Backgammon and the History of Tables

Backgammon belongs to category of board games known as tables. Tables is one of the oldest class of games around the world and has many variants. The theme of games that are classified under tables is very similar to backgammon. Understanding the history of backgammon will therefore require an understanding of the history of tables. Learning the origin of the game is part of backgammon basics.

There many backgammon like games that have existed throughout the centuries. One of the oldest tables game that will strikingly resemble backgammon is Senet. This game was played by the ancient Egyptians with artifacts dating back to 3000-1788 BC. Unfortunately the rules of this game as well as the function of the dice have not been found.

The Ludus duodecim sriptorum is an early ancestor of today's modern backgammon that was played by the ancient Romans. This game is played on a board with three rows that have 12 points for each row. This early backgammon variant dates as far back to the first century.

Moving a bit forward into the sixth century we will find a predecessor of our modern backgammon game known as nard. This game is credited to Burzoe who was described to have played the game with an Indian Raja.

We will also find a French predecessor of backgammon in the 11th century. A pastime for many French gamblers of the day was jeux de tables. Unfortunately Louis IX prohibited court officials from playing jeux de tables in one of his decrees.

Backgammon eventually made its way across continents and into different parts of the world. There are many early variants of the game that were found in the Middle East and Central Asia. In consequence our modern day backgammon was once known by many different names. It is called ifranjiah (Arabic), takhte nard (Iran), shesh besh (Middle East).

Among the Greeks backgammon was known as tavli while among the Japanese it was known as sugoroku. But as a precaution, remember that these early predecessors are variants of what we know today as backgammon. There are similarities but there will indeed be variations as to how the games are played.

Today backgammon can be played by anybody. It has enjoyed popularity and it also had its downs. One major step came about with the introduction of computers and the Internet. Backgammon became more accessible to more people.

Anyone can learn about the game, its history, and play backgammon online. Understanding the origins of the game adds to our appreciation of it. The history of this game is part of backgammon basics.