Backgammon boards (Looking for advice)

Flat12

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I know there are a couple of you here who are into this game. And it also appears the resident forum high priest on 'BG' is no other than namesake @BGinGa :D

I have been learning backgammon for a little over a year now and enjoying it immensely. In fact, I will say I am a little obsessive about it since rediscovering the pastime.

I have mostly been working off books and software (eXtreme Gammon 2) but it is time to acquire my first backgammon board to add to the learning process with actual physical tactile feedback of handling backgammon pieces instead of just playing BG off a computer screen.

For the timebeing, I don't plan on looking at high-tier bespoke boards. That will be somewhat of an ostentatious luxury for an amateur like me.

But I am definitely looking for a large well-made board of around the $400 price range. I have considered the rustic charms of wooden boards but decided that the more modern tournament/competition selections using felt, cork, leather and 'cloth' will be preferable.

Thus far I have narrowed things down to the following boards and will appreciate any further input and advice that you have. Thanks for looking :-

(1) Very interested in the 'professional sets' of $250 to $400 range sold at Gammonvillage
https://www.gammonvillage.com/backgammon-shop/backgammon-sets/professional-backgammon-sets/

However, they have various sizes ranging from 21" to 24" using corresponding sizes of checkers (1-3/4" and 2") and dice (9/16" and 5/8")

Which board size should I choose ? Will a 24" board necessarily play better than the smaller 21" ? If I'm not mistaken, they are all 'tournament' size.

(2) What do you guys think of the 'Ready-To-Play' House Boards being sold by Bone Club UK ?
https://www.boneclub.co.uk/product-category/backgammon-boards/

Bill Robertie said some nice things about the board but that appeared to be a solicited review (the manufacturer reach out to Bill and sent him a board for his comments)

The price point of their House board is fantastic but it's not head and shoulders cheaper than some of the offerings from Gammonvillage.
The Gammonvillage offerings also appear more visually pleasing and look more 'high-end' in the manner they are rendered.

Your verdict on Bone Club ?

(3) Any other board recommendations, backgammon accessories etc ???

:tup:
 
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MathijsVS

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Dropping in to keep an eye on this thread. My parents played backgammon with each other and me before they split, when I was very little, so it might be time to rekindle all that nostalgia :)
 

BGinGA

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looking for a large well-made board of around the $400 price range. I have considered the rustic charms of wooden boards but decided that the more modern tournament/competition selections using felt, cork, leather and 'cloth' will be preferable.
Good decision in avoiding a wooden board. They often look nice, but are very noisy and do not play very well imo.

My personal preference for playing surface covering is stitch-less felt or microfiber, which allow for good checker slide, decent dice roll bounce but with sound dampening, and easy cleaning. Leather is okay, but untreated cork will get dirty and show pip/paint wear with heavy use.


they have various sizes ranging from 21" to 24" using corresponding sizes of checkers (1-3/4" and 2") and dice (9/16" and 5/8")

Which board size should I choose ? Will a 24" board necessarily play better than the smaller 21" ? If I'm not mistaken, they are all 'tournament' size.
I think 1-3/4" checker sets play very well, and are considered 'tournament' size. The 2" checker sets can be unwieldy, and the boards do typically have a much larger footprint. I currently own both sizes (both custom-made), but a 1-3/4" checker set has always been my go-to size, both away and at home -- I only break out the 2" set for special occasions. Either die size is fine, so long as they are balanced precision dice (preferably translucent), and used with a lipped dice cup (to ensure randomness during the toss).

For checkers, I prefer the older-style Crisloid 1-3/4" x 1/2" marbleized checkers, and generally dislike checkers that are thinner than 1/2", those with a finger recess, made of leather (vs plastic, bakelite, or ceramic), or those with added metal. But those are just personal preferences; ymmv.


I think the Wycliffe sets on GammonVillage (both Gen III and Masters Edition) are a great bargain at $265, and they come in a variety of color combinations. Good choice for a starter set, imo.

Crisloid makes some decent boards in the $450 price range:
https://crisloid.com/product-category/backgammon/

Aries boards ($675-$795) have a long-standing reputation for beauty, quality, and ease-of-play, and would likely be my first choice for a new upscale board in today's market. The Aries board pictured below is very similar in design, construction, and color-scheme to my 1-3/4" custom board (although I have red and white checkers):

th700_AR-200-w-10.jpg


What do you guys think of the 'Ready-To-Play' House Boards being sold by Bone Club UK ?
The Bone Collector sets you linked appears to be much more of a niche product than a serious tournament set builder -- you will likely need to purchase additional equipment -- precision dice and lipped dice cups -- in addition to the cost of the custom-made board. Bill Robertie review notwithstanding, I was not particularly impressed with their products.

You may also find these links of interest:

https://gammonstuff.com/
https://www.mastersofgames.com/cat/board/backgammon.htm
 

Flat12

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Good decision in avoiding a wooden board. They often look nice, but are very noisy and do not play very well imo.

My personal preference for playing surface covering is stitch-less felt or microfiber, which allow for good checker slide, decent dice roll bounce but with sound dampening, and easy cleaning. Leather is okay, but untreated cork will get dirty and show pip/paint wear with heavy use.



I think 1-3/4" checker sets play very well, and are considered 'tournament' size. The 2" checker sets can be unwieldy, and the boards do typically have a much larger footprint. I currently own both sizes (both custom-made), but a 1-3/4" checker set has always been my go-to size, both away and at home -- I only break out the 2" set for special occasions. Either die size is fine, so long as they are balanced precision dice (preferably translucent), and used with a lipped dice cup (to ensure randomness during the toss).

For checkers, I prefer the older-style Crisloid 1-3/4" x 1/2" marbleized checkers, and generally dislike checkers that are thinner than 1/2", those with a finger recess, made of leather (vs plastic, bakelite, or ceramic), or those with added metal. But those are just personal preferences; ymmv.


I think the Wycliffe sets on GammonVillage (both Gen III and Masters Edition) are a great bargain at $265, and they come in a variety of color combinations. Good choice for a starter set, imo.

Crisloid makes some decent boards in the $450 price range:
https://crisloid.com/product-category/backgammon/

Aries boards ($675-$795) have a long-standing reputation for beauty, quality, and ease-of-play, and would likely be my first choice for a new upscale board in today's market. The Aries board pictured below is very similar in design, construction, and color-scheme to my 1-3/4" custom board (although I have red and white checkers):

th700_AR-200-w-10.jpg



The Bone Collector sets you linked appears to be much more of a niche product than a serious tournament set builder -- you will likely need to purchase additional equipment -- precision dice and lipped dice cups -- in addition to the cost of the custom-made board. Bill Robertie review notwithstanding, I was not particularly impressed with their products.

You may also find these links of interest:

https://gammonstuff.com/
https://www.mastersofgames.com/cat/board/backgammon.htm
Sagely advice. Thanks for the detailed reply. That has certainly opened my eyes and expanded my options to what is out there. :tup:
 

Mongoose

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Great info. I’m overdue for a new board. I use to love to play. It use to be popular years ago with friends of mine. It was’t uncommon to walk into a bar and for them to have backgammon available. Not for a long time....
 

Fingerz

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https://www.gammonvillage.com/backg...r-300/dal_negro_wood_backgammon_set_itaca.cfm

This is the travel set we use from Dal Negro. I tried to attach a picture but had no luck (I’m using an IPad). I’ve ordered 2 boards from GammonVillage. Both are Dal Negro. One is the folding one in the link above and the other is a Dal Negro Olympic table top full size. Both are excellent quality boards. I’ve changed out the dice for precision ones but I’ve had no issues with either. We play a lot! Good luck in your search. Do your research. Buy a good board from the start. No need to waste money on a beginner board made of lesser materials. In the end you will end up buying the nicer board anyways.
 

Fingerz

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This is the travel board by Dal Negro
 

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Mongoose

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Like @Fingerz said “No need to waste money on a beginner board made of lesser materials. In the end you will end up buying the nicer board anyways”

Buy quality. Sounds the same as buying chips! Lol!
 

Flat12

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https://www.gammonvillage.com/backg...r-300/dal_negro_wood_backgammon_set_itaca.cfm

This is the travel set we use from Dal Negro. I tried to attach a picture but had no luck (I’m using an IPad). I’ve ordered 2 boards from GammonVillage. Both are Dal Negro. One is the folding one in the link above and the other is a Dal Negro Olympic table top full size. Both are excellent quality boards. I’ve changed out the dice for precision ones but I’ve had no issues with either. We play a lot! Good luck in your search. Do your research. Buy a good board from the start. No need to waste money on a beginner board made of lesser materials. In the end you will end up buying the nicer board anyways.

Thanks for the recommendation, but I have removed wooden boards from my shortlist.

While they are undoubtedly well-made, beautiful, charming and traditional, they did not square with my personal preference for a more 'modern' tournament oriented set.

That said, at one time during my search I was seriously looking at some of the offerings from Helena Wood Art :-

https://www.helenawoodart.com/en/backgammons-chess

And speaking of the very very ridiculously high-end wooden or wood accented boards, Alexandra llewellyn's are absolutely insane :-

https://alexandrallewellyn.com/collections/backgammon

But that's just too much bling for a peasant like me.
 

Flat12

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Getting backgammon board advice from @BGinGA is like getting scotch advice from @ChaosRock ! Some PCFers really do know their stuff.
LOL ! Don't know this ChaosRock fella. Is he related to WedgeRock ?

It's funny though reading BGinGA's advice. He answered a lot of questions I was unsure of and open my eyes to options I never thought about, but at the same time it is freaky that a lot of his personal preferences dovetail with mine, even down to those purely on aesthetics. When he mentioned chunky 1/2" thick marbleized checkers and uniform stitch-less playing surface of the microfiber persuasion, he was resonating my music :D

I'm OCD over stitching on any playing surfaces.....the idea that there is bumps and uneven surfaces of dissimilar material.

No matter how beautiful and well made, I probably have to give those beautiful Aries boards a pass because of stitching. I know, I know. It will not affect gameplay given the high-quality of their stitching but psychologically it affects me :ROFL: :ROFLMAO:

I will still spend some time looking far and wide, but tentatively it will boil down to either

a) Wycliffe 23 inch Prestige Class with 1-3/4" x 1/2" checkers .................love the vibrant colors but don't like the default nickel accented checkers (too much bling, bells and whistles). Probably replace them with Crisloid checkers of identical size if I ultimately pull the trigger on this

https://www.gammonvillage.com/backg...lack_case_with_green_field_prestige_class.cfm

or I pay a bit more for

b) GammonVillage Champion Class Board...........nothing much to complain about this except I also prefer the chunky look of Crisloid checkers over the default checkers that comes with the set, .........so will accessorize accordingly

https://www.gammonvillage.com/backg...set_champion_class_black_case_green_field.cfm

Both boards are priced differently, but are nearly identical in size. I visualize the difference by measuring up and using books to denote the borders of GammonVillage Board superimposed against the slightly larger Wycliffe 23" Prestige (denoted by the boundary between the two square black tape) :-

20200730_141547.jpg


[edit] I found an old picture of you two over a game of backgammon

BGinGA-inca.jpeg
 
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