Saturday, April 16, 2022

Beachy Backgammon

Lacquer Raffia Backgammon Set

I have taken up playing backgammon again and have been looking for a beautiful backgammon set for the house. Backgammon boards can be highly collectible.

The game dates back about 5000 years to Iran, and was even banned by the Catholic Church in the sixteenth century. The popularity of backgammon surged in the mid-1960s, in part due to the charisma of Prince Alexis Obolensky who became known as "The Father of Modern Backgammon." "Obe," as he was called by friends, co-founded the International Backgammon Association, which published a set of official rules. He also established the World Backgammon Club of Manhattan, devised a backgammon tournament system in 1963, then organized the first major international backgammon tournament in March 1964, which attracted royalty, celebrities and the press. 

The game became a huge fad and was played on college campuses, in discothèques and at country clubs; stockbrokers and bankers began playing at conservative men's clubs. People young and old all across the country dusted off their boards and checkers. Cigarette, liquor and car companies began to sponsor tournaments, and Hugh Hefner held backgammon parties at the Playboy Mansion. Backgammon clubs were formed and tournaments were held, resulting in a World Championship promoted in Las Vegas in 1967. (Wikipedia)

I played during college and law school and as a young lawyer, and it was very popular in DC. Lots of bars and restaurants had game rooms with backgammon. A gin and tonic is a perfect pairing.

Vintage rattan backgammon tables are highly collectible. If you see one of these, grab it!

Vintage Bamboo and Cork Backgammon Table

Cane and raffia ones were very popular in the seventies. Here are some backgammon sets I have been eyeing. Click on the captions to link.

Serena and Lily Raffia Backgammon

Aerin Lacquer and Raffia Backgammon

Two's Company Cane Backgammon

Backgammon is much easier than chess or bridge to learn, and there are many free online sites where you can learn to play.

Serena and Lily


  1. Never played, always wanted to. These vintage sets are beautiful enough to make me finally take it up. Same thing with Majong. Love the way it looks and there has to be something to the game since so many "mature" ladies seem to like it esp. in FL. And I believe I am mature enough to appreciate it.

  2. Our clubhouse has all of these games and you can even learn how. Great for the brain too except Bunco which is too stupid for me. LOL.

  3. Do you ever play online? I'm finding it totally addictive.