Backgammon is a very popular board game where various strategies are used to win the game. People have played the game down through the years. The history of backgammon is a long and interesting one. We will explore this backgammon history and also where the game is today. So if you are a novice player or an experienced one you may find the information enlightening to you. Read on to find out more.
The history of backgammon has its origins back in the days of the Persian Empire. Backgammon has been around longer than any other board game as far as recorded history. There are also references to the game in writings from the Far East, Greece and Rome though too.
There has been evidence found, which it dates back as far as 5000 years, in the Iranian city called Shahr-e Sukhteh. This evidence included an ebony board of rectangular shape and the pieces were made of agate and turquoise. There were dice found too. The board was more elaborate than the boards today with a serpent interwoven throughout making the 20 game slots. This is less than the 24 slots of the game played today. The artifacts included some 60 pieces which is more than what the game today is played with, only 30 are used today. This shows to the rules being somewhat different from the version of backgammon played today.
The Egyptian also played a game called senat, which involved a variety of sizes of boards. Evidence of this game dates back as far as 3000 to 1788BC but the rules to this day are unknown. Then during the first century (that is AD by the way), Ludus Duodecim Scriptorum, which was derived from senat, transformed into a variation of 2 rows containing 12 points each. Then Alea appeared in the 6th century. These games and others started to be known as Tabula. This was just a broad term used for any board game.
Now for the more modern history of backgammon, the English first referred to a similar game to backgammon in 1025AD as “Nard” or the more common term of “Tables.” This game was played in the English taverns during the middle ages. In the 15th century though, chess became more popular. Backgammon was also banned for a length of time, because gambling was done with it, during the time that Elizabeth I was in reign. Backgammon has been known by many names during backgammon history. The history of backgammon believes that the term “backgammon” came about in 1645. Most likely the term originated from the Saxon baec, which means back, and the Saxon gamen, which means game.
In the 1920s the doubling cube is believed to be added to the game. This enhanced the skill taken for the game. At this time it was mainly played by the upper class. Then in 1931 the rules for backgammon were altered into the rules we know today at least here in the USA.
Today the history of backgammon also includes the computer. Many websites are available to buy backgammon equipment. Some people play online too. But the purists of backgammon history still prefer to play with a physical board and playing pieces as often as they can.
By Stewart Ames