Tables (board game)

Tables (board game)

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Tables is a general name given to a class of board game
Board game
A board game is a game which involves counters or pieces being moved on a pre-marked surface or "board", according to a set of rules. Games may be based on pure strategy, chance or a mixture of the two, and usually have a goal which a player aims to achieve...

s similar to backgammon
Backgammon
Backgammon is one of the oldest board games for two players. The playing pieces are moved according to the roll of dice, and players win by removing all of their pieces from the board. There are many variants of backgammon, most of which share common traits...

, played on a board with two rows of 12 vertical markings called "points". Players roll dice to determine the movement of pieces. Tables games are among the oldest known board games, and many variants are played throughout the world.

History


The ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

ians played a game called Senet
Senet
Senet is a board game from predynastic and ancient Egypt. The oldest hieroglyph representing a Senet game dates to around 3100 BC. The full name of the game in Egyptian was zn.t n.t ḥˁb meaning the "game of passing."- History :...

, which belonged to the same family of "race games" as modern tables games, with moves controlled by the roll of dice. The Royal Game of Ur
Royal Game of Ur
The Royal Game of Ur, also known as the Game of Twenty Squares, refers to two game boards found in the Royal Tombs of Ur in Iraq by Sir Leonard Woolley in the 1920s. The two boards date from the First Dynasty of Ur, before 2600 BC, thus making the Royal Game of Ur probably the oldest set of board...

, played in ancient Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

, is another member of the family. Recent excavations at the "Burnt City
Shahr-i Sokhta
Shahr-e Sūkhté , also spelled as Shahr-e Sukhteh and Shahr-i Shōkhta, is an archaeological site of a sizable Bronze Age urban settlement, associated with the Jiroft culture. It is located in Sistan and Baluchistan Province, the southeastern part of Iran, on the bank of the Helmand River, near the...

" in Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 showed that a similar game existed there around 3000 BC. The artifacts include two dice and 60 pieces. The set is believed to be 100 to 200 years older than the sets found in Ur
Ur
Ur was an important city-state in ancient Sumer located at the site of modern Tell el-Muqayyar in Iraq's Dhi Qar Governorate...

. Though they are all race games they cannot be direct ancestors of backgammon. A more likely ancestor is the gameboard found in Jiroft
Jiroft
Jiroft is a city in and the capital of Jiroft County, Kerman Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 95,031, in 19,926 families. It is located south of the city of Kerman, and south of Tehran along Road 91...

 (Iran) that offers three rows of 12 points each, exactly as the later Roman game of "duodecim scripta".
The ancient Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 played such games. Ludus duodecim scriptorum
Ludus duodecim scriptorum
Ludus duodecim scriptorum, or XII scripta, was a tables game popular during the time of the Roman Empire. The name translates as "game of twelve markings", probably referring to the three rows of 12 markings each found on most surviving boards...

("game of twelve lines" or, better, "game of twelve signs") used a board with three rows of 12 points each, and the pieces were moved across all three rows according to the roll of dice. Not much specific text about the gameplay has survived. A later variant, reduced to two rows, called Tabula
Tabula
Tabula was a board game in the tables family, and is generally thought to be the direct ancestor of modern backgammon.The earliest description of tabula is in an epigram of Byzantine Emperor Zeno , given by Agathias of Myrine , who describes a game in which Zeno goes from a strong position to a...

, meaning "table" or "board", was similar to modern backgammon in that a board with 24 points was used, and the object of the game was to be the first to bear off all of one's checkers. Three dice were used instead of two, and opposing checkers moved in opposite directions.


In the 11th century Shahnameh
Shahnameh
The Shahnameh or Shah-nama is a long epic poem written by the Persian poet Ferdowsi between c.977 and 1010 AD and is the national epic of Iran and related societies...

, the Persian poet Ferdowsi
Ferdowsi
Ferdowsi was a highly revered Persian poet. He was the author of the Shahnameh, the national epic of Iran and related societies.The Shahnameh was originally composed by Ferdowsi for the princes of the Samanid dynasty, who were responsible for a revival of Persian cultural traditions after the...

  credits Burzoe
Burzoe
Borzūya was a Persian physician in the late Sassanid era, at the time of Khosrow I.He translated the Indian Panchatantra from Sanskrit into the Middle Persian language of Pahlavi. But both his translation and the original Sanskrit version he worked from are lost...

 with the invention of nard in the 6th century. He describes an encounter between Burzoe and a Raja
Raja
Raja is an Indian term for a monarch, or princely ruler of the Kshatriya varna...

 visiting from India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. The Raja introduces the game of chess
Chess
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

, and Burzoe demonstrates nard, played with dice made from ivory
Ivory
Ivory is a term for dentine, which constitutes the bulk of the teeth and tusks of animals, when used as a material for art or manufacturing. Ivory has been important since ancient times for making a range of items, from ivory carvings to false teeth, fans, dominoes, joint tubes, piano keys and...

 and teak
Teak
Teak is the common name for the tropical hardwood tree species Tectona grandis and its wood products. Tectona grandis is native to south and southeast Asia, mainly India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Burma, but is naturalized and cultivated in many countries, including those in Africa and the...

.

The game of tables first appeared in Europe during the 11th century and became a frequent pastime for gamblers. In 1254, Louis IX
Louis IX of France
Louis IX , commonly Saint Louis, was King of France from 1226 until his death. He was also styled Louis II, Count of Artois from 1226 to 1237. Born at Poissy, near Paris, he was an eighth-generation descendant of Hugh Capet, and thus a member of the House of Capet, and the son of Louis VIII and...

 issued a decree prohibiting his court officials and subjects from playing dice games. While it is mostly known for its extensive discussion of chess, the Alfonso X manuscript Libro de los juegos
Libro de los juegos
The Libro de los Juegos, , or Libro de acedrex, dados e tablas, was commissioned by Alfonso X of Castile, Galicia and León and completed in his scriptorium in Toledo in 1283, is an exemplary piece of Alfonso’s medieval literary legacy.Consisting of ninety-seven leaves of parchment, many with color...

, completed in 1283, describes rules for a number of dice and tables games.

In English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, the word "tables" is derived from Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 tabula. Its first use referring to board games documented by the Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary , published by the Oxford University Press, is the self-styled premier dictionary of the English language. Two fully bound print editions of the OED have been published under its current name, in 1928 and 1989. The first edition was published in twelve volumes , and...

 was circa AD 700. During the 16th century, the name tables was sometimes also used to describe chess
Chess
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

. Tables should not be confused with Tafl
Tafl games
Tafl games were a family of ancient Germanic and Celtic board games played on a checkered or latticed board with two teams of uneven strength. The size of the board and the number of pieces varied, but all games involved a distinctive 2:1 ratio of pieces, with the lesser side having a king-piece...

, an unrelated class of board games (albeit linguistically related) played in medieval Scandinavia.

In the Middle East and Central Asia


The game known in the West as backgammon
Backgammon
Backgammon is one of the oldest board games for two players. The playing pieces are moved according to the roll of dice, and players win by removing all of their pieces from the board. There are many variants of backgammon, most of which share common traits...

 is played widely in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 and Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

. It is known as ifranjiah in Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 (meaning "Frankish
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

"), and is referred to as takhte nard in Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

. In Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 and the Middle East as well, it is known as shesh besh ("shesh" being the Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 word for "six", and "besh" the Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

 word for "five").

The name nardshir comes from the Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 nard (Wooden block) and shir (lion) referring to the two type of pieces used in play. A common legend associates the game with the founder of the Sassanian dynasty, Ardashir I
Ardashir I
Ardashir I was the founder of the Sassanid Empire, was ruler of Istakhr , subsequently Fars Province , and finally "King of Kings of Sassanid Empire " with the overthrow of the Parthian Empire...

. The oldest known reference to the game is thought to be a passage in the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

, although some claim it refers to the Greek
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 game Kubeia (playing at dice, cheating, or an unknown dice game).

Many of the early Arabic texts which refer to the game comment on the debate regarding the legality and morality of playing the game. This debate was settled by the eighth century when all four Muslim
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 schools of jurispudence declared the game to be Haraam
Haraam
Haraam is an Arabic term meaning "forbidden", or "sacred". In Islam it is used to refer to anything that is prohibited by the word of Allah in the Qur'an or the Hadith Qudsi. Haraam is the highest status of prohibition given to anything that would result in sin when a Muslim commits it...

 (forbidden), however this did nothing to stop the growth in popularity of the game in the Muslim world and the game is still played today in many Arab countries.

Mahbusa


Mahbusa means "imprisoned". Each player begins with 15 checkers on his opponent's 24-point. If a checker is hit, it is not placed on the bar, but instead, the hitting piece is placed on top, and the point is then controlled by the hitting player. The checker which has been hit is imprisoned and cannot be moved until the opponent removes his piece. Sometimes, a rule is used that requires a player to bring his first checker around to his home board before moving any others. In any case, a rapid advance to one's own home board is desirable, as imprisoning the opponent's checkers there is highly advantageous. Mahbusa is similar to tapa
Tapa (game)
Tapa is a version of Backgammon played in Bulgaria and Macedonia. It is also played in Greece, where it is known as Plakoto. The word tapa means bottle cap....

.
Tables is a general name given to a class of board game
Board game
A board game is a game which involves counters or pieces being moved on a pre-marked surface or "board", according to a set of rules. Games may be based on pure strategy, chance or a mixture of the two, and usually have a goal which a player aims to achieve...

s similar to backgammon
Backgammon
Backgammon is one of the oldest board games for two players. The playing pieces are moved according to the roll of dice, and players win by removing all of their pieces from the board. There are many variants of backgammon, most of which share common traits...

, played on a board with two rows of 12 vertical markings called "points". Players roll dice to determine the movement of pieces. Tables games are among the oldest known board games, and many variants are played throughout the world.

History


The ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

ians played a game called Senet
Senet
Senet is a board game from predynastic and ancient Egypt. The oldest hieroglyph representing a Senet game dates to around 3100 BC. The full name of the game in Egyptian was zn.t n.t ḥˁb meaning the "game of passing."- History :...

, which belonged to the same family of "race games" as modern tables games, with moves controlled by the roll of dice. The Royal Game of Ur
Royal Game of Ur
The Royal Game of Ur, also known as the Game of Twenty Squares, refers to two game boards found in the Royal Tombs of Ur in Iraq by Sir Leonard Woolley in the 1920s. The two boards date from the First Dynasty of Ur, before 2600 BC, thus making the Royal Game of Ur probably the oldest set of board...

, played in ancient Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

, is another member of the family. Recent excavations at the "Burnt City
Shahr-i Sokhta
Shahr-e Sūkhté , also spelled as Shahr-e Sukhteh and Shahr-i Shōkhta, is an archaeological site of a sizable Bronze Age urban settlement, associated with the Jiroft culture. It is located in Sistan and Baluchistan Province, the southeastern part of Iran, on the bank of the Helmand River, near the...

" in Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 showed that a similar game existed there around 3000 BC. The artifacts include two dice and 60 pieces. The set is believed to be 100 to 200 years older than the sets found in Ur
Ur
Ur was an important city-state in ancient Sumer located at the site of modern Tell el-Muqayyar in Iraq's Dhi Qar Governorate...

. Though they are all race games they cannot be direct ancestors of backgammon. A more likely ancestor is the gameboard found in Jiroft
Jiroft
Jiroft is a city in and the capital of Jiroft County, Kerman Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 95,031, in 19,926 families. It is located south of the city of Kerman, and south of Tehran along Road 91...

 (Iran) that offers three rows of 12 points each, exactly as the later Roman game of "duodecim scripta".
The ancient Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 played such games. Ludus duodecim scriptorum
Ludus duodecim scriptorum
Ludus duodecim scriptorum, or XII scripta, was a tables game popular during the time of the Roman Empire. The name translates as "game of twelve markings", probably referring to the three rows of 12 markings each found on most surviving boards...

("game of twelve lines" or, better, "game of twelve signs") used a board with three rows of 12 points each, and the pieces were moved across all three rows according to the roll of dice. Not much specific text about the gameplay has survived. A later variant, reduced to two rows, called Tabula
Tabula
Tabula was a board game in the tables family, and is generally thought to be the direct ancestor of modern backgammon.The earliest description of tabula is in an epigram of Byzantine Emperor Zeno , given by Agathias of Myrine , who describes a game in which Zeno goes from a strong position to a...

, meaning "table" or "board", was similar to modern backgammon in that a board with 24 points was used, and the object of the game was to be the first to bear off all of one's checkers. Three dice were used instead of two, and opposing checkers moved in opposite directions.


In the 11th century Shahnameh
Shahnameh
The Shahnameh or Shah-nama is a long epic poem written by the Persian poet Ferdowsi between c.977 and 1010 AD and is the national epic of Iran and related societies...

, the Persian poet Ferdowsi
Ferdowsi
Ferdowsi was a highly revered Persian poet. He was the author of the Shahnameh, the national epic of Iran and related societies.The Shahnameh was originally composed by Ferdowsi for the princes of the Samanid dynasty, who were responsible for a revival of Persian cultural traditions after the...

  credits Burzoe
Burzoe
Borzūya was a Persian physician in the late Sassanid era, at the time of Khosrow I.He translated the Indian Panchatantra from Sanskrit into the Middle Persian language of Pahlavi. But both his translation and the original Sanskrit version he worked from are lost...

 with the invention of nard in the 6th century. He describes an encounter between Burzoe and a Raja
Raja
Raja is an Indian term for a monarch, or princely ruler of the Kshatriya varna...

 visiting from India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. The Raja introduces the game of chess
Chess
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

, and Burzoe demonstrates nard, played with dice made from ivory
Ivory
Ivory is a term for dentine, which constitutes the bulk of the teeth and tusks of animals, when used as a material for art or manufacturing. Ivory has been important since ancient times for making a range of items, from ivory carvings to false teeth, fans, dominoes, joint tubes, piano keys and...

 and teak
Teak
Teak is the common name for the tropical hardwood tree species Tectona grandis and its wood products. Tectona grandis is native to south and southeast Asia, mainly India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Burma, but is naturalized and cultivated in many countries, including those in Africa and the...

.

The game of tables first appeared in Europe during the 11th century and became a frequent pastime for gamblers. In 1254, Louis IX
Louis IX of France
Louis IX , commonly Saint Louis, was King of France from 1226 until his death. He was also styled Louis II, Count of Artois from 1226 to 1237. Born at Poissy, near Paris, he was an eighth-generation descendant of Hugh Capet, and thus a member of the House of Capet, and the son of Louis VIII and...

 issued a decree prohibiting his court officials and subjects from playing dice games. While it is mostly known for its extensive discussion of chess, the Alfonso X manuscript Libro de los juegos
Libro de los juegos
The Libro de los Juegos, , or Libro de acedrex, dados e tablas, was commissioned by Alfonso X of Castile, Galicia and León and completed in his scriptorium in Toledo in 1283, is an exemplary piece of Alfonso’s medieval literary legacy.Consisting of ninety-seven leaves of parchment, many with color...

, completed in 1283, describes rules for a number of dice and tables games.

In English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, the word "tables" is derived from Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 tabula. Its first use referring to board games documented by the Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary , published by the Oxford University Press, is the self-styled premier dictionary of the English language. Two fully bound print editions of the OED have been published under its current name, in 1928 and 1989. The first edition was published in twelve volumes , and...

 was circa AD 700. During the 16th century, the name tables was sometimes also used to describe chess
Chess
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

. Tables should not be confused with Tafl
Tafl games
Tafl games were a family of ancient Germanic and Celtic board games played on a checkered or latticed board with two teams of uneven strength. The size of the board and the number of pieces varied, but all games involved a distinctive 2:1 ratio of pieces, with the lesser side having a king-piece...

, an unrelated class of board games (albeit linguistically related) played in medieval Scandinavia.

In the Middle East and Central Asia


The game known in the West as backgammon
Backgammon
Backgammon is one of the oldest board games for two players. The playing pieces are moved according to the roll of dice, and players win by removing all of their pieces from the board. There are many variants of backgammon, most of which share common traits...

 is played widely in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 and Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

. It is known as ifranjiah in Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 (meaning "Frankish
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

"), and is referred to as takhte nard in Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

. In Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 and the Middle East as well, it is known as shesh besh ("shesh" being the Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 word for "six", and "besh" the Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

 word for "five").

The name nardshir comes from the Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 nard (Wooden block) and shir (lion) referring to the two type of pieces used in play. A common legend associates the game with the founder of the Sassanian dynasty, Ardashir I
Ardashir I
Ardashir I was the founder of the Sassanid Empire, was ruler of Istakhr , subsequently Fars Province , and finally "King of Kings of Sassanid Empire " with the overthrow of the Parthian Empire...

. The oldest known reference to the game is thought to be a passage in the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

, although some claim it refers to the Greek
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 game Kubeia (playing at dice, cheating, or an unknown dice game).

Many of the early Arabic texts which refer to the game comment on the debate regarding the legality and morality of playing the game. This debate was settled by the eighth century when all four Muslim
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 schools of jurispudence declared the game to be Haraam
Haraam
Haraam is an Arabic term meaning "forbidden", or "sacred". In Islam it is used to refer to anything that is prohibited by the word of Allah in the Qur'an or the Hadith Qudsi. Haraam is the highest status of prohibition given to anything that would result in sin when a Muslim commits it...

 (forbidden), however this did nothing to stop the growth in popularity of the game in the Muslim world and the game is still played today in many Arab countries.

Mahbusa


Mahbusa means "imprisoned". Each player begins with 15 checkers on his opponent's 24-point. If a checker is hit, it is not placed on the bar, but instead, the hitting piece is placed on top, and the point is then controlled by the hitting player. The checker which has been hit is imprisoned and cannot be moved until the opponent removes his piece. Sometimes, a rule is used that requires a player to bring his first checker around to his home board before moving any others. In any case, a rapid advance to one's own home board is desirable, as imprisoning the opponent's checkers there is highly advantageous. Mahbusa is similar to tapa
Tapa (game)
Tapa is a version of Backgammon played in Bulgaria and Macedonia. It is also played in Greece, where it is known as Plakoto. The word tapa means bottle cap....

.
Tables is a general name given to a class of board game
Board game
A board game is a game which involves counters or pieces being moved on a pre-marked surface or "board", according to a set of rules. Games may be based on pure strategy, chance or a mixture of the two, and usually have a goal which a player aims to achieve...

s similar to backgammon
Backgammon
Backgammon is one of the oldest board games for two players. The playing pieces are moved according to the roll of dice, and players win by removing all of their pieces from the board. There are many variants of backgammon, most of which share common traits...

, played on a board with two rows of 12 vertical markings called "points". Players roll dice to determine the movement of pieces. Tables games are among the oldest known board games, and many variants are played throughout the world.

History


The ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

ians played a game called Senet
Senet
Senet is a board game from predynastic and ancient Egypt. The oldest hieroglyph representing a Senet game dates to around 3100 BC. The full name of the game in Egyptian was zn.t n.t ḥˁb meaning the "game of passing."- History :...

, which belonged to the same family of "race games" as modern tables games, with moves controlled by the roll of dice. The Royal Game of Ur
Royal Game of Ur
The Royal Game of Ur, also known as the Game of Twenty Squares, refers to two game boards found in the Royal Tombs of Ur in Iraq by Sir Leonard Woolley in the 1920s. The two boards date from the First Dynasty of Ur, before 2600 BC, thus making the Royal Game of Ur probably the oldest set of board...

, played in ancient Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

, is another member of the family. Recent excavations at the "Burnt City
Shahr-i Sokhta
Shahr-e Sūkhté , also spelled as Shahr-e Sukhteh and Shahr-i Shōkhta, is an archaeological site of a sizable Bronze Age urban settlement, associated with the Jiroft culture. It is located in Sistan and Baluchistan Province, the southeastern part of Iran, on the bank of the Helmand River, near the...

" in Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 showed that a similar game existed there around 3000 BC. The artifacts include two dice and 60 pieces. The set is believed to be 100 to 200 years older than the sets found in Ur
Ur
Ur was an important city-state in ancient Sumer located at the site of modern Tell el-Muqayyar in Iraq's Dhi Qar Governorate...

. Though they are all race games they cannot be direct ancestors of backgammon. A more likely ancestor is the gameboard found in Jiroft
Jiroft
Jiroft is a city in and the capital of Jiroft County, Kerman Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 95,031, in 19,926 families. It is located south of the city of Kerman, and south of Tehran along Road 91...

 (Iran) that offers three rows of 12 points each, exactly as the later Roman game of "duodecim scripta".
The ancient Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 played such games. Ludus duodecim scriptorum
Ludus duodecim scriptorum
Ludus duodecim scriptorum, or XII scripta, was a tables game popular during the time of the Roman Empire. The name translates as "game of twelve markings", probably referring to the three rows of 12 markings each found on most surviving boards...

("game of twelve lines" or, better, "game of twelve signs") used a board with three rows of 12 points each, and the pieces were moved across all three rows according to the roll of dice. Not much specific text about the gameplay has survived. A later variant, reduced to two rows, called Tabula
Tabula
Tabula was a board game in the tables family, and is generally thought to be the direct ancestor of modern backgammon.The earliest description of tabula is in an epigram of Byzantine Emperor Zeno , given by Agathias of Myrine , who describes a game in which Zeno goes from a strong position to a...

, meaning "table" or "board", was similar to modern backgammon in that a board with 24 points was used, and the object of the game was to be the first to bear off all of one's checkers. Three dice were used instead of two, and opposing checkers moved in opposite directions.


In the 11th century Shahnameh
Shahnameh
The Shahnameh or Shah-nama is a long epic poem written by the Persian poet Ferdowsi between c.977 and 1010 AD and is the national epic of Iran and related societies...

, the Persian poet Ferdowsi
Ferdowsi
Ferdowsi was a highly revered Persian poet. He was the author of the Shahnameh, the national epic of Iran and related societies.The Shahnameh was originally composed by Ferdowsi for the princes of the Samanid dynasty, who were responsible for a revival of Persian cultural traditions after the...

  credits Burzoe
Burzoe
Borzūya was a Persian physician in the late Sassanid era, at the time of Khosrow I.He translated the Indian Panchatantra from Sanskrit into the Middle Persian language of Pahlavi. But both his translation and the original Sanskrit version he worked from are lost...

 with the invention of nard in the 6th century. He describes an encounter between Burzoe and a Raja
Raja
Raja is an Indian term for a monarch, or princely ruler of the Kshatriya varna...

 visiting from India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. The Raja introduces the game of chess
Chess
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

, and Burzoe demonstrates nard, played with dice made from ivory
Ivory
Ivory is a term for dentine, which constitutes the bulk of the teeth and tusks of animals, when used as a material for art or manufacturing. Ivory has been important since ancient times for making a range of items, from ivory carvings to false teeth, fans, dominoes, joint tubes, piano keys and...

 and teak
Teak
Teak is the common name for the tropical hardwood tree species Tectona grandis and its wood products. Tectona grandis is native to south and southeast Asia, mainly India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Burma, but is naturalized and cultivated in many countries, including those in Africa and the...

.

The game of tables first appeared in Europe during the 11th century and became a frequent pastime for gamblers. In 1254, Louis IX
Louis IX of France
Louis IX , commonly Saint Louis, was King of France from 1226 until his death. He was also styled Louis II, Count of Artois from 1226 to 1237. Born at Poissy, near Paris, he was an eighth-generation descendant of Hugh Capet, and thus a member of the House of Capet, and the son of Louis VIII and...

 issued a decree prohibiting his court officials and subjects from playing dice games. While it is mostly known for its extensive discussion of chess, the Alfonso X manuscript Libro de los juegos
Libro de los juegos
The Libro de los Juegos, , or Libro de acedrex, dados e tablas, was commissioned by Alfonso X of Castile, Galicia and León and completed in his scriptorium in Toledo in 1283, is an exemplary piece of Alfonso’s medieval literary legacy.Consisting of ninety-seven leaves of parchment, many with color...

, completed in 1283, describes rules for a number of dice and tables games.

In English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, the word "tables" is derived from Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 tabula. Its first use referring to board games documented by the Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary , published by the Oxford University Press, is the self-styled premier dictionary of the English language. Two fully bound print editions of the OED have been published under its current name, in 1928 and 1989. The first edition was published in twelve volumes , and...

 was circa AD 700. During the 16th century, the name tables was sometimes also used to describe chess
Chess
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

. Tables should not be confused with Tafl
Tafl games
Tafl games were a family of ancient Germanic and Celtic board games played on a checkered or latticed board with two teams of uneven strength. The size of the board and the number of pieces varied, but all games involved a distinctive 2:1 ratio of pieces, with the lesser side having a king-piece...

, an unrelated class of board games (albeit linguistically related) played in medieval Scandinavia.

In the Middle East and Central Asia


The game known in the West as backgammon
Backgammon
Backgammon is one of the oldest board games for two players. The playing pieces are moved according to the roll of dice, and players win by removing all of their pieces from the board. There are many variants of backgammon, most of which share common traits...

 is played widely in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 and Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

. It is known as ifranjiah in Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 (meaning "Frankish
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

"), and is referred to as takhte nard in Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

. In Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 and the Middle East as well, it is known as shesh besh ("shesh" being the Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 word for "six", and "besh" the Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

 word for "five").

The name nardshir comes from the Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 nard (Wooden block) and shir (lion) referring to the two type of pieces used in play. A common legend associates the game with the founder of the Sassanian dynasty, Ardashir I
Ardashir I
Ardashir I was the founder of the Sassanid Empire, was ruler of Istakhr , subsequently Fars Province , and finally "King of Kings of Sassanid Empire " with the overthrow of the Parthian Empire...

. The oldest known reference to the game is thought to be a passage in the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

, although some claim it refers to the Greek
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 game Kubeia (playing at dice, cheating, or an unknown dice game).

Many of the early Arabic texts which refer to the game comment on the debate regarding the legality and morality of playing the game. This debate was settled by the eighth century when all four Muslim
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 schools of jurispudence declared the game to be Haraam
Haraam
Haraam is an Arabic term meaning "forbidden", or "sacred". In Islam it is used to refer to anything that is prohibited by the word of Allah in the Qur'an or the Hadith Qudsi. Haraam is the highest status of prohibition given to anything that would result in sin when a Muslim commits it...

 (forbidden), however this did nothing to stop the growth in popularity of the game in the Muslim world and the game is still played today in many Arab countries.

Mahbusa


Mahbusa means "imprisoned". Each player begins with 15 checkers on his opponent's 24-point. If a checker is hit, it is not placed on the bar, but instead, the hitting piece is placed on top, and the point is then controlled by the hitting player. The checker which has been hit is imprisoned and cannot be moved until the opponent removes his piece. Sometimes, a rule is used that requires a player to bring his first checker around to his home board before moving any others. In any case, a rapid advance to one's own home board is desirable, as imprisoning the opponent's checkers there is highly advantageous. Mahbusa is similar to tapa
Tapa (game)
Tapa is a version of Backgammon played in Bulgaria and Macedonia. It is also played in Greece, where it is known as Plakoto. The word tapa means bottle cap....

.


An interesting feature of tables play in some Arab countries is that Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 or Kurdish
Kurdish language
Kurdish is a dialect continuum spoken by the Kurds in western Asia. It is part of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian group of Indo-European languages....

 numbers, rather than Arabic ones, are called out by a player announcing his dice
Dice
A die is a small throwable object with multiple resting positions, used for generating random numbers...

 rolls.

Narde


people in the Iranian plateau
Iranian plateau
The Iranian plateau, or Iranic plateau, is a geological formation in Southwest Asia. It is the part of the Eurasian Plate wedged between the Arabian and Indian plates, situated between the Zagros mountains to the west, the Caspian Sea and the Kopet Dag to the north, the Hormuz Strait and Persian...

 and Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

 region, especially in Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

, Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

, Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

, Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

 and Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, are very fond of playing narde. All 15 of a player's checkers are initially positioned on his own 24-point, but there is a major difference. One is forbidden to put his checker at a point occupied by one's opponent's checker, so there is no hitting or imprisonment in the long narde game. The main strategy is to secure playing "big pairs" by one's own checkers and prevent as much as possible doing the same by the opponent.

The game is known as 'Fevga' in Greece, 'Moultezim' in Turkey, Mahbusa in the Middle East and 'Ifranjiah' or Frankish in Arabia. It can also be spelt as 'Nard' or 'Nardi'.

A version known as short narde is a simplified form of Ifranjiah. In Georgia, ifranjiah is played as elsewhere, but called "nardi". In Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia many experienced players also play long narde, which some see as requiring deeper strategy.

Gul bara



Gul bara, sometimes referred to as "rosespring backgammon" or "crazy narde", is a variant popular in some Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 countries. An unusual feature is that there is no hitting.

In Greece


In Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

, tables games are called tavli (related to the word tavla, meaning "board" or "table", and cognate
Cognate
In linguistics, cognates are words that have a common etymological origin. This learned term derives from the Latin cognatus . Cognates within the same language are called doublets. Strictly speaking, loanwords from another language are usually not meant by the term, e.g...

 to the Latin tabula). There are three major variants, portes, plakoto, and fevga. Portes resembles backgammon
Backgammon
Backgammon is one of the oldest board games for two players. The playing pieces are moved according to the roll of dice, and players win by removing all of their pieces from the board. There are many variants of backgammon, most of which share common traits...

, with minor variations: there is no doubling cube, and a backgammon counts only as a gammon (called diplo, Greek for double). Plakoto
Plakoto
Plakoto is a tables game popular in Greece. The object of Plakoto is for the player to bring all their checkers around to their own home board and then bear them off. The player who bears off all of his checkers first wins the game. This game is usually played along with two other variants, Fevga...

 is very similar to mahbusa or tapa
Tapa (game)
Tapa is a version of Backgammon played in Bulgaria and Macedonia. It is also played in Greece, where it is known as Plakoto. The word tapa means bottle cap....

, while fevga is similar to narde or the Turkish variant moultezim. The three are normally played consecutively, in three-, five- or seven-point matches.

In Japan



There are two games known as sugoroku
Sugoroku
refers to two different forms of Japanese board game, one similar to western backgammon and the other similar to western Snakes and ladders.Sugoroku plays identically to backgammon , except for the following differences:...

(双六) in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

. One more closely resembles snakes and ladders
Snakes and ladders
Snakes and Ladders is an ancient Indian board game regarded today as a worldwide classic. It is played between two or more players on a game board having numbered, gridded squares. A number of "ladders" and "snakes" are pictured on the board, each connecting two specific board squares...

, while the other is played on a 24-point tables board, using standard tables equipment. The starting position is identical to that of backgammon
Backgammon
Backgammon is one of the oldest board games for two players. The playing pieces are moved according to the roll of dice, and players win by removing all of their pieces from the board. There are many variants of backgammon, most of which share common traits...

. It differs from most other tables variants in that the pieces are never borne off. Additionally, the use of primes is not permitted.

In Romania


In Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

, one popular tables game is called tablă (meaning "board", cognate of the Latin tabula). The game is very popular among Romanians and is similar to backgammon
Backgammon
Backgammon is one of the oldest board games for two players. The playing pieces are moved according to the roll of dice, and players win by removing all of their pieces from the board. There are many variants of backgammon, most of which share common traits...

, with two variations: there is no doubling cube and a backgammon counts only as a gammon (called marţ). Matches are usually played to three points.

In Sweden



Bräde or svenskt brädspel ("Swedish tables") is a variant played in Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

. Players starts with all 15 of their checkers on opposite corners of the board, and play around clockwise. Besides bearing off, there are several other ways to win, such as arranging all of one's checkers in certain pre-determined patterns, or by hitting so many checkers that one's opponent can not bring them in again. Additional points are awarded for a victory while one's opponent has checkers on the bar. Brädspel is played without the doubling cube. Interest in brädspel experienced a resurgence following the recovery of a 17th century board from the wreck of the Vasa
Regalskeppet Vasa
Vasa is a Swedish warship that was built from 1626 to 1628. The ship foundered and sank after sailing less than a nautical mile into its maiden voyage on 10 August 1628. It fell into obscurity after most of its valuable bronze cannons were salvaged in the 17th century...

.

In Turkey


Tavla is a very popular tables game in Turkey. It is very similar to backgammon
Backgammon
Backgammon is one of the oldest board games for two players. The playing pieces are moved according to the roll of dice, and players win by removing all of their pieces from the board. There are many variants of backgammon, most of which share common traits...

. The major difference is in tavla the doubling cube is not used. Also in tavla both gammons and backgammons are counted as two points called mars and the players are not allowed to hit and run in their home boards as in backgammon. Matches are usually played to five points.
There are many variants of tavla in Turkey where the course of play changes drastically. The usual tavla is also known as erkek tavlası meaning boys or mens tavla. The other variant kız tavlası (meaning girls tavla) is a game which depends only on the dice and doesn't involve any strategy. There is another variant called asker tavlası (meaning soldiers tavla) where the pieces are thrown to the board randomly and the opponents try to flip their pieces over the opponents pieces to beat them. The player without any pieces left loses the game. This variant doesn't involve dice at all and the play depends more on the hand eye coordination then tactical decision making. Üniversite tavlası (university tavla) is a variant of the game played with two or more tavlas and four or more players where the players form groups. The dice is only thrown by a two opposing players and the rest must play the same dice. If a team members gets beaten and cannot enter his team mates cannot play for that round. Although the dices are the same the game on every board differs interestingly, where the case of one team member winning and the other one losing is very common. This variant is considered much harder because the player must take more than one play into account while only capable of making decisions in his board.

Hapis (Turkish: prison) is another tables game played in Turkey. It is less popular than tavla. It is very similar to Mahbusa played in the Middle East.

Backgammon and variants




Backgammon is the most popular tables variant played in the West. Two players move their pieces in opposing directions, according to the rolls of dice. The use of a doubling cube allows players to increase the stakes of the game. The basis of the modern game can be traced to Medieval and Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 sources, and social and competitive play remain popular in many parts of the world. Backgammon has been studied considerably by computer scientists
Computer science
Computer science or computing science is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and of practical techniques for their implementation and application in computer systems...

, who have developed software that plays at the level of top human players.

Tric-trac is a French
French people
The French are a nation that share a common French culture and speak the French language as a mother tongue. Historically, the French population are descended from peoples of Celtic, Latin and Germanic origin, and are today a mixture of several ethnic groups...

 variant of Backgammon. There are two main forms of the game, le Grand Tric-trac and le Petite Tric-trac. In Tric-trac, the starting point is called a talon, the points, or fleches, are numbered to 12 on both sides of the board, with the 12th point on either side called the coin de repos, or, simply, coin. The 11th point (on either side) is often called le case d'écolier, or 'schoolboy's point' (case meaning 'square', literally) after the tendency of inexperienced players to rush to this point too soon in the game. Statistically, the most difficult points in the game to reach aside from the coins are the 8th points, and they are named les fleches de diable, or 'the Devil's
Satan
Satan , "the opposer", is the title of various entities, both human and divine, who challenge the faith of humans in the Hebrew Bible...

 points', for this reason. The home boards are referred to as the jan de retour by either player. Doubles are treated as two identical numbers, unlike backgammon proper.

Historic tables variants



Many of the ancestors of modern tables games are no longer widely played.
  • Irish, popular 16th and 17th century British game; directly ancestral to Backgammon.
  • Games described in the 13th century Libro de los juegos
    Libro de los juegos
    The Libro de los Juegos, , or Libro de acedrex, dados e tablas, was commissioned by Alfonso X of Castile, Galicia and León and completed in his scriptorium in Toledo in 1283, is an exemplary piece of Alfonso’s medieval literary legacy.Consisting of ninety-seven leaves of parchment, many with color...

    :
    • Doublets
    • El Mundo
    • Imperator
    • Seven-sided backgammon
    • Six, Deuce, and Ace
  • Tabula
    Tabula
    Tabula was a board game in the tables family, and is generally thought to be the direct ancestor of modern backgammon.The earliest description of tabula is in an epigram of Byzantine Emperor Zeno , given by Agathias of Myrine , who describes a game in which Zeno goes from a strong position to a...

    , 5th century Roman game.
  • Ludus duodecim scriptorum
    Ludus duodecim scriptorum
    Ludus duodecim scriptorum, or XII scripta, was a tables game popular during the time of the Roman Empire. The name translates as "game of twelve markings", probably referring to the three rows of 12 markings each found on most surviving boards...

    , 1st century Roman game.


External links