It’s one thing to play backgammon, but it’s something else entirely to experience it. While cheaper boards are okay if you’re starting out (and some can even be beautiful), lovers and connoisseurs of the game want something more timeless, like their very own leather backgammon board. If this is you, then ride along as we browse a few classic leather boards.
Leather backgammon boards offer a silky smooth playing surface. Backgammon involves a lot of dice rolling and checker movement in its gameplay. It can get a tad noisy if you’re playing on a stone, wooden, or plastic board. Leather, on the other hand, muffles this sound making for a serene but intense gaming experience.
Buying a classy backgammon set modern, top-shelf board, is easier said than done. This is because there are a lot of leather backgammon boards out there. No one wants to invest their hard-earned cash on a luxury item that turns out to be low quality. Knowing the good, the bad and the ugly is our job, and as such, we’ve assembled for you a listing of the best leather backgammon boards available anywhere.
5 Best Leather Backgammon Boards
- Bello Games Collezioni 23” Giuseppe Luxury Leather Backgammon Set
- Bello Games Collezioni 19” Francesco Luxury Briar Wood/Leather Backgammon Set
- Zaza & Sacci 23” Leather Backgammon Board Set
- Zaza & Sacci 15” Leather Backgammon Board Set
- WE Games 19” Luxury Black Wood Backgammon Set
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1. Bello Games Collezioni 23” Giuseppe Luxury Leather Backgammon Set
- Luxury extra large genuine leather backgammon set from Italy in premium croco leather
- Mother of pearl like backgammon pieces boast 1 3/4″ for that professional feel when playing the game.
- The set is complete with two dice cups, 30 backgammon checkers, 4 dice and one doubling cube.
- Size: 23″ x 14″ X 3 1/2″ (closed) 23″ x 28″ x 1 3/4″ (Open). Backgammon pieces: 1 3/4″ x 5/16 diameter. Doubling cube: 1″ sq. Dice 5/8″ sq. Weight of backgammon set: 12 1/2 lbs.
- Hand made in Italy.
Standing as the king of the hill is the Bello Games Collezioni 23” Giuseppe Backgammon Set. When closed, this championship backgammon board strikes an elegant 23” by 14” by 3.5” of premium Croco leather. Its rippling scale-like external design is truly a sight to behold, this board is the definition of a high end backgammon set.
When open, this board has dimensions of 23” by 28” by 1.75”, making this a deluxe backgammon board. Its interior is a marvel. The first thing that catches the eye is the flowing cream leather playing field that’s only broken with the brown and red points.
This beautiful backgammon set has the exterior inlaid with a 24kt gold-plated combination lock. As the set has some weight to it, it’s been set with a sturdy leather luggage handle. Even its hinges have been expertly crafted; when the set is open, the hinges flatten completely, making the playing field 100% flat.
You’d think you wouldn’t be surprised with the accessories given the extravagance of the exterior; you’d be wrong. The set is complete with 30 1.75” red and black mother of pearl checkers, 2 pairs of white precision rounded-corner dice, 2 leather-exterior dice cups, and a black doubling die.
- Luxury leather backgammon board
- Comes with a strong carrying handle
- Precision dice ensures tournament-level play
- Perfect collectors backgammon set
- It’s darn expensive
- Large enough to make carrying it a task
2. Bello Games Collezioni 19” Francesco Luxury Briar Wood/Leather Backgammon Set
- luxury Italian backgammon set is hand-made of the most precious and superior woods
- The inside is genuine calf skin, the backgammon compartments and middle of the set are suede.
- The set is complete with two dice cups, 30 backgammon checkers, 4 dice and one doubling cube.
- The cups are also genuine calf skin leather.
- Size: 19″ X 12 3/4″ X 2 3/4″ (closed) 19″ X 25 1/2″ X 1 1/4″. (open)
- Hand made in Italy.
Italy has long had a special relationship with design luxury. This could not have been exemplified more, as is the case with the Bello Games Collezioni 19” Francesco Luxury Wood/Leather Backgammon Set. As far as the quality of the wood is concerned, the skilled craftspeople that created this product couldn’t have done better. It is made from the finest wood in the world, namely burl, briar, mahogany, and elm. This is a big deal as there has been an influx of a lot of counterfeit wood in the market.
The set’s interior is genuine smooth calfskin leather. Meanwhile, the middle of the set and the backgammon compartments have been designed using suede. This theme of opulence and luxury can even be seen in the minor details, such as in the handles. The carrying strap is made of genuine leather that’s been braided together to create a strong and stylish handgrip.
The Bello Games Francesco Backgammon Set has also extended its design aesthetic to the game accessories included. Take the 2 dice cups, for instance. They’re also made using genuine calfskin leather. Included also are 2 sets of round-corner dice colored black and red. Lastly, the set comes with a white doubling cube.
- Luxury backgammon board
- The carrying handle is sturdy
- The color scheme from the exterior to the interior was well-thought-of
- Compact and portable enough to carry around
- It’s a pricey product
- The set is not all that durable
3. Zaza & Sacci 23” Leather Backgammon Board Set
- Gorgeous brown croco leather backgammon set from Italy
- Made from highest quality Dollaro leather with immaculate inlays on the playing surface
- Comes with double-grip leather handle and 24kt Gold Plated combination locks
- Measures 23″ x 14 1/4″ x 3 3/4″ when closed
- Includes high gloss mother of pearl stones, precision dice, and other playing pieces
Zaza & Sacci have been in the business of creating luxury backgammon sets since 1987, and often considered one of the best backgammon game board makers. Their leather goods and stalls dot the Western landscape from Paris to New York. Considered a deluxe backgammon board, you can see where the artist meets the artisan in this 23” Zaza & Zacci Backgammon Board Set; the craftsmanship put into creating this handsome brown Croco leather board is immense.
This backgammon board is destined to become a family heirloom, given the classic feel of how the immaculate inlays set on the playing surface blend with the quality Dollaro leather used. Its superior construction doesn’t end at the surface; it utilizes a combination lock system whose locks and hinges are plated with 24kt gold.
In addition to the board, the set comes with several playing accessories. Keeping with the theme of opulence, this Zaza & Sacci set comes with 2 sets of opaque white and golden amber dices. You’d be happy to know that these dices are tournament sanctioned precision dice, ensuring you’re always ready for a little tournament action. There are also 2 dice cups included that have been magnificently crafted. You’ll also get a black doubling cube.
- It’s a beautiful work of art
- Comes with tournament-approves precision dice
- The leather used is tough and genuine
- The checkers have a good weight to them
- It’s pricey
- The leather surface is prone to staining
4. Zaza & Sacci 15” Leather Backgammon Board Set
- Luxury leather backgammon board from Italy (Blue Color)
- Includes high gloss mother of pearl ivory and amber stones
- Nickel-plated magnetic clasp
- Measures 15 1/4″ x 9 3/4″ x 2 1/2″ when closed
- Compact, easy to carry, store and clean – Perfect for travel, tournaments, indoor and outdoors
Born from one of the leading design houses in Italy comes Zaza & Sacci’s 15” Leather Backgammon Board. When closed, you can admire the compactness of this gorgeous 15.25” by 9.75” by 2.5” blue leather travel-sized backgammon board. It is the marriage of next-level craftsmanship with top-of-the-line materials that’s come to be expected from Zaza & Sacci products.
When open, this Zaza & Sacci backgammon Board Set measures 15.25” by 19.625” by 1.25”. The playing surface is designed using high-quality Dollaro leather that’s finished with exquisite inlays. It’s made to be an art form as well as being a gaming medium. Closing up this backgammon set for a game night at your buddy’s is a matter of latching shut the nickel-plated magnetic clasp.
This backgammon set comes with a number of immaculate game pieces and accessories. You will find that the 30 checkers are stones with a beautiful high-gloss mother of pearl ivory and red finish. There is also a white doubling cube and 2 sets of sapphire blue and ruby red precision dice. When it comes to travel sized boards, this is often considered the best backgammon set.
- Designer backgammon set
- The exterior, interior, and playing pieces are unbelievably beautiful
- It’s compact and light for easy travel
- Has a carrying handle for all your gaming adventures
- It’s delicate
- The exterior all-blue color is a bit bland
5. WE Games 19” Luxury Black Wood Backgammon Set
- Features black stained wood veneer on the outside of the case
- Interior features a pebbled leatherette playing field in burgundy with dark gray & white inlaid points
- Closed, the backgammon set measures 18.63 x 11.63 x 3 inches and weighs 6.75 pounds
- Comes with 2 black & 2 cream plastic dice, 1 black doubling cube & two black stained wood dice cups
- 30 mother of pearl acrylic checkers/chips (black & cream)
There are many luxury backgammon board sets out there, but few of them can lay the claim of being handcrafted in Greece as this 19” luxury WE Games Black Leatherette Backgammon Set can. While not the best quality backgammon set ever made, WE Games still makes really nice backgammon sets. This one features a black stained wood veneer on the case’s exterior. This elegant exterior couples well with the pebbled leatherette burgundy playing field. The inlaid points have been colored dark grey and white.
One of the most positive things about this backgammon set is that it keeps up with the times, as seen in the environmentally-conscious decision to use eco-leather instead of ordinary leather. This leather is at least as good as conventional luxury leather; it is just as durable and also reduces the noise of the dice rolls. The decorative patterns and designs in this WE Games Backgammon Set’s interior were made by singularly skilled crafters in a process known as marquetry.
When closed, this set measures 18.63” by 11.63” by 3” and weighs 3.1 kg (6.75 pounds). The board comes with 30 mother-of-pearl acrylic chips/checkers colored black and white. It also comes with 2 pairs of black and cream plastic dice, 2 black stained wooden dice cups, and a black doubling cube.
- The wooden case is well-crafted
- It is compact and portable
- Its eco-leather is good for the environment
- It’s durable
- This backgammon board set doesn’t use precision dice
- The lack of a carrying handle hinders transportability
One of our favorite stores that sell backgammon sets is Geoffrey Parker Backgammon. Every board looks (and feels) like a masterfully crafted piece of art, and they are an utter joy to play on. Another personal favorite is Hector Saxe in Paris, who’s boards are world renown for their astounding quality.
We don’t need to tell you how good of a game backgammon is because if you’re here, you already know this. It is a game that requires a certain degree of skill and luck to win. There are plenty of leather backgammon boards available for you if you’re looking to buy one to improve your game with.
We don’t recommend going out and buying expensive backgammon boards just because, though if you want to that’s okay too . Regardless of whether you’re buying your debut board or a semi-professional looking for an upgrade, there are a few considerations you should have before making that purchase. Here are a few of these factors that will ultimately negate the probability of you suffering from any post-purchase discontentment.
If you’re not ready to buy a luxury board and just want to improve your skills, we suggest reading: Backgammon Strategy Guide – Get Better at Backgammon
The Design Element
All leather backgammon boards aren’t created the same. They come in two physical designs; that is the attaché backgammon set and the tabletop set.
Attaché Backgammon Set
It is the more common board design of the two. The attaché set can be folded as it is twice-hinged down the middle, kind of like a travel case. When commencing a game, just flip the board open and then continue to play on the open side.
It is the preferred choice for travelers because of its foldability and because most of these boards have carrying handles. These attaché backgammon boards are thus transportable, compact, and light.
Tabletop Backgammon Set
The tabletop backgammon board is larger than the attaché set. For this reason, they aren’t meant to be carried around but are usually played at home or in a rec room. If you’re in a good enough position to afford a luxury tabletop backgammon set, then, by all means, get it.
These kinds of boards give you the dual purpose of being a game and a showpiece. They come well-crafted and are gorgeous to look at.
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Why The Material Matters
The material of choice comes down to preference. You could either buy a backgammon board that’s either made of leather or wood. Expensive backgammon boards will often use the highest quality materials, like fine leather, brass or even gold on some of its accessories.
Leather Backgammon Set
When we’re talking about leather as a backgammon board material, we’re referring to the playing surface. Similar material to leather that can also be used is cork and felt. Conversely, there are some sets with leatherette or leather cases but with wooden surfaces for playing.
Playing backgammon against semi-professionals or in tournaments requires your full concentration. This is why in such scenarios, a set with a muffling playing surface is preferred. Some noise is generated when dice hit a hard board. Furthermore, leather playing surfaces reduce the amount of bounce on the dice just enough; dice bounce a lot on wooden surfaces.
There are different types of leather available. Exclusive and rare varieties are considered to be the most luxurious and thus are the most expensive. One such variety is the shagreen leather. It’s probably the most resistant natural leather globally, and backgammon boards that incorporate this material are worth a small fortune.
Wooden Backgammon Set
Wooden backgammon boards, on the other hand, have this well-crafted rustic appeal to them. They can have intricate designs and engravings, all in an appealing color scheme.
The downside to these boards is that they’re prone to scratching from constantly sliding checkers and rolling the dice. In addition to this, the constant bouncing of dice on the wooden surface is noisy, which some players find irritating. However, everyone is different. In the Middle East, for instance, players like this dice noise – to them, it’s part of the experience.
Speaking of personal tastes, if a backgammon set is for you, not just a game set, but an artistic expression, then get a board made from rare wood. Luxury wooden backgammon boards are made of wood such as burl, elm, briar, ebony, and mahogany. These sets are proudly showcased in the house, as would expensive pieces of furniture or paintings.
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Getting A Comfortable Size
Rolling dice requires ample room for the roll to be random enough to be considered fair. Getting too small a board will limit how much the dice rolls, ultimately resulting in an unfair play. Dedicated players who play frequently should get large backgammon boards, considered anything that measures 21 * 26 inches.
If you’re an occasional player, then consider getting a smaller-sized backgammon board. A backgammon board of 24 * 15 inches would do the trick. Vacation players will also be well-served by this kind of board – something that’s light, compact, and portable. All in all, the recommended weight for a 15-inch board is that between 1 and 3 kgs.
Getting Into The Game Pieces
This two-player member of the board game family has several components that come together in the game setup. These parts include the board on which the game is played, fifteen chips/checkers per player, a doubling cube, and a pair of dice per player to move the game forward. Dice cups (also called shakers) are sometimes used.
These game pieces come in different materials and sizes. Players at any level will want to have pieces with a decent size-to-weight ratio. This choice is another one that’s heavily reliant on the personal preference of the players. However, most people tend to buy a backgammon set with heavy checkers. The reason for this is that these pieces tend to remain where they are or close enough, in case the playing surface is bumped upon.
Players who prefer using a good quality set will avoid backgammon sets that have light checkers. Cheaper backgammon board sets tend to use light chips that are, you guessed it, made of plastic. These pieces might even fly away if you throw the dice on the board too vigorously. Backgammon sets of high quality have checkers made of heavy material like a variety of stone.
You will need to ensure that the checkers you intend to buy move smoothly on the backgammon board. Make sure to avoid boards with vinyl sew-on pips as they wear out over time, preventing the checkers from gliding across the playing field.
Decent backgammon boards have their checkers fitting the pips to the tee. For example, when you’re placing five checkers on the 6-point or the 13-point, they should fit in such a way that only the tip of the point peeks out.
Checkers will measure between 1.5 inches (38 mm) and 2 inches (51 mm) in diameter. Checkers smaller than 1.5” are considered too tiny, while those above 1.75 inches (44 mm) are considered large. Experienced players will tell you that the 1.75” checker is the ideal-sized chip.
When playing any game involving dice, not just backgammon, you should keep in mind that not all dice are created equal. They vary a lot in terms of quality. Have you ever heard of the term loaded dice? These are dice that have been engineered to often, if not always, land in a certain way. It would be best to look for dice that are accurate enough to ensure random gameplay is maintained.
We have precision dice for this. These types of dice have rounded corners to ensure they roll more to increase the chances of a purely unplanned roll. These dice have also been weighed, and their facets measured to ensure everything is as it should. However, not all backgammon boards come with these kinds of dice, and so you have to keenly read the packaging or the online review to be sure.
These cups or shakers are used to roll the dice to get an indiscriminate roll. Such cups are large and hollow enough to let the dice tumble inside and come out randomly – not unlike how a lotto machine operates. A good cup will have a trip lip that will ensure the dice come out rotating and tumbling once the lip is hit; this makes the dice roll fair.
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As you can see, buying a quality leather backgammon board is not a matter of going to the store and just picking one out. There are many considerations to be thought out and a lot of brands and designs to be looked at to determine which is the best backgammon set to buy.
However, within the article are the tools to help you purchase a luxurious leather backgammon board that will please you and be quality enough to pass along to the next generation. The ball is now in your court; choose wisely.