Last updated on April 15, 2021
At Deluxe Backgammon we prefer boards made of natural materials, such as wood and leather because they are wonderfully tactile and aesthetically pleasing. Words like vinyl, leatherette and acrylic do not inspire thoughts of timeless quality. If plastic is to be used, we would like to think, at the very least, it has been recycled. Wherever possible we like the materials to be sustainably sourced. We consider boards from a range of prices and we always focus on the quality of the build and the appearance of the backgammon set. It does not need to be an expensive backgammon set to be considered deluxe.
Some points to consider are:
Wood versus Leather
Wooden boards are definitely louder and the dice bounce and roll more than they would on a softer material. Some players enjoy the ambience created by the sound of the dice, others don’t. Certainly, in tournament play, a softer, quieter material is preferred. For social play the choice is personal. Wood may also scratch leaving unsightly marks. Leather is definitely the quieter material and the dice will settle more quickly. However, the leather may be susceptible to stains and damage from accidental spills. Ideally, the playing field should be smooth enough to allow the checkers to glide between the points. In contrast, it also needs enough friction to ensure the checkers don’t move if the board is bumped.
Briefcase vs Table-top design.
Generally, the briefcase or cassette designs are more popular than the table-top. This because the briefcase design neatly and securely closes keeping the pieces safe and making the set more portable. The table-top design is more suitable for a decorative piece. The downsides are that because the set is always open there is a greater risk of losing pieces or being accidentally damaged. Table-tops sets are not portable.
Size & Weight
Boards that are too small create crowded playing conditions. 15-inches is probably the starting point for a playable, yet portable set. Tournament size boards start at around 21-inches. Choose a size that is not too crowded for play, but suits the size of your playing environment. Lightweight sets are perfect when the board needs to be portable. However, if it and playing pieces are too light, they can be jostled out of position on the board. A good weight for a 15-inch board is from 1 -3kg.
There are two choices here, mass-produced or custom made. Mass-produced does not exclude the boards being hand-made, and this is where the focus is for most of the boards on this site. When you are looking at custom made boards you are looking at the work of master craftsmen with years of experience in the field. Every build will be unique and the quality superb.
A quality backgammon set is the perfect holiday souvenir that you can enjoy for a lifetime. Please read our post on shopping for backgammon sets in The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey.
The perfect backgammon set?
You can read our Deluxe Backgammon post on the perfect backgammon set.