Last updated on December 30, 2021
I have owned this particular Jaques of London Backgammon travel set for several years. Whenever I am away from home this travel set comes with me. It packs easily into a suitcase or a backpack. When travelling alone, the set is a great conversation starter. I’ll sit at a table with a book (or more likely these days, my phone), with the travel set unravelled beside me. It draws plenty of comments and more often than not you find yourself with a new backgammon companion.
The set is remarkably similar to another travel set we reviewed recently, the Sondergut Genuine Leather Travel Backgammon set. The two look very similar apart from the branding. It’s quite possible they have been made in the same factory. Ideally, at some point in time, we would like to get the two sets side by side and do a thorough comparison.
The set is made from genuine suede leather. It looks, feels and smells like leather should. The packaging clearly indicates that the set was made in the Peoples Republic of China, which is fine. However, the Jaques marketing team play on the company’s 200-year-old heritage and state that the product has traditional English quality and is handmade by Jaques of London. I think that this is just a piece of creative marketing. It might be designed in England, but it is manufactured in China. We would happily pay a premium for a genuine hand-made English luxury backgammon set.
As for the construction, the website claims that the set is hand-stitched. As you can see from the photograph below the stitching on the points is remarkably consistent for something made by hand. I suspect these were hand-fed into a sewing machine because of the consistency. A leather strap and press studs secure the set when closed.
Marketing aside, I really admire this piece because it has a tactile quality that you can only get from leather. It is robust and has survived many journeys in my company with barely a scratch. In fact, this set will look better with age as the leather acquires its own patina over time.
The set is very light at approximately 250g. When rolled up it is the size of a compact travel umbrella (26cm x 5cm).
Open the set and you reveal a neat zippered pocket, which contains the checkers and the dice (4 dice plus a doubling cube). As a nice touch, the dice are beautifully wrapped in Jaques branded paper. Presentation is something that Jaques does very well and their products are always impeccably packaged. The checkers are plastic and the right size to fit the points. However, it would have been nice, and more environmentally friendly, if the accessories were wooden. I will get a set of wooden checkers crafted for this luxury backgammon set in the future. Because this is a travel set there are no dice cups.
It’s a nice robust set that will handle whatever your journey throws at it. The price is amazingly low for an item of this quality. I am pleased to have this particular Deluxe Backgammon set in my collection. RRP at the time of purchase was £39.99. They are currently selling for considerably less.