Getting Your First Backgammon Set
You can't expect to be a great race car driver if the only cars you get to drive are below standard. So it is with backgammon, if you're really serious about it you should get a backgammon set that will help you master the game. Knowing a great backgammon set from one that's poorly is simply part of backgammon basics.
The first thing you'll have to consider when choosing your very first set or subsequent sets is the size of the board. A good tournament-size backgammon board will work well for you. Playing on such a board makes everything fair for both players. This will also help you become familiar with the exact same board used in tournaments.
Make sure that the checkers that come with your backgammon set fit on the pips of the board. There should be enough room on the board to roll your dice. You want the dice to roll well on the board and not land on any of the checkers or jump off the table. You should be picky with the colors of your board. It should be clear enough and distinct enough so as not to cause confusion in the game.
Moving on to your checkers, at first you might want to stick with the checkers that come with the board. You can go for other replacement checkers if you like just make sure they're the same size. You'll be doing that someday when you break chips after several years. Usually, the colors of your checkers should match the ones on your board.
Talking about the dice you should make sure that they are precision dice. Their corners should've been rounded off so they roll better. They should be balanced fairly without one side being slightly heavier than another. Clear dice are great and will usually have markings inside.
Along with the dice come the dice cups. The only guideline about your dice cups is that they should be big enough so the dice tumble in them nicely. The dice shouldn't fall out of the cups when you shake them. Good dice cups have lips on them that make the dice rotate as they tumble out on the board.
One last important thing you should want to know about your backgammon set is the price. Backgammon sets that sell for a couple of hundred dollars will work but won't work well. $300 to $400 backgammon boards are good but of course there is still that chance you'll find one that's great but is cheaper. If you go for the expensive leather sets, remember to bring at least $700 with you. Distinguishing a good set for a great one is part of backgammon basics.