Many excellent backgammon books have
been written in recent years, far too many to list all of them here.
Unfortunately, they cannot be found on the shelves of Australian
book stores. There are, however, a number of online backgammon stores
and searching eBay and amazon.com can be quite fruitful. But what
to buy ? Here's a rough guide. All these books are reviewed at gammoned.com
and can be purchased there or from other stores such as my favourite,
Carol Joy Cole's Backgammon
a la Carte. Carol will ship to Australia or I will take orders
and bundle them together to save postage - email me here
if you're interested.
Beginners - Originally published
in 1976, it's hard to go past Paul Magriel's seminal work "Backgammon".
Hardback copies can sometimes be found in secondhand bookstores
but it has recently been republished in soft cover. A more modern
and shorter tome is Paul Lamford's "Starting Out in Backgammon".
Bill Robertie's "501 Essential Backgammon Problems" is
one of the best books to build on Magriel's foundations and take
you on to...
Intermediates - There didn't
used to be much choice beyond Bill Robertie's early classic "Advanced
Backgammon (Vols 1 & 2)"; recently we've been fortunate
to have books like "New Ideas in Backgammon" by Kit Woolsey
and Hal Heinrich, and Norm Wiggins' "Boards, Blots and Double
Shots" amongst many others.
Advanced - For a fascinating
mix of mathematics and psychology, Danny Kleinman's books are a
must - "Vision Laughs at Counting", "Advice to the
Dicelorn", "Meanwhile back at the Chouette", "Is
there life after Backgammon ?", "How do I keep from Dancing
?" to name a few. The titles are enough to get you in. Bill
Robertie has a new, must-have book called "Modern Backgammon",
available only from him at Gammon
Press. Ortega and Kleinman have collaborated on some great books
- "Jerry Grendell - his Most Important Matches" and "Backgammon
with the Giants - Neil Kazzaros" and if that's not enough,
grab Jeremy Bagai's "Classic Backgammon Revisited" where
classics such as "Backgammon", "Backgammon for Profit",
"The Backgammon Book", "Paradoxes and Probabilities"
and "Advanced Backgammon" are all analyzed with the aid
of modern computer software and, more importantly, clear explanations.
The latest "must have" is Paul Weaver and Nack Ballard's "Backgammon Openings", the first in a series of books covering early game play. Five years in the making, the book has received tremendous acclaim and can now be ordered direct from the authors for US$53 (via PayPal) including shipping. And it has a hard cover :-)
For more information and to order, click on the book.
Boards and equipment
The most common inquiry to this web
site is "Where can I buy a backgammon board ?". Most large
toy stores, some of the larger book stores and many specialist gaming
shops carry a variety of backgammon boards but they are not cheap,
nor are they very good quality. Backgammon boards are a rather personal
thing, so if you're in the market for a new board, do plenty of
research. A good way to start is to visit your local club and see
what kind of boards are in use there.
If you are looking for a traditional wooden board, there is an Australian manufacturer called Supreme Backgammon based in Melbourne. Contact Ray Mahfoud via his website.
You can also purchase boards online locally from:
We provide low cost air-mail shipping to Australia, and free shipping of software and precision dice.
Backgammon Shop probably has the world's widest selection of backgammon equipment, with over 500 items, and definitely the largest selection of backgammon books with over 80 titles in stock - both new and out-of-print.
Backgammon Shop is the "one-stop shop", where you will get competitive prices, save on shipping, and find pictures and descriptions of everything from boards to checkers, and cups to scoreboards. Credit card payments are accepted via PayPal.
Backgammon Shop UK
Backgammon and other game servers have
existed on the internet for about 15 years now. At last count there
were approximately 30 known backgammon servers in operation around
the world. For obvious reasons, we recommend our sponsors and supporters....
other internet resources
Apart from places to play backgammon,
there are places to discuss backgammon, learn backgammon, catch
up on news and just about everything and anything to do with backgammon.
Again, there are too many places to list, so here are a few pointers
to get you started.
Online magazines - Kit Woolsey's
is well worth the one-time US$36 subscription. GammonVillage is another popular subscription site.
Newsgroup - rec.games.backgammon
is the place where all things backgammon are discussed. The conversations
are often lively and informative. Check with your ISP for access to newsgroups, or use Google groups.
Websites - hundreds to choose
from. Use your favourite search engine (mine is Google)
to help you find things. Tom Keith's Backgammon Galore!
is one of the better free sites if you need somewhere to start.
At Checkerplay.com you find hundreds of backgammon positions and problems. Positions can also be solved in a quiz mode. Everyone can add analysed positions (only eXtremegammon Software is supported at the moment) and comments to the site. Adding a position is very simple and takes less than a minute.
Positions are stored in a database and related positions are automatically grouped together, further the database searches also for positions that arise after the analysed moves. Links to these positions are visible at the left side, especially useful in the opening. E. g. http://www.checkerplay.com/position/3
Computer Software - there are
now three programs of note in the backgammon world. The first serious
commercial software that could play at master level was JellyFish,
more information here.
Then came Snowie,
similar engine, nicer interface. The latest, and definitely the
cheapest (as it's completely free!) neural net backgammon software
a Free Software Foundation project. This is still a little rough
around the edges but a must for players who wish to perform serious
analysis of matches, games or positions.
eXtreme Gammon is emerging as the tool of choice for backgammon analyzers. Neil Kazaross: "...No bot currently comes close to achieving the playing strength vs. speed ratio that XG does. This is extremely important for me, since it allows me to more efficiently use my study time as I can get match analyses and rollouts done quicker and at high levels of strength. This means that XG is a must have tool for any serious BG student...."
eXtreme Gammon costs US$49.95. More details here.
Recently updated, is Frank Berger's BG Blitz - it's the "Swiss army
knife" of backgammon, with the ability to not only play a very
strong game, but to convert match files in many different formats.
The software is fully supported and costs just US$23 for the player
version or US$46 for the Pro version - excellent value. Click on the image for more details: