Backgammon is one of the more popular 2-player table games that use an element of strategy and luck to beat your opponent. The game has stood the test of time and is thought to have first been played in Mesopotamia and Persia some 5000 years ago.
Today, it is still widely popular in the Eastern Mediterranean and played by many in places like Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Palestine, and more.
Other than providing entertainment, Backgammon is a great game to take up as it has numerous cognitive and mental health benefits. Just like other table games such as chess and checkers, Backgammon is also a lot about strategy and skill, along with some good old-fashioned luck.
Board games such as Backgammon are gaining popularity once again. As such, in this article, we’ll be going over the several benefits and advantages of playing Backgammon and why you should give this game a chance if you haven’t already done so. Let’s get to it!
1. Bolsters Cognitive Skills & Memory
Most table-top strategy board games require a degree of cognitive skills, memory, and intelligence in order to win. As such, playing Backgammon can help improve one’s cognitive skills as the gameplay requires a lot of critical thinking and problem-solving.
The part of the brain referred to as the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus benefits from playing such games. This region is liable for memory development and comprehending complex points of view.
2. A Leisurely Past-Time
Backgammon isn’t a strenuous or exhausting game. It is a game that is meant to be played while relaxing and ‘de-stressing’. Even though it is competitive in nature, luck can often play a big part in winning or losing. As such, the game is for fun. Even though there are online competitions and betting variations of the game, it is best played as a leisurely pastime.
3. A Natural ‘High’
Who doesn’t love winning? This “high” you feel after winning is caused by neurochemicals released by the brain called endorphins. Endorphins minimize discomfort and pain while maximizing pleasure senses.
Backgammon, being a two-player game, is all about beating your opponent. Winning after a tough match is a natural high that can only be brought about by playing competitive games.
4. A Tool To Teach Children Math & Probability
Playing games is crucial to childhood development. While sports and other board games teach children a lot of life lessons, Backgammon is the perfect game to help your child understand the fundamentals of Math and how the concept of probability works.
This game also teaches a child the concept of luck and how to deal with bad luck situations, which can help them in real life.
5. Increases Confidence
There are many of us out there who, let’s be frank, aren’t social butterflies. Most of us aren’t even that good at sports. To boost our confidence, we look to our minds, and for that, a game like Backgammon is simply perfect.
Making intelligent plans and learning to adapt to different players and play styles can help build confidence and self-esteem in your own skills, making you a lot more confident in social environments.
6. Keeps The Brain Engaged
Something a lot of board games have in common is that they provide a solid workout routine for the brain. Now while that might sound exhausting, it’s actually the opposite. Giving your brain something to focus on makes it sharp, allowing it to stay that way as you grow older.
7. Helps Take The Edge Off
In times where stress is considered a part of our everyday routine, there isn’t much we can do to counter it. However, playing board games like Backgammon that can help take your mind off problems that you can tend to later. It allows for quality one-on-one time that is relaxing, engaging, and fun, especially after a stressful and busy day at work.
8. Great Way To Meet New People
Backgammon is no tinder, but it does offer a more structured and niche way of meeting others. As it is widely popular, finding like-minded individuals that love the game as much as you do shouldn’t be much of a problem. You can likewise play the game online (if going out isn’t an option), meeting and interacting with people from all over the world!
9. It Takes Just Two To Play!
Solo games can be fun up to a point as they make you lonesome. A two-player game, on the other hand, implies social interaction with others. Regardless of whether you decide to play it online or on a table-top with your friend, Backgammon doesn’t make you feel lonesome or isolated as it assists in constructing positive associations with others.
10. Exercise For Your Brain
Playing any complex strategic or tactical game can be a great source of exercise for the brain. This of your brain as a muscle. Problem-solving games such as Backgammon help exercise that muscle, which in turn helps the brain retain and build cognitive associations.
Research also suggests that this exercise for the brain makes it sharper and reduces one’s chances of contracting diseases like dementia or Alzheimer’s.
11. Helps Keep Your Blood Pressure In Check
The release of endorphins as a result of winning, laughing, or having a good time can help your mind and body relax, which results in better blood circulation. Sitting down and playing a game of Backgammon with your best buddy can help lower blood pressure and keep your body and mind feeling nice and relaxed.
12. Teaches Important Life Lessons
One of the most important things we as humans learn in our lives is the concept of winning and losing. Many of us still struggle with these feelings even at an adult age. Winning is great, but you need to learn to be humble when you win. On the other hand, nobody wants to lose, but it is important to remember that losing is as much a part of the game as winning.
Learning how to cope with bad luck, losing, unfairness, and other misfortunes are all things that can be learned by playing Backgammon.
13. Never Gets Boring
Perhaps, the best part of Backgammon is that, like chess, it doesn’t get boring, no matter how many times you play. The game has a ton of depth and requires years, if not decades, to fully master. Also, don’t forget there is a lot of luck involved which makes for unique challenges time and time again.
It takes a long time for players to be able to learn all the tips, strategies, and possibilities in the game.
14. Makes You More Adaptable & Less Resistant To Change
Backgammon can be perceived as a metaphor for life. Every player starts the same way, but they are taken along different paths and face different challenges based on their dice rolls. The constant back and forth of re-evaluating situations and adjusting makes you more adaptable to changes in real life.
15. Makes Math Fun
Something no one likes to admit is that Backgammon actually takes the concept of Math and uses it in a fun way. Calculating your next move based on the probability of what your opponent is likely to do next can be extremely fun once you get better at the game. It helps improve your mental math skills in a fun and entertaining way.
16. A Game For The Entire Family
Backgammon is also a great game to introduce to your children. Instead of them sitting staring at your phone or tablet screens all day, this education game can be a great way for you to interact with your children on a more equal basis. It is a pastime that can be played and enjoyed by the entire family.
17. Evergreen Benefits
The benefits and advantages of playing Backgammon aren’t limited to childhood; you can take advantage of the many mental health benefits the game offers at any age. After all, the game allows one to practice social and cognitive skills while also simulating vital parts of the brain.
18. Improves Logic & Critical Thinking
When you play Backgammon, you are constantly using your brain to plan your next move and outguess your opponent. You have to rely on logic and complex problem-solving skills to get out of sticky situations; much like in real-life.
Backgammon is more than just a game you play to pass the time; it’s a game that connects people, improves mental and physical health, and teaches several important life lessons. It’s no wonder then that this ancient game is still widely played today.
In a world dominated by console and video games, why not try a game that has stood the test of time? With so many benefits for your mental health, we believe it’s definitely worth it!