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Manopoulos Walnut Burl with Mother of Pearl inlays

At Deluxe Backgammon, like everyone else, we are in coronavirus lockdown. We have not had one of our weekly Monday night sessions since early March. Online play is obviously available, but we really miss the social interaction and the facial expressions during face to face play. We have tried playing via Zoom, but it still isn’t the same as sitting across the table in our local pub with a pint of beer in hand. The atmosphere is missing via video link and the sound of the dice clattering across the playfield sounds tinny and hollow from a tiny set of speakers.

The other thing we haven’t been able to do is to look at any new backgammon sets, which is something we would normally do once or twice a month. In all of our previous recommendations we have always viewed the backgammon set first hand. That is not option at the moment, so we have decided to take a look at a new backgammon set from a trusted manufacturer, Manopoulos. This is listed on the Manopoulos website and is flagged as New.

Playing field.

Construction

This quality backgammon set has been handmade by the Manopoulos craftsmen using traditional techniques. The frame is made from an unspecified laminated wood. The outer cabinet is walnut burl, which has a rich and unique grain. Being burl, no two sets will ever be the same, it guarantees a one-of-a-kind piece. The playing field is made of wenge with mother of pearl inlays. The ancient technique of marquetry has been used to fit the points. The mother of pearl points makes for a striking and eye-catching appearance. This combined with the outer burl cabinet means this is a decorative as well as practical piece. The cabinet has brass furnishings and is secured by a single front clasp.

Walnut Burl.

Accessories

The set includes 4 plastic dice and a doubling cube. The checkers are made of brown and white mother of pearl and compliment the inlaid points.  There are two dice cups made from an unspecified wood, which are not visible in the images on the website. There is also a branded linen drawstring bag for storing all of the accessories when not in play. The doubling cube and the dice cups are a welcome addition as they are not normally part of the traditional Greek game, tavli.

Accessories.

Dimensions

This is a small set, being only 20cm x 30cm, when closed and 40cm x 30cm when open. It would be perfect for households where space is at a premium. It weighs in at only 1kg. Considering its compact design and light weight it could be used as a travel set, although it doesn’t have a carry handle.

Conclusion

As we noted at the start, because of the lockdown we haven’t seen this quality backgammon set first hand. However, we trust this manufacturer from experience and certain of the build quality. Hopefully, in the not too distant future we will be able to get out and get hands on some quality backgammon sets for review. In the meantime, if you are looking for a compact and decorative backgammon set, it would be well worth considering this offering from Manopoulos. Based on our past experience with Manopoulos we would have no hesitation in recommending this as a Deluxe Backgammon set.

The price at the time of writing: £260.

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