A Timeline of the Origins of Backgammon

If ever you are wondering where did this game come from, take a few minutes and we'll take a look at the origins of backgammon. Though considered to be the oldest board game in history, its origin seems quite unclear. Different cultures played different versions of the game.

The oldest version of the game was played about 5,000 years ago in Mesopotamia by the Sumerians. Present location of the Sumerian culture is near Iraq and Kuwait. The royal tombs at Ur in Mesopotamia revealed a huge wealth of treasure, which included a mention of an inlaid gaming board.

The Egyptians played a different version of backgammon, which they called Senet. This was played on a board of thirty-by-ten squares. Obviously the game came to be known as 'The game of Thirty Squares,' which is the meaning of name of the game.

Takhteh Nard is another version of the backgammon board game. It originated more than 1,600 years ago. The name Takhteh Nard means 'Battle on Wood.' This version of backgammon was known in the Near East and Persia. This board has thirty playing pieces, a pair of dice, and the board has twenty-four points.

In the Middle Ages the game was known as Tables in England, Tavola Reale in Italy, and Tablas Reales in Spain. The names mean Tables or Royal Tables somehow implying that nobles played the game, though commoners had their chance to play the game as well.

Backgammon was played on circular boards in China and Japan, adding yet another dimension to the game.

The name backgammon originated in the mid-seventeenth century. Bac Gamen was its original name, given by the Saxons meaning "back game" because when a piece was hit it had to go all the way back to the start of the board.

This board game hit a widespread surge in popularity in the early 60's and late 70's. Strategy combined with chance made the game a huge hit. The introduction of the doubling cube way back in 1925 also added to the excitement of this fast spreading game. Some groups even opted to add chess clocks to add speed and tempo to the game. Doing so added thrill to the overall game play.

Of course, with the advent of the computers and the internet computer scientists have studied backgammon. Considerable research has brought about the different backgammon software available today. Some programs were even designed to beat world-class human players, like the sort of super-smart chess games we now have. With the aid of the internet, people around the world can now link up and have a game of backgammon.

The random component (the dice rolls) and the different strategies that can be employed have made this board game stand the test of time. Backgammon is a game where you can pit your wits, your money, and your luck against any player. Since nowadays anyone can do that anywhere, you might be surprised to finally meet your match in someone who lives half way around the world.