The four pip

< Previous | Next >


Senior Member
Vietnamese - Vietnam
In the film "Phantom Thread", when Alma and Reynolds are playing Backgamonn, they have a conversation:
Alma: "I rolled a three."
Reynolds: "Yes, but that's the four pip. Get back to the bar where you belong. Let's not start cheating at this stage, Alma."
I don't know the rules of this game so I don't understand what Reynold is talking. Can someone tell me what "the four pip" is?
Is it the pips in a dice? Then how come it is not "four pips" instead of "the four pip"?
Thanks in advance!
  • Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Is there an implication that Alma filled one of the four dimples with some kind of paint or putty that matched the colour of the body of the die, so that only three of the four pips showed?
    That just seems unbelievably puerile. As if Reynolds would fall for something as ill thought-out as that. It doesn't make any sense.

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Surely Reynolds is referring to the four point; presumably the three point is occupied (and Alma didn't also roll a four).

    This is not the forum to discuss the rules of backgammon, but it is a board with twelve points (long triangles) on each side and a bar down the middle. If one of your checkers gets hit by the other player then it gets placed on the bar, and you cannot do anything else till you have entered it back into play, by placing it on one of your opponents points one to six, corresponding with your roll of the dice (there are two dice and each number is counted separately, they aren't added together), but you cannot place it on any point which is occupied by more than one of your opponents checkers.

    In this case, Alma has a checker on the bar, so she must move it before she can do anything else. She roiled a three (and something else, not a four). The three point is occupied so she cannot place the checker there. The four point isn't, but she didn't foll a four.

    My guess is that Alma has counted points in the wrong direction. The four point is three from the bar.

    For detailed rules of backgammon, and more information than you could possibly want to know, see here:
    Backgammon Rules
    < Previous | Next >