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Q: Backgammon ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Backgammon
Category: Sports and Recreation > Games
Asked by: mastermugu2-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 03 Nov 2004 20:33 PST
Expires: 03 Dec 2004 20:33 PST
Question ID: 424177
what are the different designs for backgammon boards. early designs to
current designs. not in terms of board dimensions but the actual
playing surface asthetics. ie was there different conventions used on
early boards such as different designs of the points. Early (in
history) backgammon board pictures
Subject: Re: Backgammon
Answered By: hammer-ga on 07 Nov 2004 17:22 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Looking at the pictures, the design of backgammon boards appears to
vary greatly in ornamentation, although not so much in
basic/functional design. The main variations appear to be:

1. Long triangles, like we see on modern boards. These can be plain,
painted, inlaid, and ornamented in any imaginable way. They also
sometimes have stylized tips.

2. Rounded tips. Some of the older Indian boards show this variations.
Those that are handpainted with each position being a brushstroke also
tend to be rounded.

3. Short triangles or dots to mark position.

Backgammon is a very old game with variations in many cultures. The
board designs, while similar, are heavily influenced by the creating
culture, much as one sees with chessboard/piece designs.

I read information on over 50 sites, but, since you are not interested
in the history of the game itself, I selected some sites that either
include historical board pictures or discuss board design within the
historical desriptions.

The Origin of Backgammon
I believe this site will provide you with just what you were looking
for. It has diagrams and pictures of various board designs dating back
to the 1100's. By exploring the site, you will find lots of images
taken from historical books, paintings, drawings and tapestries
depicting people playing backgammon, which often clearly show the
boards. Almost every page includes an image or description of a
different board. The pictures show a wonderful progression of
different designs, and each includes references identifying time
period, culture and the origin of the board image.

The Gloucester Tabulae Set
This site has only one board, but it is well photographed and is meant
to be one of the oldest surviving boards.

MindZine - History of Backgammon
This is a "history" site, however, it discusses other games which may
be related to backgammon, which may be of interest to you as far as
board design evolution. It also includes a few historical images of
boards and references a book which may interest you: The Backgammon
Book by Oswald Jacoby & John R Crawford

If the book mentioned above does interest you, it is available through Amazon.
The book focuses on how to play the game, but does appear to include
some historical pictures as part of the background information on the

I very much enjoyed researching this question for you. I spent over
two hours wandering around the Origin of Backgammon site I first
mentioned. I hope you find that site as enjoyable and interesting as I

- Hammer

Clarification of Answer by hammer-ga on 07 Nov 2004 17:54 PST
I was having so much fun looking at pictures, I forgot to include my
search strategy.

Google Search
"backgammon boards" history design

I also did a Google Image search on "backgammon". I didn't include the
results because almost all the images are of the modern "long
triangle" style of points. However, if you are interested in seeing
modern boards in a very wide range of color combinations, you might
like to browse the board images.

- Hammer
mastermugu2-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
Fantastic. Thank you very much Hammer

Subject: Re: Backgammon
From: tlspiegel-ga on 04 Nov 2004 23:17 PST
This might be of interest to you.

"Then the game concept traveled into the Anglo Saxon culture by the
early 7th century and, during the medieval Crusades, the game once
again gained influence as a gaming activity for soldiers and traders
under the name "Tables" or "Tabula". The Church attempted to outlaw
the game a few times but was always unsuccessful. One did not even
need a standard board to play as the board could be scratched out in
dirt or sand and played with small stones. A pair of dice could also
be hastily carved or painted and then abandoned or secreted in a
player's home or on their person. The last attempt to outlaw what we
now know as backgammon came in the early part of the 16th century from
a cardinal named Woolsey. The cardinal ordered all boards burnt and
declared the game "the devil's folly" but English craftsman quickly
came up with the idea to fold the boards in half in a book-type
arrangement to creatively disguise the board."
Subject: Re: Backgammon
From: mastermugu2-ga on 07 Nov 2004 15:21 PST
Thanks for the page, but i am not really after the history or
derivation of backgammon but the earliest designs of backgammon boards

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