My best mate and I like nothing more than to catch up over a few beers, a cup of tea or a kick of the footy. In recent times we’ve found ourselves discussing solutions to the world’s problems over a game of backgammon. With the exception of the yet to be created footgammon, this board game makes everything better.
The earliest version of backgammon was uncovered in Iran and has been dated back to 3000 BC, which makes it thousands of years older than chess. To win, a player must remove all of his or her pieces from the board before their opponent. Each turn requires the player to roll two dice and the numbers shown enable any number of movements of pieces. Like all good board games there are plenty of attacking and defensive strategies that can be employed.
Here are my REASONS3 why you should be playing backgammon.
1. A nice mix of strategy and luck keeps the conversation flowing.
2. A board game that never leaves you bored.
3. A game for all ages.
One: A nice mix of strategy and luck keeps the conversation flowing.
Whether you’re stuck inside on a rainy day or are out at a cafe or bar on a balmy evening, backgammon is the perfect complement to good conversation. While chance significantly affects the outcome of the game, it helps keeps things simple and means that players don’t get too distracted in deep thought.
Most turns involve a player making a choice between two to four combinations of moves to either inhibit their opponent’s progress or further their own. This requires strategy that both thinks no more than two moves ahead and factors in the probability of your opponent being able to respond effectively.
Two: A board game that never leaves you bored.
Backgammon is no monopoly; a single game takes anywhere between ten minutes and half an hour. Fortunately, this means there will be no death threats, flipping the board over in frustration or throwing hotels at your opponents! Despite this, you will still find yourself wondering where your afternoon went. One of you will always have a score to settle and be pleading for ‘just one more game’.
One of the great things about backgammon is that a game isn’t over until it’s over. That is, the closer a player gets to winning, by bearing off (progressively removing pieces from the board), the more vulnerable his or her remaining pieces are to being attacked, thereby bringing the other player back into the game. This produces some of the greatest comebacks imaginable, which makes for plenty of boasting to the cafe’s wait stuff.
Three: A game for all ages.
Backgammon is timeless. Not only is it thousands of years old, it really can be played by people of all ages. The basics of backgammon can be picked up within minutes and with another hour of play you will be calculating probabilities while attempting to gammon your opponent.
In 40 years time, I won’t be surprised if my best mate and I have to buy a couple of extra backgammon sets. This wonderful game can bring grandparents and their children’s children together for afternoons of idle chat and deciding whether it should be the chips or chocolate to ruin their appetite for dinner. Sounds good to me.