Wood, Cork, Leather, and Fabric: Backgammon playing fields in a nutshell.

Posted on Oct 28 2009 by Zontik Games in Backgammon
Crisloid Red Tabletop Cork Backgammon Set

Crisloid Red Tabletop Cork Backgammon Set

When deciding on a backgammon set, make sure you choose a surface that makes sense. There are a whole slew of surfaces out there, here are examples of a few that we carry in the Zontik Games shop:

If you’re just getting your feet wet in the backgammon scene and you’re not yet ready to commit to a major purchase but still want to have an “industry standard” set, the Crisloid cork backgammon sets are perfect for tournament or chouette play.  The larger sets have greater “presence”, but they are more awkward to carry.  The smaller sets fit a greater array of tables, and are more “user-friendly” for younger players.

Until we had started carrying high quality leather and billiard cloth sets, cork was our favorite playing surface. Of all the cork boards out there, Crisloid produces the highest quality. Contrary to what you might think, cork backgammon sets are actually less prone to extreme bounces from the dice than leather surfaces (in this sense, billiard cloth is the best surface). Additionally, the points are screened on rather than sewn or appliquéd on, which means that the backgammon checkers slide smoothly over the surface.

Generally, billiard and cloth surfaces are much more preferable to wood and cork because they’re much quieter. However, backgammon sets with a wooden playing surface (like Neroulia for example) are very popular in the Middle-East and adjoining Mediterranean countries (in particular Greece, Turkey, Israel and Egypt). In the United States, we’ve heard several players remark on the pleasant “clicking” sound made when the checkers meet the wooden frame during a move.

Of all the surfaces, we prefer billiard cloth, it’s extremely quiet and the checkers slide very easily. Our Geoffrey Parker billiard cloth sets are made of a fine woven 100% wool in Yorkshire mills in the north of England. Amazingly, to design his sets, Geoffrey Parker collaborated with some of the world’s best tournament backgammon players. His boards are as close to perfect as you can get.

5 Responses leave one →
  1. 2009 October 28
    Alex Platt permalink

    Good post. Definitely agree about the high quality of Geoffrey Parker, though the price tag is hefty. You get your money’s worth if you’re willing to buy it. You could also mention that leather surfaces are good in that they have more action to them, so the dice spin out more.

    Great job guys.

  2. 2009 October 29

    Thanks for this info, certainly looks like a nice backgammon set. While Leather is lovely I do prefer the noise of slapping the coins down onto a hardwood board. But I guess it’s each to their own.


  3. 2009 November 2

    Interesting note about the different tastes in backgammon boards in the US and the middle east. What’s the preference of the Dane and North European backgammon players?

  4. 2009 December 17
    Daily-huang permalink

    haha,i also like the “clicking” sound when the checkers meet the wooden frame…

  5. 2012 March 16
    Mr Majestyk permalink

    I’ve handmade 5 BG boards, I sold 4 and kept one for myself. You’d have to eat my arm off to get me to sell it!


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