Our Top Suggestions

Comprehensive and detailed articles, guides and tools for blackjack players. Lucky black jack is one of those rare casino sites that actually delivers quality content for its visitors.

A History of Backgammon

The history and origin of Backgammon is unclear, and at this point it may be impossible to determine with certainty. The archaeological evidence suggests that Backgammon, or its ancestor, was played as far back as ancient Sumer. Cuneiform tablets and other artifacts depicting a board game with dice, c.3,000 -1770 BC, have been unearthed.

Other board games that may have had an influence in charting the history of Backgammon have been discovered in the ruins of Egypt, Persia and Rome. There are even some in China and the Far East that resemble the game. However researchers generally accept only European and Arabian games as possible Backgammon descendants.

The Roman Tabulae (c.540 AD) was played by the Romans with three dice, and often credited as a precursor to the modern game. Another possible source is the Babylonian Nardschir (300-400 AD). This had more in common with the modern game, as it was played with 15 pieces and 2 dice. In addition the rules allowed for hitting" and "reentering".

Whatever the exact history of Backgammon may be, by the time of the Crusades in the 10th and 11th centuries, variants of the game were being played widely all over Europe. It was called Tables Reales in Spain, Tavlac in Turkey, Tric Trac in France , etc. In the UK the game was known as Tables, although it was also known, according to some historians, as Backgammon.

Incidentally, the word itself is thought to be derived from the Welsh "bach" ("little") and caumon ("battle"), although this is being disputed by other scholars. The word Backgammon itself first appeared in James Howell's Familiar Letters.

During the 15th century, the game, which often led to gambling, proved so popular that the Church decreed all board games be burned. During the reign of Elizabeth I the game was also banned, but it was the last time in the history of Backgammon that the game would face such a sanction.

Its history in the United States began in the 1800s, and where most of the later innovations would take place. The doubling cube was introduced in the 1920s in New York. As the popularity of the game grew, the major game clubs got together in the 1930s to consolidate and standardized the rules.

During the 1960s Backgammon money tournaments were held, the first time being in 1964. The success of these competitions led to a proliferation of books during the 1970s. These books, notably Oswald & Crawford's The Backgammon Book and Magriel's Backgammon, approached the game from an analytical point of view, changing the way people would play and strategize.

The 1980s saw the emergence of computer Backgammon games, and the 1990s online versions. No doubt, the popularity of the game will only increase as more online games and money tournaments are created.