There is a simple elegant magic to playing board games. An enforced moment of cutting out the outside world. No technology, phone calls, computers or anything that distracts from the here and the now.
In essence it’s a dance between two people, albeit on a board. With white and black or red checkers. It ensures that you engage with your opponent. Usually loads of friendly, competitive banter ensues.
For me is it reminiscent of childhood memories and playing with friends, or even family. A real holiday activity. As a mom, I’ve made sure that my kids have also learnt the art of board games.
Especially in today’s hectic world, where everything is just go, go, go! One of my favourite board games is backgammon. Almost every evening we have a family backgammon championship. It is the perfect way to spend quality time together, after a long day.
The rules are fairly simple. The playing board consists of 12 long triangles, called points.
The passage of play, takes the shape of a horse shoe. Opposing players starting in different positions, moving clockwise.
The board is set up in a very specific way, with 15 of checkers placed on certain points, as prescribed by the standard set-up rules. The object of the game, is to move all of your checkers, clockwise, to your home base, and eventually of the board.
Which is where they are safe. A dice is thrown to determine the amount of places you may move. Your opponent may capture any of your checkers, should they stand alone, unguarded on a point. The best way to secure that you do not lose any of your checkers, is to have two checkers on a point at a time.
The winner is the person with the most amount of checkers in their home base.
An added element of fun can be added to the game, with the use of the doubling cube. Though a doubling cube may look like a dice, it is slightly different.
It is a marker with the numbers 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 and 64. At the beginning of a new game, the doubling cube is placed with the number 64 facing up.
The cube is then “centered” on 1. What this means, is that the player about to roll the regular dice, may propose that the game be played for twice the current stakes.
Opponents may accept the challenge (take) or deny (drop). The benefit of the doubling cube is the added dimension it brings to the gentle art of strategic play.
There are more than 7 different variations of the standard backgammon. These are largely based on geographical lines.
In certain countries and places, the game is played a certain way. The main differentiations alter the starting points, and the set-up of the board.
In some countries, players start with no checkers on a board, and they have to throw a certain number on the dice, to be able to enter checkers onto the board. In other countries, only a limited amount of checkers are placed on
the board at the start of play.
Suffice it to say – whichever variety you like, Backgammon is an awesome game. A game of strategy, fun, clever and suitable for most ages. Portable and easy to play anywhere, anytime and anyplace. Have you got a set?
Tempted by a bit of backgammon today? Head on over to our online store where we currently have two different boards. Prices range from Only R69.00 a set.