The Origin of Backgammon


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Most everyone loves the game of backgammon but have you ever wondered about the origin of backgammon? It goes back a very long way, over 5000 years ago. It is believed to be the oldest recorded game in the world and is believed to have started in ancient Mesopotamia, which is present day Iraq. The name backgammon in English is derived from the word “back" plus the Middle English word “gamen" which means game.

Backgammon was played by the ancient Romans, but was called Tabula and was slightly different than the backgammon we know today. Tabula means “table" or “board" since the game was played on a special board. This game has some resemblance to the Egyptian game Senet, which dates back to 3000 BC.

The game of Tabula was very similar to today's backgammon and players used the same kind of board with 15 pieces allotted to each player. The object of the game was the same as it is today where the players had to get all their pieces removed from the board in order to win the game. The first one to do this was the winner. In ancient times there was a little difference in that no pieces were allowed on the board at the start of a game, but had to be entered by rolling the dice. Back then three dice were used instead of two. The rest of the game was played out the same as we play today. After they entered the board they played their pieces around in the same direction as we do now.

There have been recent excavations in Iran that shows that a form of backgammon was in use as far back as 3000 BC. Some of the artifacts that were found were such things as two die and sixty pieces. This set is believed to be one hundred to two hundred years older than the oldest set found in the Ur.

For acey duecy backgammon rules and other Backgammon related information, visit The Backgammon Guide at


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