Defining Backgammon - One of the World's Oldest

There are a lot of people who have at least seen a backgammon board when they bought a compact traveling chess set. Those are the ones that folded like a brief case with the chess pieces placed inside. The strange thing is that the interior has long triangles inside and the set came with checkers and dice.

There are those who are part of the Roger Moore era of the James Bond series who caught a glimpse of the game when James played in movie entitled Octopussy back in 1983. They might have been intrigued by the game and what it meant to "double" making the other gentleman refuse the proposal and lose until James Bond takes over.

Backgammon is a really old board game with its origin traced all the way back to as early as 3,000 BC. You can expect the earlier versions of this game to only resemble our modern backgammon game. One common phenomenon is that a game like backgammon will have different variants depending on the culture and era it is played.

One interesting trivia, however, is that backgammon has been around long enough that we can be sure that every continent in the world has played it or at least a version of it even before the advent of computers or the Internet. That is a testament to backgammon's popularity.

Backgammon is played by two players, pretty much like checkers, moving pieces across a board. The major theme of this game is characteristic of a race between the two players. The idea is to become the first player to take off all your backgammon pieces from the board (i.e. bearing off checkers). Interestingly enough, there are more games that don't get to end in this stage in backgammon.

The board will have 24 triangles (known as pips or points), 30 checkers (15 for each player), a pair of dice for each player, and a special item known as the doubling cube. You might have guessed that players move their checkers according to the pips shown on the dice.

The doubling cube is used to increase the stakes or value of the game. If one player proposes to double the stakes and the other player declines, the declining player loses automatically. But if the other player agrees to the proposal then the game continues with the stakes doubled (remember the Octopussy scene).

Backgammon is popular due to the fact that it is a strategy game. A lot of study has been devoted to the game, which includes thousands of games simulated on computers. Backgammon can now be played by people against a computer or even with a buddy online. Backgammon may be one of the world's oldest board games but it is still pretty much alive today.


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