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Backgammon Mechanics: Hitting and Reentering

One of the interesting rules in backgammon is the mechanics of hitting and reentering. That's when you're sent to bar after you've been hit and you have get back in to resume your progress. That explanation can't get any simpler though it'll take more than that to fully get the fundamentals of this rule. So what are backgammon mechanics of hitting and reentering?

Let's start with the terms in this concept. A "blot" is a checker that's alone on a point. If that blot is "hit", that piece must be placed on the center bar. As a result, that checker is then called a "barred checker". That barred checker must then be "reentered" on the backgammon board.

Now to the backgammon mechanics of hitting and reentering, first off, hitting a blot can happen in one of two ways. Since a roll represents two separate pip moves (except for doublets that happen to represent four pip moves), a piece can hit an opposing blot as it advances or as it lands on its destination point. The "landing on its destination point" form of hitting is self-explanatory so we'll describe the other form of hitting.

For illustration purposes, let's say you have a piece on your seven-point. There's an enemy blot on your five-point and you roll a three-two. If you opt to move that seven-point piece using the total of the roll or five pips, you should opt to move two places first (to hit the opposing blot) then use the three-pip move to advance further.

Now, reentering a barred checker is next. A player's required to reenter a barred piece. And the only area where that piece can reenter or get back into circulation is on an open point on the enemy's home quadrant. So a player, who still has barred pieces, may not move any other piece until all those pieces are reentered on the backgammon board.

Let's say you've got two barred checkers and your opponent has managed to close out their six-point and five-point. You take your turn and you roll a six-four. Your only option is reenter a barred piece to your opponent's four-point and forfeit the six-pip move. If on your next turn you roll a six-five, you have no choice but to forfeit your turn since you can't reenter your barred checker with that roll.

Backgammon mechanics of hitting and reentering follow a step-by-step process. The consequence of a hit is a barred checker or piece. As a result, the player whose piece is sent to the bar is limited to only using rolls to reenter that barred checker. And until that happens, any other pip move from their dice roll is forfeited and there's no other choice but to hope that their next roll can let them reenter that barred piece on the backgammon board.

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