The History of Backgammon and Its Evolution

Backgammon is a very popular board game where various strategies are used to win the game. People have played the game down through the years. The history of backgammon is a long and interesting one. We will explore this backgammon history and also where the game is today. So if you are a novice player or an experienced one you may find the information enlightening to you. Read on to find out more.

The history of backgammon has its origins back in the days of the Persian Empire. Backgammon has been around longer than any other board game as far as recorded history. There are also references to the game in writings from the Far East, Greece and Rome though too.

There has been evidence found, which it dates back as far as 5000 years, in the Iranian city called Shahr-e Sukhteh. This evidence included an ebony board of rectangular shape and the pieces were made of agate and turquoise. There were dice found too. The board was more elaborate than the boards today with a serpent interwoven throughout making the 20 game slots. This is less than the 24 slots of the game played today. The artifacts included some 60 pieces which is more than what the game today is played with, only 30 are used today. This shows to the rules being somewhat different from the version of backgammon played today.

The Egyptian also played a game called senat, which involved a variety of sizes of boards. Evidence of this game dates back as far as 3000 to 1788BC but the rules to this day are unknown. Then during the first century (that is AD by the way), Ludus Duodecim Scriptorum, which was derived from senat, transformed into a variation of 2 rows containing 12 points each. Then Alea appeared in the 6th century. These games and others started to be known as Tabula. This was just a broad term used for any board game.

Now for the more modern history of backgammon, the English first referred to a similar game to backgammon in 1025AD as “Nard” or the more common term of “Tables.” This game was played in the English taverns during the middle ages. In the 15th century though, chess became more popular. Backgammon was also banned for a length of time, because gambling was done with it, during the time that Elizabeth I was in reign. Backgammon has been known by many names during backgammon history. The history of backgammon believes that the term “backgammon” came about in 1645. Most likely the term originated from the Saxon baec, which means back, and the Saxon gamen, which means game.

In the 1920s the doubling cube is believed to be added to the game. This enhanced the skill taken for the game. At this time it was mainly played by the upper class. Then in 1931 the rules for backgammon were altered into the rules we know today at least here in the USA.

Today the history of backgammon also includes the computer. Many websites are available to buy backgammon equipment. Some people play online too. But the purists of backgammon history still prefer to play with a physical board and playing pieces as often as they can.

The Unofficial History of Cribbage and Sir John Suckling

One of England’s greatest contributions to Western Civilization is the card game Cribbage, at least in the opinion of avid Cribbage players. Sir John Suckling is the one responsible for bringing us the game that we love today. Although there is no evidence to truly prove that Sir John Suckling was the creator of Cribbage, he is, at the very least, the one responsible for publishing and spreading the game all through the land.

Sir John Suckling, poet, playwright, master bowler/gambler and notorious womanizer, was born at Whitton, between Twickenham and Hounslow, Middlesex, on February 10, 1609. He was born into a very prominent family in England, although after his mother died when he was four years of age, his father was in charge of rearing the young child. His father was a member of the English Parliament and was the “controller” of the King’s household until his untimely death in 1627. Sir John was at the age of 18 when his father passed and was old enough to inherit his father’s considerably large estate. After receiving the inheritance he spent countless amount of money traveling, womanizing and of course gambling.

In 1623 he enrolled in Trinity College, Cambridge and then to Gray’s Inn in 1627. At the young age of 18, he pursued a military career and joined the army of Gustavus Adolphus during the Thirty Years’ War. At the age of 21, King Charles I knighted Suckling. The king quickly regretted the decision, so Suckling left the court and became involved in several different military adventures. He was said to have served in an expedition against France and it has been said that he fought in Lord Wimbledon’s regiments in the Dutch service. In October 1631, Sir John joined Sir Henry Vane who was serving under Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden. In 1632, Suckling quickly came back into King Charles’s good graces after delivering the dispatches, by orders of Vane, and after completing his mission he returned and remained in England.

After that he pretty much filled his time gambling, womanizing, and serving in the military for the rest of the decade. This is where he was said to have invented the beloved game of cribbage, which had some similar features to the games, Noddy and One-and-Thirty. Although when the Scottish war of 1639 began, he left his beloved cards and women to raise a troop of 100 horsemen and his army joined King Charles in the north. When the war ended, peacefully, in 1639, Sir John returned to London. He was elected to Parliament in 1640, but in May 1641 he was involved in a vain attempt to free a political prisoner, Thomas Wentworth, the earl of Stratford and held in the Tower of London. Sir John Suckling was then charged with treason and had to flee to France with very few belongings and almost no financial assistance, to avoid arrest.

In order to establish some kind of financial security in one of his darkest hours, Suckling started selling a large number of marked packs of cards and distributed them amongst the richest population in the region. He then started playing cards where the marked cards were distributed. In 1642, it was believed that Sir John Suckling committed suicide by taking poison. It has been said that his greatest accomplishments were the lyrics to “why so pale” and “wan fond lover?” and for Cribbage, which has changed very little since Suckling’s day and is one of the most popular card games in the English speaking world.