Crisloid’s Guide to Doubling Cubes

If the doubling cube in your backgammon set doesn’t get any play, you’re missing out on a strategic, fun part of the game. Before handing your opponent the cube, it’s important to know how to use it to your advantage.

Here’s a quick guide on the rules regarding the cube with some basic ideas on offering, accepting and dropping it.




What does the doubling cube do?

The doubling cube allows either player to double the stakes of the game. It also increases the costs for gammons (twice the cube number) and backgammons (triple the cube number).


When can I use the doubling cube?

The cube must be used when its your turn, but before you roll the dice. If your opponent refuses the offer, he forfeits the game.


How should I use the doubling cube?

Many players automatically double the stakes if the initial dice rolls to determine who starts the game are identical. Automatic doubling is generally limited to once per game.

If you’re well ahead in a game, it may seem like a no-brainer to double the stakes. However, even novice players know the momentum in backgammon can swing in just a few rolls of the dice.

Once you’ve offered the doubling cube, your opponent controls it. It’s a very effective weapon. When your opponent rallies and controls the doubling cube, the stakes are no longer in your favor.


When your opponent hands you the cube should you choose to drop it and cut your losses?

There’s no easy answer for this question, but backgammon experts seem to agree that unless the game is really a lost cause it pays to accept the offer. If you accept the cube in a game where there’s some potential for a comeback and pull out a victory instead of forfeiting, the percentage of times you can do this outweighs the losses from refusing to accept the doubling cube.


Let’s hear from you.

Is the doubling cube in your backgammon set collecting dust, or do you use it as a strategic weapon? Whether you’re a novice player or seasoned pro, we would love to learn more about how Crisloid players are using the doubling cube. Let us know how you’re putting it in play or if you have any questions on how the cube should be used. Join in the conversation, stir up some debate and offer strategy tips to help others gamers learn to dominate their opponents.


4 thoughts on “Crisloid’s Guide to Doubling Cubes

  1. Brent says:

    Without the doubling cube, backgammon is a somewhat interesting parlor game on the order of checkers.

    With the doubling cube (and when used intelligently), backgammon becomes a fascinating and compelling game of strategy on the order of (or in my view, even exceeding) chess, worthy of informed study, practice, and mastery.

    What we really need is a deluxe selection of Crisloid doubling cubes (and even other doubling devices) that harken back to the glory days of the late 1920s to mid-1930s when backgammon was popular and the doubling vibe was first coming on the scene: substantial (1.5 – 2″or even more), chunky cubes, half cubes, hexagons, even octagons in beautiful swirled patterns and demonstrating the same variety and commitment to hand-made craftsmanship as is evidenced in your pieces. I’d buy at least one of each 🙂

  2. Ross says:

    Brent is right. He is a well seasoned player and has won many tournaments. I like his analogy to checkers and chess. Backgammon is an intriguing game that has so many complexities. The Cube was invented in the late 20′ early 30’s with the creation of a Backgammon variant called the Chouette (multiple player Backgammon for stakes). It changed the game forever. So the while the game itself is a life study, using the Cube has a complete strategy of it’s own and is a life study in it’s own right. So now when you play the game, you’ve got two completely separate but still related strategies to work with. Mastery is not an easy task. A good looking, good sized Cube with a nice weight and feel to it add to the personalization of your game, your strategy and your style. Backgammon is very personal. You have to make it your own to really separate yourself from the crowd. And for me, no one does that personalization like Crisloid. Especially their cubes. As a vintage collector, I have over 30 boards and Crisloid Cubes and Checkers are all I use. Period.

  3. CBC says:

    I like to double when I think my opponent will drop. I wait for a good run of dice that have helped me create a strong position. Then I intimidate them with the Cube. I’ll take a 9pt match 1 at a time, I don’t care. And if they make a mistake and take, I’m just that better off. If I wait too long or until the dice go cold, they will take and very often win. Of course if I double too early, they get good dice and throw it back. Now I have to give them 2pts instead of 1.

    Basic Cube evaluations to start with. Choose one you can remember:

    PRaTTOM*: Position, Race, Threat of being gammoned, Timing, Opponents ability level, Match score
    *most well known in the BG community

    RiPTTaG: Race, Position, Threat, Timing, Gammon

    TRaP-GOT’M**: Threat, Race, Position, Gammon, Opponent, Timing, Match score
    **my personal favorite

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