners : the 2 chips that start in opponent's home board on their 1-point) as quickly as possible, especially if they have started to build their board. Note that only rolls of 6-6 and 6-5 allow
you to move those chips without leaving a blot (blot : a single chip on a point).
- Racing/Running Game
- Moving your chips to your home board as quickly as possible with little hitting of your opponent's chips and trying not to leave any blots (blot : a single chip on a point). For this one, your pip count will clearly show you who has the advantage. This strategy is generally used if a 6-5 is first rolled and a lover's leap (lover's leap : moving a runner to your 13-point while it still contains your chips, usually on the first turn) is played.
- Blocking/Priming Game
- Building blocks (block : a point made on the board) on consecutive points in front of your opponent's chips to prevent them from advancing. Note that a prime (prime : 6 consecutive blocks of the same color) will prevent your opponent's chips
behind the blocks from advancing at all and allowing you to advance your back chips while their back chips are stuck.
- Holding Game
- Building an anchor (anchor : a point made in opponent's home board) in your opponent's home board to give a safe place for you to return from the bar and to have chips for hitting opponent blots on their side of the board.
The best position is their 4-point or higher so that there aren't as many opponent chips behind your point. This strategy is usually used when you are behind in the game and your
opponent has no chips in your home board or on the bar.
- Attacking Game (Blitz)
- Hitting an opponent blot (blot : a single chip on a point) in your home board and trying to make points to keep opponent's chip(s) on the bar.
- Back Game
- Building anchors (anchor : a point made in opponent's home board) to prevent him/her from getting all of their chips into their home board, so ideal anchors are their 1-point and 2-point.
This makes it hard for them to start bearing off and has the added advantage that their chips may have to be exposed thus giving you chances to hit their chips. Note that you want to have your opponent's chips
in front of yours so building an advanced anchor (advanced anchor : an anchor on opponent's 5-point, 4-point, or 3-point) on their 5-point or 6-point would not be advised if they will be able to move their chips into their 4-point or lower.
This strategy is only advised if you are behind in the game.