Being one of the oldest board games in history, Backgammon is a recreational game which is sought out by thousands of people throughout the world. The main objective of the game entails two opponents competing against each other in a race to place their fifteen checker pieces on opposite sides of the backgammon board in what are called ‘Home Boards’. The first player to reach their finishing point wins. Although this game sounds simple enough, it requires strategy and luck to roll the right amount on the dice in order to make the right moves without being blocked by their opponent. As this is a fast paced game and each round can be over within minutes, most backgammon games are played in tournaments or competitions taking the best out of five. It is a game which brings people together no matter their linguistic or political perspectives. This game requires no words, but simply the swift movement of dice and checker pieces.
Backgammon history goes back thousands of years to early civilizations who sought out ways to develop board games for entertainment and gambling. Although the game has been banned over a number of years due to its gambling element, backgammon has had a roller coaster ride in popularity. Historians argue about the true origin of the actual backgammon game, but evidence shows the game was being played in various forms across the globe from Asia, the Middle East and ancient European civilizations. Some forms of this board game utilised two dice or even sometimes three dice in order to Play Backgammon. Backgammon has come a long way since then with a new set of backgammon rules which were established in the 20th century. The layout of the backgammon board has changed drastically from the ancient board games which were found. Originally, players used to make use of wooden hollow boxes where they would place their pieces before rolling the dice. Today, backgammon is somewhat similar to that layout only that the board is in fact on the back of a chess board; hence the name Backgammon (although some historians believe the name derived from the Welsh words meaning ‘little battle’). Most chess boards nowadays come in the form of a wooden box where by on one side will comprise of checked boxes for chess or checkers while on the inner part of the box is where the backgammon game is played. The backgammon board contains a series of twenty four triangular points on which a player’s pieces need to move on. Each triangular point alternates between two colours in order to make a clearer distinction while players’ checker pieces are also two different colours. Most checker pieces are either red and white or black and white. Either way players have their own coloured checker pieces to move around the board with.
As backgammon is a competitive game, players need still rely on luck and strategy. Luck will depend on each roll of the dice while strategy will depend on how the players manoeuvre their checker pieces so as to block their opponents’ pieces and reach their home board first. Whenever a single piece is left unattended on the board, it is called a ‘blot’ and the opponent has the opportunity to land on that piece with their own checker piece. This in turn will send that single piece to stand on the bar in the middle of the backgammon board before the player is able to roll the dice and release it sending it back to the beginning of the board. Therefore, in the game of backgammon, it is always important for each player to think one step ahead of their opponent. The only way an opponent cannot block to the other player is if two or more checker pieces are on top of one another not allowing any other opponents’ pieces to land on top of them. Another strategy entails a player taking up as many points as possible so that the opponent is unable to move smoothly along the board. The reason for this is because whenever a player rolls the dice, they would need to move in exactly the same number of empty points as the number on the dice. The same strategy applies when players manage to reach all their pieces to the opposite side of the board; to the home board. This means that in order to finish the game, players would need to roll the exact number on the dice it would take for their pieces to reach the very last point on the board. Should both players reach this point of the game simultaneously, then it is a race against luck to see who will turn out to be the winner.
With the increased popularity of backgammon and the advancement of the internet, online games are constantly excelling. Since the late 20th century with the introduction to the internet, it gave players the ability to play countless games with players from around the world from the comfort of their own home. Although backgammon never lost its popularity, many players were unable to attend tournaments and championship due to the distance of some such games. Therefore it was the idea of a Swedish company that backgammon was to become an online board game sensation. The original online backgammon game entailed two players to log in and begin playing for fun. However with the increased demand of such games, online backgammon also began offering free backgammon for all players who wondered about this board game. This type of play enables all players of all ages to attend tournaments through their computer. At the beginning of the century, backgammon was banned due to its gambling nature, but after time, it did not become so much of a gambling game but more of a competitive entertaining game. As mentioned earlier, tournaments takes place around the world as well as online and the winner can win large sums of money by attending. This attracted the interest of many youths who enjoyed the game and appreciated the competition.