Backgammon History Guide

What is Backgammon

Backgammon – An Ancient Game that Steps into The Future

Ask most people about leisure activity in the Ancient World and they will probably mention the sport of hunting, Greek athletics, or the cruel contests staged between Roman gladiators and wild animals. It will therefore come as a surprise to many that one of today’s most popular games – backgammon – actually has a history going back some five thousand years.

Nobody knows for sure who was the first person to invent the backgammon game but scholars believe it was devised or developed in the area today occupied by Iran and Iraq.

The Oldest Game on Earth – Backgammon and its Origin

Since written descriptions of how to play backgammon had not yet been discovered, it is hard to know for sure that the backgammon rules of ancient Persia were similar to the ones we are familiar with today. The fact that the design of the backgammon board with the twenty four narrow divisions known as points, and the fifteen round counters, and the dice whose throws determine the counter movements, were all part of the ancient game, does suggest it had a great deal in common with the contemporary version.

A favourite for the Roman Emperor

Backgammon was popularized further by the Romans and became a favorite game of the Emperor Claudius, and the fate of the opponent foolish enough to let Claudius lose can only be imagined. The Roman version of backgammon, known as tabula (from the Latin for table) was played exclusively for money, what we would today term backgammon gambling. The thought of going to play backgammon for the fun alone does not seem to have been part of that cultural milieu.

4000 Years without a Rulebook – It was about time

The spread of the backgammon game around the world continued after the collapse of the Roman Empire, however it was not until the 1740’s that the backgammon rules were first published. The introduction of commercially produced backgammon sets at a price that most people could easily afford, also played a role in making the game available to people all around the world.

Online backgammon – Playing is easier than ever

The developments in the first five thousand years of backgammon gave no inkling of that at the end of the twentieth century, backgammon stood on the verge of a major revolution. The introduction of online backgammon has initiated a major explosion in interest in the game, and brought it to a whole new, predominantly young audience.

The ability to download Internet backgammon as free backgammon has meant there is no longer any need to even buy a backgammon set but you can have a high quality 3-D backgammon game setup on your own computer.

Although the long-lasting appeal of backgammon gambling has given a major push to the popularity of the backgammon online games, the chance to play against a sophisticated backgammon computer and play against players from all around the world, are also key attractions. In addition the online game allows players to play at a time that suits them, and from the comfort of their own home.

All the information required to learn the rules of the game and understand backgammon strategy is now available online – players have never had it easier.