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The Origin of Backgammon: The 5,000-Year-Old Board Game

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Backgammon is one of the world’s oldest games, although it could be argued that it is not the most popular board game to have existed.


Indeed, there have been a number of other board games to have been released over the years that will be synonymous with the market and will instantly be spoken about when an individual is asked to name one.


Of course, there have been various different versions and updates to the classic game, though, including the availability of table online, thus giving players who wish to play the game on a digital platform the opportunity to do so and perhaps meet the needs of gamers today. Many of us use electronic devices in the modern era, which is why it could be argued that the online version was needed.


Nonetheless, it would seem not many in the world would know the origins of this classic game, and perhaps would not know that it has been around for approximately 5,000 years already!


We thought we would provide you with a history lesson regarding its origins, and provide you with some useful information regarding why backgammon has managed to remain popular centuries later, as well as highlight where it is being enjoyed the most around the world.

Where does backgammon originate from?

As we previously mentioned, the game of backgammon is thought to be one of the oldest board games in existence and has been played by people around the world for centuries, with having been thought that the game was created some 5,000 years ago! 


The exact origins of the game are unknown, but it is thought to have originated in ancient Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq), or in Persia (modern-day Iran).


The earliest known mention of the game is from a Babylonian text dating back to around 1600 BC. The text describes a game that was played with two dice and that had rules similar to those used in modern-day backgammon.


Unsurprisingly, the game then spread to other parts of the world, including Greece, Rome, and China. In the Middle Ages, the game was popular among noblemen and the upper classes in Western Europe. During this time, the game was referred to by different names, including Tric-trac and Tables.


Today, people still play the game of backgammon as a casual pastime and in competitive tournaments that attract players from all over the globe. In fact, Backgammon has even been recognized by UNESCO as being part of humankind's cultural heritage, thus highlighting the influence and importance that the board game has had on the world!

Why has backgammon continued to remain popular?

There are many reasons why backgammon has remained popular throughout the years. 


One reason is that it is a relatively simple game to learn and yet it still offers players a lot of strategic depth. The game can be played quickly or slowly, depending on the players' preference, and it can be enjoyed by people of all ages.


Another reason for its popularity is that backgammon is a very social game. It is often played in social settings such as clubs, bars, and homes, and it provides an opportunity for people to interact with each other. The game also lends itself well to betting and gambling, which adds another level of excitement for many players.

Where is it played most?

Backgammon is played all over the world, but it is particularly popular in Europe, North America, and Asia. 


As we highlighted before, there are many online platforms where people can play backgammon against other players from around the globe, and there are also many local clubs and organizations that hold regular tournaments. 


Despite perhaps not being one of the most popular board games to exist, its status around the world has seen the game of backgammon be included in some international sporting events such as the Asian Indoor Games and the Mind Sports Olympiad.

Final Thoughts

Overall, despite its long history, backgammon continues to be a game that is enjoyed by a number of players worldwide due to its combination of simple rules, strategic depth, social aspects, and gambling appeal. 


Now you have knowledge about the origins of backgammon, is it a game that you will be looking to enjoy?