Backgammon is also known as "the game of kings", and its history goes back 5000 years. It is an intelligent race game where strategy and attention vastly outweighs luck. Simply put, your goal is to remove your own men from the board by moving them according to the rolls of dice. It is necessary to plan your moves carefully because a player can block the opponents' moves and capture his men, so choosing wisely which piece to play and antecipating your opponents moves are essential to the game.
But there is still a second layer to backgammon ― a player wins not after removing his men, but rather when he reaches an agreed score, and in each game a player earn points based on how well he bested his opponent and on the stakes of the game. Because the game incorporates this gambling mechanism, players must be always assessing risks and calculating odds.
For 2 players, with an approximate duration of 30 minutes. Although the game can be fun for 8-year-old children, full understanding and appreciation of the game might require a more mature player.
Backgammon has a long history of continuous change and improvement, going back at least 5000 years. It is believed the game was created in Persian territory from where it spread (it's also believed it may have Indian influences). The game is related to the Egyptian game of Senet and the Mesopotamian Royal Game of Ur. It reached as far as China and then Japan, where it became known as ban-suguroku.
It was the Romans, though, that spread the game across Europe in a variant game called Tabula, which shared the same principles but with a different board and number of pieces. Backgammon still uses its Romans name in some parts, such as 'Tavli' in Greek and 'Tavla' in Turkish.
The game, still named Tabula, but already very similar to the modern variant, continued to expand throughout the Middle Ages reaching Northern Europe and the Iberian Peninsula, and became a very popular way of gambling. Around the 17th century the game was renamed backgammon in England.
The game crossed the Atlantic and arrived in the US where it would reach the present form in the 1920s with the addition of the doubling cube (and the 'Chouette' variant, that enjoyed great popularity in the early 20th century). This simple addition not only made the game much more interesting for gambling but also added a whole new layer of strategy.
A story associated to the birth of backgammon tells us that the Indian king Dewisarm sent an emissary to the Persian king Khosrow I with a set of the newly created game of chess and challenged the Persian king to decipher the game. By the third day a Persian Minister named Wuzurgmihr solves the problem and explains its logic. He then invents the backgammon to challenge back the Indian king, who didn't succeed in deciphering it.