Backgammon is undoubtedly a timeless classic board game! A game which has stood the test of time and is still one of the most popular board games played worldwide. There is no guessing why! The game is pretty easy to learn and get started with, doesn't require much setup and comes in a portable carrying case. But how do you choose your very own Backgammon set? Don't worry, we've got you covered.
After trying out 24 backgammon sets, we think you should get the Get-The-Games-Out Classic Backgammon Set because it offers the best combination of price, features, and quality. It comes in an easy to carry upscale Leatherette carrying case, spare chips/dice, and a trademarked strategy/tips guide.
The 4 Best Backgammon Board
1. Silverman & Co. 19-inch Premium Backgammon Board
For Serious Gamers
The Silverman & Co. is the Ferrari of Backgammon sets; offering the best-in-class build quality, style, and playability. This premium backgammon set is 19-inch wide, is available in ten different design and color schemes. Boasting elegant style, quality craftsmanship, premium leatherette exterior, and a smooth padded felt playing surface; this setup is made with a rugged handle, solid steel latches, and a superior frame. Its design makes it a showstopper at tournaments and easy to pack up and travel with.
The checkers are a hefty 1.5" in diameter and 3/8" thick, designed to enlighten the senses as they glide across the felt board. They are designed to fit inside the board smoothly to keep them from rattling around in transit, minimizing any scuffing and scratching in the process. The setup also includes ergonomic oval dice cups complete with a felt lining that reduces noise during play. They also feature a set of high gloss dice as well as a 1" doubling cube.
One thing our research has shown us is that people love these boards. The price tag might boggle your mind if you've never paid over $40 for a board game. But to the true Backgammon lover who is looking for a quality set, this is that perfect setup. And it screams 'luxury' at every turn.
What we love
+ Sturdy Build
+ Attention to the details & quality craftsmanship
+ Multiple color and design options
+ Snug fit compartments for secure storage of checkers
Watch out for
2. Sondergut Roll-Up Suede Backgammon Set
This setup is a little more unique than most backgammon sets you've probably seen in the past. First of all, you can't really call it a board because it's not one, strictly speaking! This backgammon set was designed in Germany by a backpacker company, Sondergut.
The beautiful chocolate leather is all hand sewn - measuring 10 x 12-2/3" but the kicker is that it rolls up to the size of a pocket umbrella. This piece weighs less than 1/2 a pound, and all the playing pieces fit snugly in the zippered pocket for easy and reliable storage and transport.
Featuring a space-saving design, this set neither weighs too much nor does it occupy a ton of space in a backpack, making it ideal for any on-the-go play you have in mind.
Travel-sized, indestructible, and compact, this backgammon set is a fantastic choice, if you don't want to haul around a large table-top box with you.
Because the goal of this design was to aid in travel, it omits several items other typical boxed sets include like a magnetic board, dice cups and bigger dice. Another complaint some buyers had was with the fact that the checkers can sometimes blend in with the dark backdrop of the mocha leather. Also, this product is designed in Germany but manufactured in China, so if that is something you care about, please be aware of that.
What we love
+ Small enough to put in a backpack, handbag or even your pocket
+ Great for travel
+ Zippered pocket for easy and secure storage
Watch out for
- Small dice
- No dice cup
3. Get-The-Games-Out Classic Backgammon Set
The All-Around Great Value
Available in three sizes and four different colors, the Get-The-Games-Out Classic Backgammon Set has something to offer for everyone, all of which at a great price.
The beautifully constructed classic backgammon board is overlaid with swanky leatherette exteriors and premium felted interiors. The carrying case sports shiny brass buckles and includes a set of resin checkers, two playing dice, a doubling cube, cups to shake the dice in, and an exclusive Strategy & Tip Guide by Get-the-Games-Out. In addition to all that, the set also includes spare chips and playing dice of each color.
For the money, this is a fantastic value according to most buyers. It's not too big, relatively easy to put away, and has a classic look and feel that will match just about any scheme you want to match it with.
But keep in mind if you order a medium or a small-sized board, they will be smaller than what you're probably thinking in your head.
Also, the points on the board are sewn on rather than flat, so some people take issue with that as well. But overall, it's a classic board that will provide you with hours of fun and enjoyment, just be sure about the board size while ordering.
What we love
+ Real deal - Value for money!
+ Spare chips and dice
+ Multiple size and color options
+ Decent build quality
Watch out for
- Smaller than you may think
Best Wood Backgammon Board
3. Yellow Mountain Imports Backgammon Board
Classic Wood Option
This backgammon board is truly a masterpiece - sporting detailed craftsmanship inside and out. Featuring an all-wood construction, the set is designed with stunning wood inlay both on the playing surface and the box cover. This rustic set will make you feel like you're playing this historic game in its historical setting.
The large set is still a travel-friendly, measuring 17.3 x 9.8 x 2-inch and comes with a set of inset magnets built right into the box to keep all the pieces closed up and safe inside. The playing pieces are made of colored acrylic for durability and sit neatly alongside a set of four dice, a doubling cube, and two wooden dice cups for rolling.
Some people have expressed distaste in the playing pieces and claim they do not really fit the look of the rest of the wood board. Others have on occasion mentioned that having a wood board can invite warping, and in some cases has done just that.
But the company does offer its own personal 100% Satisfaction Guarantee and is very good about sending replacement parts or offering refunds should the need arise.
What we love
+ Classic all-wood design
+ Hand carved dice cups
+ Reasonably priced
Watch out for
- Chips are made out of acrylic plastic
- Keep away from water or prolonged direct sunlight (may warp)
Buyer's Guide to a Backgammon Set
We all remember that classic checkerboard and chess combination we had as kids. You know the one with the flimsy board, hollow plastic chess pieces, and checkers that clinked every time you moved them. But there was a third game in that box that was all too often overlooked. Yet, the historical evidence would suggest it is older than both checkers and chess combined. We're talking, of course, about backgammon here.
Though often incorrectly pronounced "Bat-gammon" in America, Backgammon is thought to have originated in Persia around 3,000 B.C. Or at least that's the closest historians have been able to date it because they haven't found a board that was older than that!
Throughout the ages, it has gone by many names, being enjoyed by the Roman empire on into the world of 'European Colonialism' where it spread to every corner of the globe. Its ease of play and simplicity have endured for thousands of years, and yet there are still a great many things to consider when deciding what kind of backgammon board you want to purchase for yourself.
With that being said, here are a couple of factors you should keep in mind while selecting the best backgammon set:
Roll-Up Board Vs. Traditional Box?
The only real benefit to a roll-up board vs. a traditional box game is packability, not even necessarily portability. Smaller backgammon boards are easy to pack and stow in just about every situation.
If you're looking for a set which you can toss in a backpack, travel case, carry-on, or any other situation where space and weight is a factor, the roll-up board makes up for an ideal choice.
Whereas, the Traditional box type backgammon sets are made out of wood or plastic.
It offers better gameplay experience, but occupies more space and is heavier. Ideal for those who aren't constrained by either space or weight.
What Sets Expensive Boards Apart From Cheap Boards?
At the end of the day, the game of backgammon can be played even on a piece of paper with pebbles, but there are some differences to consider when buying a setup.
If you are looking for a high-quality set that will last you a long time and look fabulous, they tend to run in the $70-$120 range. But, if you’re looking for more of a budget option, getting an all-plastic setup is significantly cheaper, but keep in mind that you’re not going to get the same quality in pieces, especially the dice. Cheap dice can ruin the odds of a game, and make it significantly less fun for all those playing.
So if you opt to go with a budget option, maybe splurge on some quality dice at least, like these milled brass dice that are machined to increase accuracy and even odds.
How to Set Up a Backgammon Board
The board is simple in design, but maybe confusing to set up for a first-time player. Each player sits on either side of the board so that the long triangular points are jutting towards the opposing player. These triangles are considered the “spaces” for the checkers to move on and along and there are 4 quadrants of the board, each containing six points.
These are positioned in such a way that each point has a corresponding number which starts in the bottom right corner of the board from Player 1 and counts off to the left, then counterclockwise around the table, until you end at the last point being #24. This is mirrored for the other player as well, so from where they are sitting their number, one point starts in their right bottom corner space and likewise counts off around the board in a clockwise direction.
Next, each player takes their fifteen checkers and begins to put them into place. Once the board is set up, each player's checkers position should mirror the other player’s checker positions, but in the opposite color. Each player places two checkers on point #24, five checkers on point #13, three checkers on point #8, and the last five checkers on point #6.
You’re now ready to grab the dice and start the game!
The rules can seem intimidating to first time players, but in a nutshell, the end goal of Backgammon is to move your pieces around the board and then, eventually, off the board, not unlike mancala. Once a player has cleared the board of all his/her pieces, that player is proclaimed the winner.
Let us suppose we’re watching a game being played by Brad and Amanda.
The game would start with Amanda, who is player #1, rolling her set of dice. This tells her how many spaces she can move her pieces. It is important to note that you should not view the dice as a combined value, but as two separate “turns” because this will affect your strategy.
Amanda would begin the game by rolling her dice and then moving her pieces accordingly. She could not land on a space that Brad occupies with more than two of his own pieces, which is called "landing safely". If she rolled a 5 and a 2, she would be allowed to move one piece 5 spaces, and then another piece two, or she could move her first piece an additional two points from her first play, provided the 5 landed her in a safe place on her first move, and the second will land likewise.
There are a ton of little rules here and there about backgammon gameplay including how the doubling dice factors into the American version of the game. The doubling dice was designed to increase the odds of the game to allow for more gambling in the 1920s. How to use this dice as well as all the technicalities of the game can be found here.
Regulation Size Backgammon Board:
The size of the Backgammon board isn't legislated, at least in the USA. But common practice is to use a minimum 17-inch wide board.
The Rules of Backgammon - Video Explanation
Backgammon is a game that perfectly blends strategy with absolute chance and luck. It has entertained people of every station across this globe for the last 5,000 years and shows no sign of going away anytime soon! It’s a great game to keep on the coffee table as an alternative to chess, but it also has been adapted to make it more "backpacker friendly".
With various international establishments, the rules can be adapted for a new challenge, or even made a game of wagering with the introduction of the doubling dice.
Backgammon is the ancient fix to the age-old question, "What game should we learn next?"