How to Play the Priming Game

A basic strategy in playing backgammon is the priming game. It requires patience and careful planning. Understanding how to properly execute this strategy should only be a matter of course to anyone who is on the route to mastering this game.

The priming game is really more of a variation of the holding game. It involves building a series (other players call it a wall) of blocks or blocking points. This is called the prime. The big secret behind a successful priming game is to make your prime bigger or in other words longer.

The longer the prime, the better you are at blocking your opponent and denying him movement. Or you may hinder his men's movement at the very least all the while setting up your men and getting ahead in the pip count. A successful priming game keeps your opponent's checkers trapped. Usually as long as you have your prime set up your opponent's pieces remain trapped. With the priming game set up perfectly your opponent will definitely struggle at getting his men across your barricade.

Playing a priming game requires patience. You slowly position your pieces, dedicate a lot of your checkers to this prime and commit not to move or break the prime prematurely. One of the clear objectives of setting up a prime would be to hit an enemy blot. Once you make that hit, in the priming game the idea is to keep that piece (or pieces in case you hit more than one) behind your prime. Ideally one must position his prime within the 2 point and the 11 point of his board. A nice setting for a trap once you make a hit.

After having a piece or two of your opponent's checkers behind the prime, you then slowly work your checkers closer to the inner table or inner board. One big tip a novice should know is that the key to win in the priming is game is to escape the back checkers as fast as you can. This precaution should be kept in mind. If you have a priming game set up and a couple of your checkers are trapped in the outer board you may lose your advantage.

Often enough when one player executes a priming game, his opponent may execute a priming game as a counter. In this situation avoid stranded checkers or at the very least keep stragglers at the head of the prime not where they can be trapped by your opponent's prime. Remember to keep your prime long (about of 5 or 6 points is formidable).

If the game turns head to head, position or anchor your pieces at the edge of the opponent's prime. The idea is to make the other player break his prime or make his prime shorter insomuch that your pieces at the head of the prime can jump over or make a hit.

You are at an advantage in a priming game when your prime is longer. This may mean that your opponent's prime is less than 5 or 6 points long. It would also be an advantage to have an enemy checker or two trapped behind your prime. Another point you might like to consider is that your back men is clear from enemy contact. Back men lagging behind is a weakness. If given all these conditions your are good to go, then it's tactically sound to declare a double.

Understanding the priming game is pretty basic to any player. Knowing what to do and how to react to a player utilizing this strategy makes a good arsenal.