Backgammon is one of the oldest known board games. Its history can be traced back nearly 5,000 years to archaeological discoveries in Mesopotamia.
Many cultures have had similar games – Persia, Armenia, the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, Egypt, Greece and East Asia, all with different names.
The jeux de tables (‘Games of Tables’), predecessors of modern backgammon, first appeared in France during the 11th century.
The game is described in a famous 13th century manuscript from Spain called Libro de los Juegos – Book of Games.
A Backgammon board was found among the items on the Vasa, a Swedish ship that sank in 1628.
Backgammon boards can be seen in many paintings from the 17th century.
Considered gambling for many years, banned by both the Louis IX in the 13th century and the Elizabethan Court in the 16th century, but the clergy actually made the game popular in the 1700’s.
It was very popular in Victorian times and its popularity spread to the United States as well.
In English, the word “backgammon” is most likely derived from “back” and gamen, meaning “game”.
It is a two-player game where each player has fifteen pieces (checkers) that move between twenty-four triangles (points) according to the roll of two dice. The objective of the game is to be first to move all fifteen checkers off the board.