backgammon (băkˈgămˌən, băkˌgămˈən) [key], game of chance and skill played by two persons upon a specially marked board divided by a space, called the bar, into two tables (inner table and outer table), each of which has 12 alternately colored points, or triangular spaces. Players move along the board according to the rolls of two dice, and the object is to remove one's 15 pieces, or disks, from the board first. The Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, and Romans played a form of backgammon probably derived from the earlier Indian game of Parcheesi. After the 10th cent. A.D. it became popular in Europe.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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