Fifteen discs each and a pair of dice. That’s all you need for a game of backgammon. A good backgammon board and a doubling cube can be handy, but is not necessary to get started.
As in chess, all information is public; there are no hidden cards or secret clues to look for. Still, one should not mistake the simple format of the game. It is not all luck and winning is not that simple. Backgammon is a game with endless possibilities, countless strategies and countless hooks.
Backgammon, what was it like?
Like chess, you play backgammon in a one-on-one setting with the same starting position for both players. In chess, it all comes down to your own choices, but in backgammon, there is some luck involved. The dice act as a random number generator. The dice can cause trailing players to get in front or accelerate a player’s winning run.
Although luck is an element in backgammon, in the long run the better player will always win. Backgammon is a game of skill, but few people will argue this. You can get lucky and beat a stronger player in any game, but eventually you will lose.
It is an ancient game
People have been playing backgammon for over 5,000 years, making it one of the oldest and best-known board games in the world. The game originated in Persia, which is now Iran and Iraq. Although backgammon was a game of skill, it was played in casinos. Nowadays, it becomes difficult to find this game in physical casinos.
When the game was very popular, James Bond also played it. In the movie Octopussy, James Bond takes on the bad guy Kamal Khan in a game of high-stakes backgammon. The switching of the dice in the last move of the game, ensures that Bond wins.
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No Backgammon in Casinos
The game may have been removed from land-based casinos, but backgammon is still popular around the world. Online casinos offer the game in various forms. You can play online against an opponent or play the stripped down version where you play with only two pieces against the house. In this game, players only have the options: ‘jump’, ‘out’ and ‘doubles’.