backgammon — the game of backgammon


[- ] [-nrwb ] [-pr ] [-pw ] [-pb ] [-t term ] [-s file ]



This program lets you play backgammon against the computer or against a "friend". All commands are only one letter, so you don't need to type a carriage return, except at the end of a move. The program is mostly self-explanatory, so that a question mark (?) will usually get some help. If you answer `y' when the program asks if you want the rules, you will get text explaining the rules of the game, some hints on strategy, instructions on how to use the program, and a tutorial consisting of a practice game against the computer. A description of how to use the program can be obtained by answering `y' when it asks if you want instructions.

The possible arguments for backgammon (most are unnecessary but some are very convenient) consist of:

don't ask for rules or instructions
player is red (implies n)
player is white (implies n)
two players, red and white (implies n)
print the board before red's turn
print the board before white's turn
print the board before both player's turn
-t term
terminal is type term uses /usr/share/misc/termcap
-s file
recover previously saved game from file

Any unrecognized arguments are ignored. An argument of a lone `-' gets a description of possible arguments.

If term has capabilities for direct cursor movement (see termcap(5)) ``fixes'' the board after each move, so the board does not need to be reprinted, unless the screen suffers some horrendous malady. Also, any `p' option will be ignored. (The `t' option is not necessary unless the terminal type does not match the entry in the /usr/share/misc/termcap data base.)

Quick reference

When the program prompts by typing only your color, type a space or carriage return to roll, or

to double
to print the board
to quit
to save the game for later

When the program prompts with 'Move:', type

to print the board
to quit
to save the game

or a move which is a sequence of

move from s to f
move one man on s the roll r separated by commas or spaces and ending with a newline. Available abbreviations are

means s-f1,f1-f2
means s/r1,s/r2

Use b for bar and h for home, or 0 or 25 as appropriate.


An Alan Char


rules and tutorial
terminal capabilities


The program's strategy needs much work.