The term ‘backgammon’ is basically Welsh, and means ‘wee battle’. Much information about this game and the history of backgammon is narrated in the compilation of mid-1700 by the famous writer Edmund Hoyle.
The Backgammon we see today didn-t start in just one day; instead the history of the game of backgammon is the outcome of a number of evolution processes over a long period of time. Along with Go and Chess, Backgammon is also considered one of the oldest games but it was more popular than the first two. In America, this game became so popular that the game board became a common sight in all homes, just like Chess.
In ancient times, different types of Game of Tables that were played on a board of 24 points where popular. These games used to be distinguished from each other by the position of the players at the start of the game. A game similar to backgammon first appeared in the middle ages and was generally named according to the land where it was played. For example, it was known as Shuanglu in China, Todas Tablas in Spain etc. Backgammon played in England during the Renaissance was called Irish and in France, it was popular as Toutes Tables. Historically, the game is in vogue since the 12-13 century BC. In England, Backgammon appeared in 1635.
According to Backgammon history, there is also another school of supporters who argue that the Backgammon is more than 5000 years old and dates back to the Mesopotamian culture. This is strengthened by the occasional archeological findings of board games that are very similar to the present day Backgammon. The older variant of the game was seen both in Egyptian culture as well as Indian. Interestingly, the Romans played this game with 3 dices.
It is when the game reached Persia that they took away one dice and made it a 2-dice game. From Persia, this game gained acceptance among Anglo Saxon culture and during the Crusades, soldiers and traders began pursuing it under the name ‘Tabula’. The game was so easy to be played that even a few drawings on sand or any hard surface with small stones in place of dices would enable anyone to play it. Although the Church tried to ban this game, it never worked out. The last attempt by the Church to put an end to the game by terming it ‘the devil’s folly’ was thwarted by English craftsmen who developed the foldable or book-like game boards that were easy to hide. And till this day, the Backgammon boards come in the foldable format.
After a short spell during the Victorian age, the Backgammon gaming gained acceptance among Americans by early 20th century. It is in this period that the doubling cube appeared which gave freshness to the game by increasing the stakes for the winner.
Even today, Backgammon entices those who have a passion for this game. The simplicity of the game board attracts more people to it than a game of the popular Chess. Backgammon is fast-paced yet requires a gaming skill and of course a lot of luck.