Games, Luxury Games

Backgammon Setup

Luxury backgammon sets made by Forwood Design


How to set up a Backgammon Board

Backgammon is a game normally played by two opponents on a board divided into four sections, or quadrants. The quadrant are marked with six alternately coloured triangles called points. The center of the board is also called the bar. Running down one side of the board are spaces for the playing pieces of the game. These spaces are where thirty backgammon counters or pieces, two matching shakers (one for each player), as well as a pair of dice for each player are stored. Finally the introduction of gambling into the game in New York in the 1920’s brought with it the invention of the doubling dice which is unique the game of backgammon. (See photo 1 below).


Discover the history of Backgammon


Four playing segments divide the backgammon board. These segments include the home board and outer board on both the black and white sides. (See photo 2 below).


Each point on the backgammon board has its designated number ranging from 1 – 12 on either side, totalling 24 points in all. These points are referred to by their numbers. For example, the 1 point or 6 points. Only the 7th point has a name, which is called the ‘bar point’ since it is next to the bar that divides the board in two. The colours of the points have no significance other than to distinguish them from one another. On our Forwood Design luxury backgammon boards, we have them in Walnut and Rosewood against a Mappa burl background.

At Forwood Design, our counters are white and black leather. Each opponent has 15 men or counters. Imagine these counters as two opposing armies. Thus the forming up of the armies battle-lines on either side of the board heralds the beginning of the game.. As you can see, one side is the mirror image of the other. The arrow also shows the direction of the play. (See photo 3 below).

A frequently asked question when setting up backgammon.

Does it matter which way round backgammon setup is done?

Theoretically, it does not matter in which way you move your men. You can also setup the backgammon layout in the opposite direction to photo 2 (see photo 4 for the alternative set-up of backgammon). However, there is no difference between the opening arrangements. Although, custom dictates that both of the player’s inner boards must be nearer to the source of light. Because it was illegal to gamble and play backgammon, nocturnal playing in badly lit rooms became the norm. Therefore this is where the origin of this custom started.

Discover Backgammon Sets

With the alternative backgammon setup, play goes around the board in the opposite direction. (See photo 5 below).

Backgammon – By Henry Forwood