Many people believe that backgammon is the most popular board game ever, and they are far from the truth. Millions of backgammon lovers around the globe play it on a daily basis and enjoy testing their skills against their friends or complete strangers on the web.
Why is backgammon so popular? First of all, it is extremely entertaining, as it requires both luck and skill to win the game. Some people who play backgammon sometimes get carried away and even forget about their duties, such as an unlucky police team putting their responsibilities aside because of the game, as described in this Daily Mail piece.
There are many things that contributed to its popularity, and we are going to list the most significant ones in this article. Hopefully, after reading the text, you will understand the cultural importance of this game across the globe. Read on!
There Is Evidence of Backgammon Being Played 5000 Years Ago
Games called Senet and Ur are ancient board games that were played in Ancient Egypt and are believed to be the direct descendants for the present-day backgammon. Many believe that Egypt was not the birthplace of this game at all, as there is evidence about the game being played in the Ancient Kingdom of Mesopotamia, which is located in present-day Iraq.
The main evidence that archaeologists successfully excavated includes a set of dice made of human bones that look pretty much like dice we use today to play various games of chance. Even when the Arabs conquered these parts of the world, they adopted the game and named it Nard (Nardshir), according to this article.
Backgammon Was Called Tabula in Rome
The ancient Romans were not lovers of gladiator fights only. Every once in a while they enjoyed a game they liked to call tabula, which simply means table in Latin. The rules were similar to backgammon and the Romans made their chips and board out of stone. However, tabula was not the only antecedent to backgammon in the Roman Empire, as they had another game called ludus duodecim scriptorum, which is roughly translated as the 12 markings game. Both Roman versions of backgammon are available nowadays, as their rules were written down.
Backgammon Was Popular in the Middle Ages
Europeans were eager to inherit the Roman legacy even when it comes to games. One of the first instances of backgammon during the middle ages is mentioned in the 11th century France as jeux de tables, which means the game of tables. The game reached Germany and Iceland during the 12th century, and Spain in the 13th century, when Alfonso X himself wrote the rules for the game in his Libro de los juegos.
Backgammon Is Available Online
Backgammon is now available online, and people can choose who they want to play against. An online version of this game called Backgammon Live on come2play enables players to play the game against their friends. However, most of the time, you will play it against randomly selected strangers, and you can even gain points and progress through the ranks, receiving valuable in-game prizes along the way.
Online backgammon is not that different from the land-based version of this game. In fact, pretty much all the rules apply to both versions, except that the online version enables you to change the interface as you see fit, meaning that you can change board and chip colors, design, and more.
There Are Backgammon Tournaments
The only other board game that managed to achieve the popularity of backgammon is chess. Both games are so popular that there are even professional tournaments around the globe where experts compete for the first prize.
The initial international backgammon tournament took place in the US back in 1964. It was popular among the wealthy, as numerous celebrities and members of royal houses attended and participated in the competition that was broadcast by hundreds of journalists.
The most popular tournament is called the World Series of Backgammon, and the initial one was also held in the US back in 1967. This time, Las Vegas was the host town and there were also other people apart from the royalty and the rich. In fact, the World Series of Backgammon is still active, except that places where it is conducted change every year.