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16 Disadvantages & Downsides Of Backgammon (Gambling, Addiction, Luck,…)

People spend their entire lives playing board games such as Backgammon, only to never realize that the game might actually be having a negative impact on their lives. Although there are several benefits and advantages of Backgammon that might contradict this statement, who’s to say these drawbacks and downsides don’t exist? 

Even table-top board games such as Backgammon have downsides for players that play them fanatically. With so much emphasis placed on the negative impacts of gambling, as well as online and console gaming, we tend to forget about the negative implications of overplaying ‘older’ and what we consider ‘more simplistic games’. 

Hence, in this article, we’ll explore 16 potential disadvantages and downsides of playing Backgammon that you might not have known or paid attention to before.

1. Backgammon Can Be An Addictive Game 

Backgammon is a game that is thought to date back some 5000 years. The game is as ancient as it gets, yet it is still widely popular today. Why? Well, because it is fun, entertaining, and immersive. Which, in turn, means it’s addictive. 

Like most addictive games, Backgammon has depth but also an element of luck. It makes a player want to play again and again as each time they feel like they are improving and learning. Once they understand the game and start winning, they are hooked! 

2. Takes Up A Lot Of Time

On average, a game of Backgammon can last up to an hour. Since it’s an immersive game, you’ll definitely be engaged in playing for as long as it takes to get a win or finally accept defeat. 

This is a game that you want to play when you have time on your hands and an opponent who you don’t mind spending hours playing with. 

3. It Can Be A ‘Cruel’ Game

Backgammon is often referred to as one of the cruelest games to play, as winning and losing can depend a lot upon luck. You can be dominating the game, but if you start getting bad rolls, your opponent can quickly catch up and take the game away from you in a hurry. 

This element of “luck” can leave people frustrated, annoyed, and agitated. Not just with the game, but also with themselves. This can be quite unhealthy and can result in mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. 

4. It May Not Be Easy To Find Players

Even though the game is still widely popular in the Eastern Mediterranean countries, if you are out west, you might struggle to find players who are good at the game. As it isn’t as popular as chess or checkers, if you don’t have anyone to play with, it can be quite challenging to find other players who are as vested in the game as you are.  

5. It Isn’t As Easy As It Looks

Although it can be argued that the game depends a lot upon luck, it still requires critical thinking and complex problem solving to win and beat your opponent. Players starting out might feel like they are constantly losing despite seemingly doing everything right, which can be really disheartening. 

6. It Can Get Frustrating 

Backgammon is known to bring out the “bad” side of its players. The constant back and forth of luck in the game can make anyone lose their cool, leading to angry outbursts that can ruin friendships and relationships. 

7. Waiting For Good Luck

One of the most annoying parts of Backgammon is waiting for the dice roll to finally give you the number you want. The odds might be in your favor for one turn, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be that way for the whole game. Dealing with that is annoying, right?

8. The Gambling Variation Of The Game

There are plenty of online variations of Backgammon that involve betting with real money. As this is as much a game of skill as luck, most bets against opponents can result in a 50/50 chance of you winning. Do you want to take on those odds? We didn’t think so.

9. Coming Across Non-Serious Opponents

Oftentimes you’ll find opponents, whether it is on the internet or in real life, that are just messing around. This can be really frustrating as it can ruin the fun of the game. It can also make a person angry, especially when they are trying to get better but can’t because of their opponents’ negligence. 

10. Causing Arguments

Despite having a competitive side, as well as a casual side, there’s no stopping the constant arguments you’ll inevitably find yourself in when playing Backgammon. These types of arguments lead to no good as the next dice roll can simply demolish any point you were trying to make. Competition can sometimes bring out the best and the worst in a person.  

11. It Can Get Overly Competitive

The online variations of Backgammon can certainly become overly competitive. When money is on the line and luck isn’t in your favor, things can quickly get heated and out of hand. This is why in order to enjoy Backgammon as it was enjoyed so many thousands of years ago, it is best to play the game as it was meant to be; relaxed and stress-free.

12. It Can Get Boring At Times

As the game has a defined set of rules and techniques, there’s not much more to learn and enjoy after a certain point. The best players tend to use the same strategies and techniques, and then the game simply becomes a battle of luck and not skill. 

Once you’re familiar with the concepts of the game, you’ll likely find yourself doing the same thing over and over again. This repetitiveness can get boring at times. 

13. A Time-Waster

Playing games such as Backgammon, whether it be online or with friends and family, can arguably be quite a waste of time. There could be so many other more productive things that you could be doing rather than playing hours of Backgammon. Going outside for some fresh air, for example, is a lot better than sitting at a table playing games all day.

14. It Gives An “Unfair” Representation Of Life

While Backgammon does teach important life lessons to its players (no matter how they choose to play the game), it also creates a false sense of security surrounding their decisions. 

Backgammon players start thinking that, similar to the game, their life is also based on the role of a dice where their luck takes them where they want to go. That is far from true. In life, your decisions are completely up to you and no one else. 

15. Can Cause Health Concerns

Getting addicted to Backgammon is dangerous. This game doesn’t offer any sort of physical exercise and requires one to simply sit and play, much like chess. 

Sitting for long periods of time can cause backaches, especially if you sit hunched, as you often do when playing Backgammon. In general, playing a game too much can also cause anxiety and depression.

16. Strictly A Two-Player Game 

One of the biggest downsides of Backgammon is that it can only be played with two players. You can’t play it solo or with a party of more than two. 

For games like Monopoly, up to eight people can play the game, which makes it more suitable for larger friend groups and families and encourages a lot more social interaction. 

Whereas, in Backgammon, you often end up playing the same player over and over again. Also, if you are in a group and two people are playing, others may feel left out. 

All Things Considered

Even though there are quite a few potential disadvantages and downsides to playing Backgammon, this game has many positive and beneficial properties as well. In many regards, it is a timeless classic that requires complex problem solving, critical thinking, and cognitive skills that are all proven to be beneficial in improving mental health. 

Many of the downsides and disadvantages of Backgammon can be true for pretty much any game you play. Thus, there is no need to be disheartened here. If you love the game and genuinely have fun when you play with a friend or your kids, there is no reason for you to stop.