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Choosing Your Backgammon Board

At Farrar & Tanner we have a beautiful and diverse selection of backgammon boards to choose from, whether for yourself or as a great personalised gift. So how do you choose your perfect board? The main considerations are size, play surface and quality – and of course a fantastic looking board!

Once you’ve chosen your favourite board, our “Set Up and Rules of Play” blog will help you win your first game.

Size

For backgammon tournaments, association rules determine the board should be a minimum of 44cm x 55cm and a maximum of 66cm x 88cm.

View our Tournament Backgammon sets

For casual players a mid-sized board allows for easy movement while our smaller sets are perfect for travel.

Materials

Traditional Middle Eastern style boards are crafted from wood and beautifully styled. These create a lovely noise when in use as the checkers are placed (or in a fast game, slammed!) on the board.

The playing surface can be finished in a number of ways:

Printed Boards – A printed board gives a smooth finish and is available at a more competitive price.

Inlaid Boards – Boards with an inlaid surface are more premium and are crafted from carved wood.

Leatherette Boards – For quieter play, boards were traditionally finished with a leather surface. While leather is still available, our range of quality leatherette boards offer a more sustainable option with a longer lasting surface.

Cork Boards – Cork playing surfaces are increasing in popularity and offer a natural surface for quiet play though are not as hardwearing as leatherette.

Heritage

The earliest version of backgammon originated around 5,000 years ago in Mesopotamia. The first game similar to today’s backgammon set was in use in the fifth century in Greece and was known as Tavli. The game spread to France in the 11th century, only reaching Britain in the 17th century.

With its Eastern heritage it’s not surprising that some of the best crafted boards are to be found in Greece and Turkey and so Farrar & Tanner are proud to have collaborated with Manopoulos and Helena, the leading Greek and Turkish craft producers of quality boards.

Manopoulos:

Inspired by the popularity and heritage of backgammon in Greece, Costas Manopoulos began handmaking chess and backgammon sets while still at the Art University of Athens in 1970. The company has now grown to be Greece’s most successful manufacturer of backgammon and chess sets, combining modern technological methods with the culture of traditional craftsmanship at their factory in Thebes.

Manopoulos Inlaid Caramel Brown Leatherette Backgammon Set – Tournament

Manopoulos Inlaid Ebony Burl Backgammon Set – Tournament

Manopoulos Walnut Style Wood Backgammon Set – Medium

Helena Wood Art:

Helena Wood Art has been established in Turkey for over 25 years. Helena set the standard for hand-crafted marquetry (wood inlay), drawing on Turkey’s rich heritage and culture of generations of craftsmen and artists. You won’t find many traditionally hand-crafted inlaid backgammon sets which will rival the fine looks and quality of a Helena board.

Helena Inlaid Oak Backgammon Set - Medium

Helena Inlaid Oak Backgammon Set – Medium

Helena Inlaid Ebony Wood and Mother of Pearl Backgammon Set – Large

 

Helena Inlaid Rosewood and Mother of Pearl Backgammon and Checkers Set - Large

Helena Inlaid Rosewood and Mother of Pearl Backgammon and Checkers Set – Large

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