Joseph works as an editor in one of the magazines dedicated to video games. Here, at RecRoomPick, he’s given the opportunity to enjoy the reverse of the medal – the no less engaging world of offline games.
Ryan knows everything when it comes to gaming, both online and offline. Since his early years he’s been in love with arcades, air hockey, and foosball. Finally, he’s given the opportunity to share his knowledge and opinion on the hobby of his life (and even get paid for it!).
Last updated: November 17, 2023
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When you think of classic board games, three most likely come to mind. Checkers, chess, and backgammon have been around for hundreds of years, with backgammon being the oldest. This classic strategy game continues to be one of the most popular board games in the world. This is why, obviously, it only makes sense to get the best backgammon set that you can, regardless of whether or not you are looking to play for pleasure or in a tournament.
Choosing a set can be a bit tricky, however, since there are so many different variations to choose from based on their design or the materials used in their construction. That’s the first thing we looked into. Next, we looked at the size of the boards, both when open and closed, since this will dictate where you can play. Finally, we checked into the accessories that were included in each set, as that will help to determine which model is the best backgammon set for the money.
We spent tens of hours reading through hundreds of user reviews to put together our comprehensive list. From there, we took the time to do an in-depth review of each set so that you can find the perfect one for your playing needs. Of course, if you are just beginning your search, please take the time to read our buying guide and the frequently asked questions so that you will be able to make an educated purchasing decision.
When it comes to finding the best backgammon set, you need to make sure that you find the one that provides both style and substance to the gaming experience. This offering from Yellow Mountain Imports is just that: a beautiful combination of high-quality materials and attractive design that makes playing the game enjoyable, whether you are doing it for high stakes or just for fun.
The first thing that will jump out at you with this set is its elegant design. It is made entirely out of wood and has been finished to perfection. The finish and quality of the wood make this a very durable set, which is perfect for traveling or playing at home.
Something else that makes this product such an elegant set is the inset magnets that are used to keep it closed. While many other travel sets utilize large clasps as closures, this backgammon set uses hidden magnets. These magnets are extremely strong, which helps to make this a very secure set.
As you would expect from a high-quality set, this one comes with everything that you will need to play the game: all the dice, pieces, and cups necessary are included. You just need to make sure that you are careful not to lose any pieces since there are no replacements.
The only real issue with this particular set is that the dice are not all that durable. If you are only going to play every once in a while, they should work out perfectly fine. On the other hand, if you are a serious player, these dice won’t last all that long and should most likely be replaced with a higher quality set.
One of the biggest complaints that players have when it comes to travel backgammon sets is that they are usually tiny. This makes it more difficult to maneuver the pieces, which in turn makes the game much less enjoyable. That is, thankfully, not the case for this set. It is one of the largest on the market, making it an ideal choice for anyone who wants to be able to move the pieces easily while they play, as well as see exactly where all of their pieces are at all time. The high contrast, and large size, of the black and white pieces and triangles, help with this as well.
Even though this is such a large set, it is still easy to transport. While its high weight might make it difficult to lug along with you on long trips, the easy-to-carry briefcase design is perfect for quick jaunts to play with friends. While the oversized clasps are not as elegant as hidden magnets, they will still keep your pieces from spilling out while you are moving.
Though this set is not made with wood, it is still very durable. The felt helps to keep the pieces in place while you are playing, and should hold up for a good long time, regardless of how often you play.
This set also comes with everything that you will need to play, including dice cups. All these accessories are built to last. The only real issue is the price which is noticeably higher than the market average. However, it’s a good investment since the set is not called “Premium” for no reason. Thanks to the high-quality materials used the product will serve you for many years to come.
If you are planning a long trip where you will be on the go a lot, you aren’t be able to drag along a large backgammon set. They take up too much space, and are too heavy, especially if you want to be going on a backpacking trip or fast-paced sight-seeing tour. For that, you need to get something that is lightweight and folds up to a very small size. If that is the case for you, then this is a great set to look into.
First of all, it is incredibly lightweight. This entire set, including the pieces, dice, doubling cube, and board, only weighs in at a half of a pound. In all honesty, you won’t even notice that you have it with you, it is so lightweight.
Secondly, this set, unlike others, doesn’t fold in half to be stored. Instead, it can be rolled up and secured with button clasps. This design makes it very easy to stuff inside of a backpack or suitcase without taking up a ton of room.
Something else that really makes this such a great set for traveling is the accessories storage pouch. It fits all of the pieces, dice, and the doubling cube. It can then be zipped up, making it all but impossible for the pieces to go anywhere, which is ideal when you are on the go.
The only real downside to this set is that the pieces are tiny, which can make them easy to misplace and tough to play. There are also no dice cups included, which isn’t that big of a surprise since this is supposed to be a very compact set.
When it comes to backgammon boards, everyone has their personal preference regarding the size. Some players prefer larger, more classical designs, while others like smaller, more portable versions. There are also those players that fall somewhere in between. This model is an excellent option if you are looking for a particular size since it comes in three different variants. These size choices will allow you to find the best one for your needs and preferences.
Something else that helps to set this particular model apart is that it comes with extra pieces. While other sets on the market seem to treat the pieces like a premium and only offer a limited number, with this model, you get extra chips and dice. This is a great feature, especially when you consider how small and easy-to-lose the pieces always are.
This set also comes with a book which will give you insights into different strategies to help you win as often as possible. If you are looking to buy a backgammon set for a novice player, then this would be a good set to look into.
No matter which size of board you decide upon, this is still a very lightweight and easy-to-transport game. This is, in part, thanks to the fact that it is made out of a high-quality, yet lightweight, leatherette and felt. Though the board is quite durable, the clasps for this set are not. You will need to be careful with them, as they are relatively small, making them easy to break if they are used too forcefully.
Though backgammon is one of the oldest board games in existence, it isn’t the only one. Chess and checkers have been around for almost as long and are just as fun to play. If you are looking to get the best value out of your money, then this is a great set for you. Not only does it come with everything that you need to play backgammon, but it also has boards and pieces for chess and checkers. This variety makes it an awesome option for a traveling game set.
This set is not all that heavy, surprisingly. Even though all three boards fit together for easy carrying, this set is quite lightweight. It uses inset magnets to keep it shut, and comes with a convenient carrying handle.
This is also one of the more durable sets on the market. The wood used for each of the boards is of the highest quality. This good quality construction will make sure that these boards and pieces don’t break down too quickly, even with heavy use.
It is a good thing that everything is made out of such sturdy materials. Despite all its advantages, this set does have one main issue. None of the pieces for any of the games has any holders or secure pouches for you to place them. This means that all of the parts can move freely while you are transporting them, which is less than ideal. You have to be very careful that you don’t let any of the pieces get mixed up, or it can be a bit tricky to keep them separated for each game.
Why are we impressed?
Comes with everything needed for checkers, chess, and backgammon
Easy to carry
What negatives must you be aware of?
No holder for the pieces
Things to Consider
In this section, we will go through everything that you need to know to find the right backgammon set for you. We have also taken the time to answer several frequently asked questions, so be sure to read through our answers as well.
Where backgammon was first played
Backgammon is one of the oldest games still in existence, much like chess: it is most likely about 5,000 years old. Archaeologists think that it was first played in Mesopotamia, which is modern-day Iraq. Dice from this time period have been discovered there recently, which only serves to reinforce the idea that the backgammon, under a different name, of course, was first played in this area.
Boards with twenty-four points and thirty checkers, which were also called pieces or men, have been found in modern-day Iraq as well. There have been many variations of this game through the years under many different names. As with so many other games and practices in the ancient world, the Romans were the first to truly make the game popular. They called it “Duodecum Scripta et Tabula” or “Tables” for short.
During the Roman Empire and Dark Ages, the rules of the game depended on the social status of the players. The higher up in society you were, the larger the stakes would be. During the crusades, the game had to be banned for lower-ranking soldiers, or they would gamble away everything that they owned.
The name “backgammon” wasn’t used until the 1600s. In fact, the first time that it was ever printed was in 1645. No one knows for sure where the name came from, but most scholars agree that it probably derives from Middle English. In this language, the word baec = back and gamen = game, so the name literally means, “Back game.”
Backgammon started to lose popularity in the 1900s, mostly because it was difficult to win large sums of money quickly. It was about this time that the idea of doubling was introduced. This allowed players to increase the stakes quickly and was first done with matchsticks. The doubling cube was added in later on, which made it much easier to keep track of the stakes. This helped to increase the popularity of backgammon and allow it to survive until today.
Features to consider before buying a backgammon set
As you can imagine, there are several key features that you need to take into account before you find the best backgammon set for your needs. In this section, we will carefully examine these essential features so you can find exactly what you are looking for in a backgammon set.
While it might sound like a trivial concern when looking for the best quality backgammon set, the material your board is made out of is very important. There are several different materials that you can choose from, which will vary based on the type of board you are looking for.
If you are looking for a board to carry along with you, then you will want to look for something lightweight, yet durable, like the Silverman&Co.Premium Backgammon Set. These mobile versions use a special fabric called leatherette and felt, which are then stretched over a thin piece of wood. This makes them exceptionally lightweight, yet durable.
If you are looking for the best tabletop backgammon set that looks more classic, then you should look for a game with a wooden board, like the Yellow Mountain Imports Backgammon Game Set. These pieces are the most aesthetically pleasing, making them showpieces as well as fully-functional games. Backgammons with wooden boards are also extremely durable which means they will serve you well for many years to come.
Something else you will want to keep in mind when you are selecting the material of your board is how you want the game to play. Each of the materials you can choose from will cause the checkers and dice to behave differently. For instance, on a wooden surface, the dice will not bounce very much, making for less play in your rolls. However, the checkers will be gliding with ease, following each of your fingers’ moves.
There are basic items that each backgammon set needs to have in order for you your friends to be able to play the game correctly. This includes thirty playing pieces (fifteen of two different colors) two sets of dice, and a doubling cube. This is the bare minimum that each set will come with, though some sets, do have more accessories.
One thing that not every set has, but which comes in handy, are cups. The more mobile a set is, the less likely it is to come with rolling cups since they take up a lot of room. If a set is built to be stationary, then it will probably come with cups. Cups are essential if you want to play the game traditionally, but can be supplemented with your hands if you are on the go.
Dimensions when closed
If you are going to use your backgammon game as a showpiece, then you probably won’t ever have to worry about folding it up. On the other hand, if you want to store it or take it along with you to play in different locations, carefully look at the sizes of each set on the market when they are folded up.
The Get The Games Out Top Backgammon Set is an excellent option if you are worried about portability or storage. It comes in a variety of sizes, which makes finding the right size for your needs quite simple.
Another feature that you will want to carefully consider when looking for a new backgammon set is how much it weighs. This is especially important if you intend to use your set for portable games with your friends. Obviously, the lighter the set, the easier it is going to be for you to take with you. The disadvantage to a lighter set, however, is that it is usually not going to be very durable, which will have an adverse effect on how often or how well you can play.
Heavier sets tend to have more predictable dice and durable materials, making them ideal for anyone who wants to enjoy their purchase for a long time.
There is an array of many different elements that can make your playing more enjoyable and exciting. For instance, the Yellow Mountain Imports Backgammon Game Set utilizes hidden inset magnets, which help to keep the board closed when you are transporting it. This reduces the risk of the set opening up when you are traveling, which will keep the pieces more secure. Other sets close up like briefcases, like the Silverman&Co.Premium Backgammon Set, to keep your pieces safe while on the go.
The Trademark Games Chess, Checker and Backgammon Set is unique in that it comes with not only everything that you need to play backgammon, but also a board for chess and checkers, as well as all of the required pieces. This makes it an ideal set for anyone who appreciates versatility in their purchases.
Classic backgammon boards are usually larger in size than you would find if you were using a portable model. Most classic boards are about twenty-eight inches in diameter, which makes it easier for players to move their pieces while they are playing.
If portability is the name of the game for you when it comes to backgammon, then the Sondergut Roll-Up Suede Backgammon Game is going to be your best bet. It weighs an infinitesimal half of a pound and rolls up to a very small size. This makes it easy to take with you wherever you want to go.
The doubling cube is used to increase the value of the game or the amount the winner will receive. Each backgammon set starts out with a value of one point. The doubling cube is placed in the middle of the bar and is not controlled by either of the players. It can be rolled by a player when they think that they are going to win so that the stakes can be increased.
Plainly put, the Yellow Mountain Imports Backgammon Game Set is quite possibly the best backgammon set for the money. It comes with everything you need to play the game, is easy to transport, has a secure and elegant clasp system, and is beautifully, as well as durably, made. We highly recommend that you try this set out.
If, however, you are looking for a larger backgammon board, then you might want to check out the Silverman&Co.Premium Backgammon Set. It is easy to transport, thanks to its briefcase style design and has a large playing surface and easy-to-move pieces.
While most backgammon sets are easy to transport, the Sondergut Roll-Up Suede Backgammon Game is in a league of its own. It is compact, lightweight, and very easy to carry with you wherever you go. This makes it a strong contender for the best backgammon set on the market today, especially if you want to travel with it.