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Here at Backgammon Boards we have played thousands of hours of backgammon, on all kinds of boards from all kinds of makers, and we have compiled what we think is an ultimate guide and things to consider when you decide to shop for a backgammon board.
Things to consider when shopping for a new backgammon board
Let’s face it, your budget will play the most important role in determining your options. Maybe you just need a simple board for a beginner, or you’ve owned the same board for 10 years and think it’s time for an upgrade, or perhaps you’re a World Backgammon Championship enthusiast and you need to have your very own tournament sized leather backgammon board made from the highest quality materials like leather and even precious metals like brass or gold.
If you’re on a tight budget, for only $40-$100 there are a lot of options from brands like Crazy Games, Silverman & Co, Middleton Games, or maybe even Yellow Mountain Imports if you’re into a more artistic look. Even Bello Games offers some affordable sets!
For $100-$500 there are some wonderful options from brands like a Manopoulos, Antochia Crafts, Neroulia and of course Del Negro. One of our favorites when is travelling is a roll-up case from Moore and Giles.
If you are looking for an exquisite backgammon board, or maybe you have a small collection started, you may want to invest $500-$1500+ on boards like Zaza & Sacci, Bello Games, Geoffrey Parker Backgammon, and Hector Saxxe
One of the biggest factors for backgammon boards are the materials they are made from. The gameplay experience playing on a wooden board would be completely different to playing on a vinyl or even leather board. The type of materials you want your backgammon board made out of will depend on your personal taste and requirements.
Wooden backgammon boards are often used in outdoor play at parks or restaurants where the extra noise is tolerated. Some people have even commented that they love the feel of playing on a wooden backgammon board for the extra ‘clanking’ of the wood. They are very durable and often can be purchased with beautiful mosaic or other artwork finishes on both the playing video or exterior of the case.
Vinyl backgammon boards are usually the most economic of boards and great for a first board. The playing fields (triangle playing area) is often sewn together which creates a “ridge” where 2 different materials meet. This can sometimes cause your checkers to “catch” on the edge, which naturally only decays the longevity of the board itself. After a couple of years of play you might see some edges are peeling up or even chipped off.
There is something extremely satisfying about playing on leather backgammon boards. It has a certain smoothness you just don’t get from the wooden or vinyl sets, and has a luxurious feel to it. Most leather boards use a technique called inlaid leather for the playing field, which makes for a smooth transition of checkers and smoother dice rolling. The leather also helps dampen the sound of gameplay so people are less disturbed by the noise of the game. The quality of leather varies greatly between brands – Some will use eco leathers while other will use only the finest of leather, naturally the price will reflect this too.
If you are interested in buying a leather backgammon board we recommend reading our leather backgammon board buying guide
Yes! Plastic boards are actually gaining a lot of popularity with the younger generation that wants to show off their creative side, or just find it much more enjoyable to play on.
If you’re in the market for one, there are some really interesting options from Infinity.
Backgammon boards really 4 standard sizes: Travel size, small, medium and large.
Travel sized boards
These are compact boards that are easy to transport or stow away, and can be played practically anywhere, even on an airplane with your (potentially new) friend. They are often not as enjoyable to play on however, as the small checkers can be harder to handle and are just naturally lighter, also the dye can roll off the table more frequently because of the lower profiles of everything.
Small sized boards
These are great for children or if you have limited playing space. They share some of the same drawbacks of travel sized boards in that the checkers can be harder to handle and because of the lower profile of the board the dye can roll off the table more frequently.
Medium sized boards
These are great ‘everyday’ boards as they provide both flexibility and good game play. The checkers are big enough that the game play is enjoyable, and the board can be used on practically any coffee table. Sometimes ‘where’ you can play is just as important to consider.
Large – XL sized boards
These boards are what you will commonly see in tournament settings because their large playing field and larger checkers make it easier for the public to see. They require a large playing surface to play on so consider what table or floor you will play on when shopping for this size. The checkers often measure 1 3/4″ in diameter, and the board’s open dimensions being around 24″ x 18″ (closed).
Do you have a game room or need a backgammon board that will surely ignite conversation while entertaining? Then you might want to get a table-top backgammon board. Usually becoming the center-piece of a room, table-top backgammon boards are usually a great experience to play on. If you are willing to pay extra and have the room for it, a table-top backgammon board could be a great choice!
There are some world class brands in the backgammon board scene that include Zaza & Sacci, Geoffrey Parker, Dal Negro, Marcello de Modana, and many more. Ultimately this is one of the most personal choices as different brands use different materials, color offerings and accessories. If you are looking for a backgammon board that will last it’s usually advisable to stay away from non-name brand boards.
Naturally, you’ll have to shop for a backgammon board that can fit within your budget. You can find beginner boards for anywhere from $50 and up, or backgammon boards from some of the leading manufacturers going anywhere from $500-$3000 and up
The weight of a backgammon board should be considered if its going to be transported around frequently or for long periods at a time. Just like a heavy luggage bag you don’t want to be carrying around a very heavy board. This is something often directly related to the size of the board, but can also depend on the materials used in the backgammon set. For example stone checkers will add considerable extra weight than plastic checkers.
7. Quality & Durability
Some backgammon boards can last generations, while some backgammon boards might only last a couple years before they start to show excessive wear. If you want a board that will last you’ll want to consider how well the playing field is made (inlaid or stitched), what hardware is used (checkers, dye, shakers, hinges), what materials are used (is real or faux leather?), and just overall build quality. We highly recommend reading customer reviews to learn more about specific boards.
Often overlooked, this is one of the fundamental aspects to playing backgammon. If you don’t have a backgammon board you enjoy playing on, you might not enjoy the game as much.
We think everyone should own at least one backgammon board, but there’s no need buy one to only regret it later. When you’re shopping for a new board you should consider using our guide above to help you make the best choice for your situation. Good gaming everyone.