There’s a wide variety of backgammon sets in the market today. There are leather sets as well as wooden backgammon boards. There are high end as well as cheap backgammon sets.
Thus, choosing the right set for you can be overwhelming. Luckily, this guide will make things easier for you.
Since it can be time consuming to do the research yourself, I’ve done it for you and came up with this list of the following backgammon boards that I believe to be the best backgammon sets in 2020.
If you’re in a hurry, you can just see this table below that summarize this whole guide.
Best Wood Backgammon Sets In 2020: Detailed Reviews
Best Leather Backgammon Sets In 2020: Detailed Reviews
Things to Consider When Choosing Backgammon Sets
A 21 x 26 inches backgammon board is quite big, and these larger sizes are ideal for the dedicated players who play quite frequently.
If you are an occasional pastime player, however, then consider going for smaller boards measuring 24 x 15 inches.
Generally, if the checkers are less than 38mm (1.5 inches) in size, then this set would be on the smaller side.
If the checkers are larger than 44mm (1.75 inches), this is a gigantic set. 44mm tends to be the ideal size for tournament play.
Smaller backgammon sets are not only generally cheaper, but they are also lighter in weight, therefore, more portable.
You can easily carry them to a friend’s house or the park for a laid-back game.
The downside is that smaller sets also come with smaller pieces that can be fiddly and a nuisance to handle and play with.
However, rest assured that you can still get a good game out of them. Keep in mind also that smaller backgammon sets are easier to pack and stow away.
Larger backgammon boards offer a better gameplay experience.
However, they tend to be heavier and occupy more space. Not to mention that they are also more awkward to transport.
This is not the kind of set you can toss in a backpack and go on your merry way.
Traditionally, backgammon sets were made out of wood, ceramic, ivory, and bone. Most of these ancient materials are no longer available today.
Besides wood, modern backgammon sets can be made from plastic, cork, leatherette, felt, denim, vinyl, etc.
The material used has an impact on the durability, weight, quietness, and gameplay experience of a particular set.
Ceramic backgammon sets have an elegant and classic look. The downside is that they are quite costly and heavy, as well. It would not be practical to get such a set for moving around with.
Instead, ceramic sets are better off as a tabletop board, which adds to the décor of your home or office.
Plastic sets are very cheap, but they are also loud and don’t last too long. Such sets chip and wear easily.
Quiet sets are good sets.
When playing backgammon, you will continuously be rolling and throwing dice and moving pieces around the board.
You, therefore, want a set that will be as quiet as possible while you do all this. Not a loud, clunky board that will torture your ears.
A quality backgammon set should be made from materials that muffle the resultant noise.
For this reason, it is not uncommon to find a board made from wood but covered with felt and leatherette for noise-proofing.
A silent board is not only more appealing to play with, but the silence is a sign that the board is well insulated, and high-quality materials have been used to construct it.
This, therefore, translates into enhanced durability, meaning you will use the board for years to come.
All backgammon sets come with two sets of dice. The difference is the quality of the dice used.
Dice may vary in texture, shape, and weight, depending on the particular set in question. However, one thing to keep in mind is regardless of the size or brand of the set, backgammon dice all have to be precised.
A game of backgammon is all about the excellent rolling of the dice.
Precision dice are much better balanced and therefore allow for a fairer roll that’s truly random.
Besides the dice, the dice cup used in backgammon should also be lipped.
A lipped die cup design helps give a more random roll to avoid rigged, and controlled dice throws.
Top Backgammon Set Brands
Geoffrey Parker is probably the Rolls-Royce of backgammon sets. This UK-based brand has bespoken, handmade luxury sets featuring seamless leather-work and quite a high price tag.
The brand is known for supplying to some of the world’s most famous backgammon championships.
This Greece-based luxury backgammon set manufacturer is known for traditional handmade sets.
The sets are made from the finest natural woods using impeccable craftsmanship.
Dal Negro has been around for over 200 years. Their backgammon sets feature exceptional attention to detail and are simply a work of art.
Zaza & Sacci
This Italian manufacturer makes superior hand-crafted luxury backgammon sets using fine Italian leather.
Difference Between Leather Vs. Wood Vs. Marble Backgammon Sets
Wood is the standard material used in most backgammon boards. These boards tend to be much louder, and additionally, the dice spin more and for longer periods on a wooden surface.
Another thing to note is that the wooden surface could develop scratches, thereby leaving behind unsightly marks on the board.
Depending on the type of wood used, wood may be used to make both high-end and low-end boards.
Leather backgammon boards are much quieter, and unlike wood, the dice settle much quicker once rolled. The downside is that the leather surface is more prone to stains and can be damaged by accidental spills.
Leather backgammon sets are pretty lightweight, so they popularly come in a portable briefcase design.
Marble is used in making ultra-luxury backgammon sets. This natural stone results in boards that are extremely hard, durable, and quite heavy too.
For this reason, marble is popularly used to make tabletop backgammon sets.
Marble sets are decorative and highly aesthetic, so they may not necessarily be used for everything backgammon playing.
Such sets are also pretty expensive, though, and they are quite noisy as well.
Which Type of Backgammon sets to Choose?
Marble, wood, and leather can all be used to manufacture high-end luxury backgammon sets.
All three materials give rise to a smooth and durable playing surface.
Of the three, marble is the most durable, while leather is the least durable, seeing as it will sustain damage over time.
The same applies to costliness, whereby marble is very expensive, followed by wood and finally leather.
Some players tend to enjoy the noise produced by wooden boards seeing as the noise can add to the ambiance of the game. If you are such a player, then there is no harm in going for a wooden set.
On the other hand, if you will need a very quiet board ideal for tournament play, then choose a leather set.
If you need a set that will be an ornamental piece in your home, then marble is the way to go.
Frequently Asked Questions About Backgammon Sets
Where Is Backgammon Most Popular?
Backgammon is extremely popular in the Middle East and the surrounding areas; particularly in Greece.
The Greeks call it Tavli, and the game is so popular that it is Greece’s national board game.
This highly addictive game is a Greek habit enjoyed by players of all ages. You can find people playing it everywhere: at home, in cafes, in parks, on the beach, on a boat, etc.
Besides Greece, other countries where the game is just as popular include Turkey, Armenia,
What Is the Standard Size of a Backgammon Board?
There are no official rules which regulate the size of a backgammon board. Therefore, this choice is based purely on personal preferences.
To gauge the size of a backgammon board, players often use the size of checkers for which the board has been designed.
Generally speaking, checkers can measure anywhere between 38mm (1.5 inches) and 51mm (2 inches) in diameter.
When the checkers are smaller than 38mm (1.5 inches), then that set would be considered too small.
When the checkers are bigger than 44mm (1.75 inches), then that set would be regarded as too large.
Experience players often find 44mm to be the acceptable size, and common practice is to use a board that’s no less than 17 inches in width.
How Do You Set Up A Backgammon Board?
In backgammon, each player has 15 checkers, and all the checkers should be arranged accordingly onto the triangular spaces on the board.
Place five checkers on point #6, three checkers on point #8, five checkers on point #13, and the last two checkers on point #24.
Each player’s checkers should mirror the other player’s checkers.
What Comes in A Backgammon Set?
- 30 checkers (15 of each color)
- 4 dice (2 sets of each)
- A doubling cube (having pips 2, 4, 8, 15, 32, and 64)
- 2 dice cups/shakers (only included in some sets).
Is Backgammon A Skill or Luck?
Luck may be one of the determinants in how a game of backgammon might turn out. However, in the long run, backgammon is all about strategy.
Once the dice are rolled, a player has a wide variety of options for moving their checkers on the board.
Besides merely moving different pieces, a competent player has to anticipate the opponent’s possible counter-moves and prepare accordingly.
Meaning you would not only be studying the board, but you have to study your opponent as well.
To be good at backgammon, a player needs to understand certain concepts such as match equity.
Additionally, you would also need to keep track of pip counts as you wait to strike when they are in your favor.
Similar to chess, computer scientists have studies backgammon with great interest, all in a bid to develop software that’s capable of beating world-class human backgammon players.
So how can such a game rely purely on luck?
A lot of strategy and skill would be required, don’t you agree?
Let me know in the comments what do you think about this.