The 7 Best Backgammon Sets

Updated April 12, 2018 by Vann Vicente

7 Best Backgammon Sets
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. As one of the oldest board games ever made, backgammon is a classic that never goes out of style and is a great activity to play on rainy days, cold winter nights, or during long trips. Treat your family to one of these elegant sets and let the hours of strategy and fun begin. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best backgammon set on Amazon.

7. Trademark Games Deluxe

The Trademark Games Deluxe comes with three classic games at an excellent price, namely chess, checkers, and, of course, backgammon. The entire set is constructed of high-quality wood and can fold in half for practical and convenient storage.
  • easy to carry around
  • strong magnets hold the case closed
  • pieces tend to slip off
Brand Trademark Games
Model 12-2157
Weight 4 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. Yellow Mountain Imports 11"

The Yellow Mountain Imports 11" is compact enough to take on road trips, without being so small that it's hard to play. The exterior of the case is made durable enough that you don't have to worry about it getting dinged up in your bag when traveling.
  • playing surface made from solid wood
  • attractive inlaid colors
  • dice are poorly made
Brand Yellow Mountain Imports
Model NA
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

5. CHH Recreational Vinyl

If you're on a tight budget, the CHH Recreational Vinyl is a functional and well-made board that is sold at just a fraction of the price of its competitors. At 14.75 inches, it's the perfect size for placing inside your car or suitcase.
  • nice leather dice rollers
  • smooth playing pieces
  • instructions are hard to read
Brand CHH
Model 3011M
Weight 3.5 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. Get the Games Out Set

The Get the Games Out Set comes in the form of a leatherette carrying case with brass buckles that fits in beautifully with the rest of your luggage. Also, it includes a comprehensive strategy guide with tips and tricks for improving your play.
  • spare chips and dice of each color
  • great value for money
  • great customer service
Brand Get The Games OutTM
Model pending
Weight 3.3 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

3. Da Vinci Leatherette

If you want a backgammon set that is just as much a beautiful ornament as it is a functional game board, then you'll appreciate the Da Vinci Leatherette. It features an attractive old world map design on its exterior that adds to its distinct, vintage appearance.
  • made of long-lasting materials
  • felt triangles don't peel off
  • weighted chips feel good to move
Brand Da Vinci
Model pending
Weight 5 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Sondergut 201

Ideal for people who want to play the game on trips to the park or at a friend's house, the Sondergut 201 has a roll-up style board that weighs less than half a pound. It's made from pliable, hand-sewn leather that gives it a rustic, masculine look.
  • soft suede texture
  • includes clear instructions
  • pieces store in a zippered pocket
Brand Sondergut
Model 201
Weight 7.8 ounces
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

1. Middleton Games Tournament Set

At 21 inches, the Middleton Games Tournament Set is ideal for someone who plays the game a lot, as its large size makes rolling dice and moving chips significantly more enjoyable. The fine felt finish gives the model an elegant, professional feel.
  • durable playing pieces
  • rugged and sturdy handle
  • beautifully sewn markers
Brand Middleton Games
Model pending
Weight 6.3 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

A Brief History Of Backgammon

If you've ever seen a bunch of old men playing in the park, then you may already realize that backgammon is an ancient game, but you likely don't realize just how old it actually is.

In fact, it's one of the oldest games in the world, right up there with Go and chess. There's evidence for it dating back over 5,000 years to Mesopotamia, at a time when players used dice made of human bones, which undoubtedly raised the stakes for every session.

It remained popular through the years, and the Romans even developed their own version, which they gave the catchy title "Duodecum Scripta et Tabulae," or "tables" if you want to shorten it even further. There are many frescoes from that time depicting people playing the game, and even a few emperors — such as Claudius and, of course, Nero — who got in on the fun.

The game popped up in literature as well, including references in classics like The Canterbury Tales and Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost. Painters such as Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Brueghel also included it in their work — often as a pastime that precipitated a vicious bar fight.

However, backgammon would soon find that it had a powerful enemy on its hands: the church. Moral authorities didn't approve of the fact that players often wagered large sums of money on matches, or that it was often played in taverns and houses of ill-repute. There were frequent attempts to ban it all together, but they proved about as effective as modern efforts to stamp out illegal wagering.

Ironically enough, however, gambling would play a huge role in the decline of the game's popularity. In the early 1920s, players were upset that the length of each game didn't allow them to wager enough, and so many people abandoned it in favor of other pursuits, like poker or sports betting.

As a result, a new innovation was needed: doubling. The ability to double — and keep doubling — the stakes allowed the game to catch on again, and soon multi-player versions were introduced, allowing for even more money to quickly change hands.

While backgammon isn't quite as popular now as it once was, it's still played by millions of people worldwide. In fact, next time you see a couple of old men playing it in the park, show a little respect — they may be betting much larger amounts than you realize.

Picking The Right Backgammon Set

Most people get their first backgammon set quite by accident, merely because it was included with the chess or checker set that they really wanted. However, once you get hooked on the game, chances are you'll want to step up and buy a high-class, dedicated set.

If you play all the time, you can justify getting a larger set made of quality wood or even rare minerals, if you're super-dedicated. The higher-end models usually come with classy leather carrying cases, so you can properly intimidate your opponents when you roll up on them with the most sophisticated set they've ever seen.

However, if it's more of an occasional pastime, there are smaller sets that are perfect for taking with you to the park or to a friend's house. They're less substantial, in terms of both price and durability, but they should be more than enough to get the job done. Some even use magnets to hold the pieces in place, so you can play on long road trips — unless you're driving, of course.

Ultimately, though, as long as you have all the necessary pieces, you can still get a good game regardless of which set you buy. It comes down to how much money you want to spend on it, and whether you care if other people judge you for owning a ratty set.

If they do, though, tell them you can buy a new one with all the money you just won off of them.

Tips To Step Up Your Game

If you're going to take up backgammon, the first thing you should know is that it's a game of skill, so don't complain about getting unlucky if you lose. The good news is, you'll be less likely to get unlucky if you put some of these tips into play.

Becoming an expert player takes practice, but you can't be great by playing alone. You also need to study, and that means reading books and articles, as well as thinking about the game. Watch better players in action, as well, and consider why they make the moves they do. It's a lot of work, but it will pay off when you go up against others who aren't putting in the same amount of effort.

There's a lot of math in play for every game, and if you understand some of the higher-end concepts (like match equity) you'll have a huge leg up on the competition. You also need to keep track of pip counts, which is the number of moves it will take you and your opponent to get all of the pieces off the board.

Once the pip count is in your favor, that's when you need to strike and make a run for it. It's smart to try to get all of your pieces off immediately at this time, so forget about defense and just go on the attack. Similarly, when the count is against you, it's time to build your home board and make blots.

Perhaps the most important thing, though, is your attitude. Play confidently and ruthlessly, and always be studying the board — and your opponent. Keep the pressure on (and a little trash talk never hurts), and you may be able to get a better player to crack.

If not, can always take up some other, easier board game.

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Last updated on April 12, 2018 by Vann Vicente

Vann Vicente is an undergraduate Economics student and writer who lives somewhere in the Eastern Hemisphere. He spends about half of his time watching films and is still smiling about Moonlight's incredible Best Picture victory.

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