First Time For Everything – Backgammon

I’m a retro gamer, I’ve got my copy of Rogue Trader and 1st ed what hammer fantasy role play to prove it. However even by my standards the subject of today’s blog is very old.

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Possibly the first board game in recorded history. Sets have been found dating from 3000 BC, and the rules seem remarkably similar to ‘modern’ sets.

The rules are exceedingly simple, get your men to your home board, and get them out. Your opponent is trying to do the same, and you can block or take pieces to hinder your opponent, as any that you remove have to move back onto the board in the farthest quarter from home.

The game is a nice mix of skill and luck, and games are usually played to a set number of points. Get all your pieces off the board and that’s a point. Donut without your opponent getting any off and that’s a gammon and worth 2 points. Somehow do it with your opponents piece still waiting to come back on and that’s a backgammon and worth 3.

We played to 5 and were amply taught by Catherine, a friend of ours. I wanted to learn for a very simple reason: we’re going to Istanbul in June, and I’ve been told sitting playing backgammon and drinking Turkish coffee is a unique experience.

In the first round, my opponent (and wife) trounced me, putting her 2 nil up. We were playing in the best possible way: with drink after a good meal! After taking in board where I was going wrong, I took the next 3 games, with one gammon. With the score at 4 – 2 and first to 5, I was feeling very cocky. Which probably explains why I lost the next 2!

At 4-4 I took a final set on a lucky roll to take the game 5-4.

Overall great fun, and i look forward to playing again!

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