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Choosing a backgammon set

At Deluxe Backgammon we have a diverse selection of backgammon sets to play on. How do you choose your own backgammon set? When choosing a backgammon set the main considerations are board type, size, playing surface, accessories and quality of the build.

Board type

Most backgammon sets come as a folding cabinet. The playing field is on the inside, which also acts as a storage space for the accessories. Attaché or briefcase-style sets include a carrying handle, which is useful if you are going to be transporting a set from place to place. Travel sets are typically made to roll up and generally don’t include dice cups. Finally, there are backgammon tables which are a permanent piece of gaming furniture in the home.


According to the UK Backgammon Federation, for backgammon tournaments, such as the UK Open in 2022, the board should be a minimum of 44cm x 55cm (H x W) and a maximum of 66cm x 88cm when open. If you aren’t playing tournaments then size comes down to personal preferences and storage capacity. One of our favourites is the Libra Burnham backgammon set which is 38cm x 50cm. It is slightly smaller than the minimum tournament size, but perfect for casual play. If you live in a studio flat with limited storage space, you will not want a tournament-sized board. Travel sets are typically much smaller and more compact and usually don’t include dice cups.

Libra Burnham backgammon set. Choosing a backgammon set.
Libra Burnham backgammon set.


Traditional backgammon sets were crafted from wood. These create a lovely noise when the dice are rolled across the board. However, many other materials are now available, including acrylics and leather substitutes. At Deluxe Backgammon we prefer our backgammon sets to be made of traditional materials.

Playing field

The playing field can be finished in a number of ways:

Printed points – A backgammon set with a printed playing field gives a smooth finish and is available at a more competitive price. Printed points ensure a completely flat playing surface, this means that you will no longer catch your fingernail on a badly sewn point. There are no more unsightly broken points which can cause dice to be skewed or cocked. Printed boards can fade with age or from wear and tear. However, sets with printed boards tend to be less expensive and can easily be replaced.

Inlaid points – Backgammon sets with an inlaid surface are of higher quality and typically more expensive. It involves a high level of craftsmanship to ensure that the points are correctly inlaid and that the playing field is truly level. The points are generally inlaid using the traditional methods of marquetry or parquetry.

Lazy Days Indigo Backgammon set. Choosing a backgammon set.
Lazy Days Indigo Backgammon set.

Leather boards – For quieter play, backgammon sets were traditionally finished with a leather surface. While leather is still an option, leatherette surfaces are also available. These offer a more sustainable option with a longer-lasting surface.

Cork Boards – Cork playing fields are increasing in popularity and offer a natural surface for a quieter game. The only downside is they are not as durable as harder surfaces.

Manopoulos natural cork playing field. Choosing a backgammon set.
Manopoulos natural cork playing field.


A backgammon set will include the following accessories, 30 checkers (typically 15 white, 15 black), dice, a doubling cube and some dice cups. The materials used will generally complement the backgammon board. The most important thing about the checkers is their size. They should be as wide as the base of the points. Ideally, the set will include precision dice which are essential for tournament play. However, non-precision dice are fine for casual play. The dice cups are also required for serious play.

Once you have acquired your ideal backgammon set, refer to our rules and playing guide pages to help you win your first game of backgammon.

Author, Jason. Choosing a backgammon set.


  1. Benson Benson

    Useful guide. I’m after a solidly built backgammon set, preferably made from wood. It has to be portable, but not specifically a travel set. I’m not worried about the noise, but would like some nice accessories including dice cups. Any recommendations?

    • Jason Jason

      Hi Benson, my favourite set and the one I use the most is the Jaques 15 inch Mahogany backgammon set. It is in a cassette design with a handle, so it is portable, but considerably larger than a travel set. It is durable and made of mahogany. I have replaced the plastic dice with wooden dice. I only use this set for social play, so precision dice aren’t needed. I also have some bespoke leather dice cups from Kingsley Leather, which round out the set. The set includes a copy of the rules of backgammon and some linen draw string bags to store the accessories. Recommended retail price for the Jaques Mahogany backgammon set is £69.99 at the time of writing. I hope this helps, Jason.

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