History of Backgammon

Tracing the developement of Backgammon is as fascinating as tracing the history of names.
Backgammon is one of the oldest games in the world. It is also one of the most amazing games known, having been favored by kings and aristocracy for more than 5000 years.

First Steps to Fame

The original form of Backgammon was already being played in Babylon 3000 years before Christ. There it was called "Vibhitika" and instead of checkers they used seeds, which later were replaced by shells and stones.

By the year 2300 B.C., the Sumerian city of Ur enjoyed the " Royal Game of Ur", as has been verified by archaeological finds which have unearthed several different types of perfectly shaped boards.

Backgammon and The Pyramides

Even Tutenchamun, who is probably the most widely-known Egyptian king (1350 B.C.), was an enthusiastic Backgammon player. Four masterly crafted Backgammon boards, intended for the king's entertainment in the world to come, were found in his tomb.

The Siege of Troja - a Pleasure?

Even the famous Greec poet, Homer tells us, that, during the boaring Siege of Troja, the soldiers passed away their time by playing Backgammon.

Following famous persons were enthusiastic Backgammon players:
The emperor Claudius, Caesar, Augustus and Napoleon as well as Martin Luther.

Rules are Set

At the lifetimes of Plato, one started to determine common rules, set in a way which is also valid for todays' Backgammon. The rules of Backgammon as it is played today were first published by the Englishman Edmond Hoyle, an expert in games, in 1743.

An Old Game in a New Time

The triumphal march of Backgammon started in the Arabian Empire and took its way over Asia into the whole world. Todays' poularity of Backgammon started after the end of World War Two, when thousands of enthusiastic players took part in the first Backgammon championship in the modern age. Since that time Backgammon is again a game of the " High Society" again.

Different names through different times at different places...
  • Senet, or Senat
  • 12-Lines-Game
  • Ludus Duodecim Scriptorum
  • Alea
  • Tabula
  • Tric-Trac
  • Jacquet
  • Nard oder Nardshir
  • T'shu-p'u
  • Swan liu
  • Sugoroku
  • Tavla
  • Tabli
  • Plakato
  • Toccadille
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