Last updated: 16/10/2022

How we pick our products

29Products analysed

68Hours spent

27Evaluated articles

147User reviews

Welcome to our big backgammon test 2023. Here we present all the backgammon games we have tested. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the net.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best backgammon game for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should pay attention to if you want to buy a backgammon game.




Summary

  • Backgammon is available in different designs. These include backgammon cases, backgammon on wheels and backgammon tables. The former two are particularly suitable for travelling thanks to their easy storage.
  • The design of the backgammon is very individual. The board typically includes two colours so that players can tell their pieces apart.
  • The material also varies. It can be made of high-quality wood, plastic or leather. Which material is the right one depends on the particular finish and your own taste.

The Best Backgammon: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a backgammon game

Who is backgammon suitable for?

Backgammon is suitable for anyone who wants to pass the time with a classic board game.

The rules are easy to explain, but the tactical aspect can make the game challenging for advanced players.

Backgammon is suitable for beginners as well as advanced players.

The game is very popular and is one of the oldest board games in the world. Over time, numerous variations have developed that can be played on the same board. This means that variety is always on offer.

Backgammon is the perfect game for cosy evenings. Whether young or old, beginner or advanced. (Image source: pixabay.com / stevepb)

What size should a backgammon game be?

The ideal size of a backgammon board depends on your individual requirements. Small boards are ideal for easy storage when travelling. Larger boards are better for playing at home.

How much does a backgammon game cost?

Backgammon boards vary in design, quality, size and material. The price range is very wide and can range from about 5 to 500 euros.

The cheap versions are usually travel sets made of plastic. Expensive backgammon boards, on the other hand, are made of high-quality wood.

What alternatives are there to backgammon?

In addition to classic backgammon, electronic versions have also become established. Other traditional alternatives include checkers, mill and mancala. We will show you the main differences in the following section.

Type Description
Electronic backgammon Nowadays, backgammon in computer form is very popular. Users can play against each other online or offline.
Checkers Checkers is a board game played on a square board with alternating white and black squares. As in backgammon, checkers are also used. The aim is to capture or block all the opponent’s checkers
Mill Mill is a board game played in pairs. The board consists of three squares lying inside each other with connecting lines in the centres of the sides. The game is usually played with nine black and nine white round, flat pieces.
Mancala Mancala stands for various board games that are usually played by two people. The mancala game originated in Africa and Asia. Characteristic is the use of game pieces that lie in hollows and have to be redistributed.

Various game variants can be played on a backgammon board.

These include Plakoto, Nardi or Nackgammon, for example.

Decision: What types of backgammon game are there and which one is right for you?

Depending on individual requirements, different types of backgammon games can be recommended. For example, the size and the material differ. In this article we present the following types of backgammon:

  • Backgammon case
  • Backgammon on wheels
  • Backgammon table

These different types each have advantages and disadvantages. In the following section we would like to make it easier for you to decide.

What distinguishes a backgammon case and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A widely used type of backgammon board is the backgammon case. Here, the board can be folded in the middle, closed with a hinge and carried by a handle. This makes it easy to store and transport all the pieces and dice.

Advantages
  • Easy to stow away
  • Various price classes
  • Various designs available
Disadvantages
  • Folding mechanism can be prone to errors

The cases are usually made of wood. However, the quality can vary greatly. Therefore, the suitcases can be chosen from different price ranges. However, the folding mechanism of inexpensive versions can be prone to faults.

There are also variations without a handle. In this case, one speaks of a backgammon cassette.

What are the characteristics of backgammon on wheels and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The backgammon board for rolling is usually made of real or artificial leather. The board can therefore be easily rolled up. The pieces and dice are stored inside the roll.

Advantages
  • Compact
  • Ideal for travelling
  • Inexpensive
Disadvantages
  • Tends to be lower quality
  • Not stable
  • Risk of losing game pieces greater

This type of backgammon is very compact and ideal for travelling. It also tends to be the cheapest.

However, you should note that the board is not very stable and pieces can get lost quite easily.

What distinguishes a backgammon table and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The backgammon table belongs to the most expensive type of backgammon. They are wooden tables in which a backgammon board is integrated. The table is usually made of high-quality wood.

Advantages
  • High-quality workmanship
  • Sturdy board
  • Can be used for more than just playing
Disadvantages
  • High price
  • Takes up a lot of space
  • Not suitable for travelling

Since the game board is integrated into the table, the game experience is very stable. In addition, the game pieces and dice can usually be stored discreetly. This means that the table can also be used elsewhere.

This type of backgammon game is not suitable for travelling due to its large dimensions.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate backgammon games

In the following, we will show you which aspects you can use to decide on the right backgammon game.

The criteria you can use to compare backgammon games include:

  • Size
  • Material
  • Design
  • Accessories

In the following paragraphs, we will explain what each criterion entails.

Size

There is no standard size for backgammon. Even in tournaments there are often no fixed specifications. The size of the board therefore depends on personal preference.

The dimensions of professional boards usually range between 44 cm x 55 cm and 66 cm x 88 cm. Boards for recreational players are usually available smaller. However, to guarantee a pleasant playing experience, the board should not be too small.

Typical tournament boards have a checker size, i.e. the size of the square fields, of 44 mm. But radii of 38 mm or 51 mm are also accepted.

Material

Backgammon games can be made of different materials. The most common variants are made of wood.

Possible types of wood include alder, mahogany, hornbeam, birch or bamboo. When buying, you should look for high-quality wood and good workmanship. Backgammon boards for rolling are often made of real or artificial leather. There are also variants made of plastic.

Boards made of wood are particularly convincing because of their appearance. The disadvantage of wooden boards, however, is that the dice are relatively loud when played. That is why such boards are not used for tournaments. To dampen the noise of rolling dice, the playing surface is made of felt or leather.

Design

Backgammon boards are available in many different colours. It is common to alternate the colour of the tongues. Tongues are the triangular squares on the board.

Ideally, the tongues should be embedded in the playing surface.

If they are only sewn on, the pieces can get stuck when they are moved, which reduces the playing experience.

Fine wooden backgammon games are provided with so-called inlays. This is a decoration technique in which different pieces of wood are placed inside or next to each other in such a way that a flat surface is created. Different coloured and differently structured woods can be used.

Backgammon boards are available in different designs. Wooden versions with inlays are particularly elegant. (Image source: pixabay.com / iKLICK)

Accessories

When you buy a backgammon game, the necessary accessories are usually included. These usually include two or four dice, a doubling cube, game pieces and sometimes also one or two dice cups.

As with the game board, the game pieces can be made of different materials such as wood or plastic.

Professional backgammon uses dice with rounded corners. The size of the dice varies. Common edge lengths are 12.7 mm, 14.3 mm or 15.9 mm.

Facts worth knowing about backgammon

Where does Backgammon originally come from?

Backgammon has a very long tradition and is one of the oldest board games in the world. However, its origins have not been fully deciphered. Due to the lack of historical documents about the old games, one has to rely on assumptions about the rules of the game at that time. One theory is that today’s backgammon has two direct ancestors: the Roman “Tabulae” and the Arabic “Nard” or “Nardschir”. There are also some board games from the Asian region that have similarities with backgammon.

In the Roman Empire, the so-called Twelve Lines Game was played by the then Emperor Claudius. He even wrote down the rules in a book. The game was already played on a board similar to today’s board.

The origin of the name is also not clear. One explanation is that the term is a combination of the old Anglo-Saxon words “back” and “gamen”. This alludes to the fact that players are hit and thrown back again in the course of the game.

The names could also refer to the fact that backgammon was often played on the back of chess or draughts boards. Furthermore, the name could have a Welsh origin and have developed from the words “back” (Welsh for war) and “cammon” (Welsh for war). Accordingly, backgammon is called “little war”.

How is backgammon constructed?

A backgammon board consists of 24 triangles. These are called points or tongues. There are 12 on each side. The 6th and 7th point on each side is divided into the home and outer board by the so-called bar. For example, it can be played with 15 white and 15 black stones. Each player then owns all the stones of the respective colour.

The placement of the pieces is fixed. On the first point of each side there are two stones, on the 12th point in the direction of play there are five stones, on the 17th point there are three stones and on the 19th point there are five stones.

It should be noted, however, that neither the colours of the stones, nor the direction of play, nor the position of the home field are predetermined. If the players cannot agree, the formation can be decided by dice.

You can also see the set-up in the following video:

How is backgammon played?

The aim of backgammon is to get all your pieces out of the field. This is achieved by bringing all the pieces into the home field and then rolling the dice to get them out. If the opponent gives up, the game is also won.

To find out which player may start, the dice are rolled once. The player with the higher number starts. The stones may then be moved by the respective value of the dice. However, the respective number of dice must be used individually.

After the first move, both players roll two dice each. If possible, they must then use both numbers to move their stones. If only one die value is used, the higher number counts. If no moves are possible, the player must sit out. If the same number is rolled twice, i.e. a double, each die value must be used twice.

The direction of movement is from the opponent’s home field via the outer field to the player’s own home field. Pieces can only be placed on fields that are still open. There must not be more than one opponent’s piece there. If the square is occupied by more than one opponent’s piece, it may not be used. Own pieces, on the other hand, may be stacked on top of each other indefinitely.

If a piece lands on a square with only one opponent’s piece, it is captured. It is placed on the bar in the middle of the playing field. Before the player may move with other pieces, he must first bring all the pieces from the bar back into play. This is done by rolling the dice. The pieces are placed in the opponent’s home field according to the number of dice rolled. If this is not possible, the player sits out.

When all 15 of a player’s checkers are in the home board, the dice can be rolled. The pieces are removed if they move over the last square into the so-called zero square. If no piece with a number on it can be removed, another piece must be moved in the home field. If there are only stones left on low squares, the highest one is removed.

The game counts normally if one player has won and the other has removed at least one of his pieces. If no piece has been removed, the game is counted twice. The winner has then achieved a so-called gammon. If, in addition, there are still stones of the opponent in the home field of the winner or on the bar, this is called a backgammon.

What variations of backgammon are there?

In addition to standardised backgammon, there are many different variations that vary from region to region. For example, there are changed starting positions, restrictions on certain movements of the pieces, different numbers of pieces or a changed direction of the game movement.

In the following, we present a few variations as examples.

Variation Description
Hypergammon You play with 3 pieces per player. The starting positions are the three squares furthest away from the player.
Nackgammon There are two checkers on the 23rd square at the start, and only four each on squares 13 and 6. All other rules are the same as in traditional backgammon.
Fevga All 15 pieces of the respective player start on the first square. You are not allowed to move onto occupied squares. This means that checkers cannot be captured.
Backgammon You may hit backwards. All other rules of classic backgammon remain the same. A modification allows hitting backwards only with the smaller of the numbers rolled.

Picture source: 123rf.com / Iuliia Safronova

Reviews