Give a Board Away, By Mary Hickey

How to Give Away a Backgammon Board


April 27, 2010


We all want to "grow the game", though perhaps befriending backgammon-playing burglars is further than we want to go (see my latest article at Gammon Village).   But sparking some interest at a local coffee shop can be as easy as putting an inexpensive backgammon board on their game shelf, if they have one, or even out on a table somewhere.

The first time I tried out this idea, the owner was enthusiastic and immediately gave the board I offered her a home beside a chess set already there. But we'll never know if a backgammon game would have broken out, because less than a month later the place closed, and there was my board, trapped inside the locked doors! I didn't know who to ask to retrieve it, so it eventually just disappeared.

But I have found another shop where one of the employees has said they'll take in a backgammon board, but I haven't actually delivered it pending approval of the owner. Believe it or not, there are people out there that don't want backgammon players around! (Phil, please resist the temptation you are feeling right now to add an editorial note regarding specific people they might have in mind!)  I'll let you know later on if that coffee shop takes the board in, and if so, whether it generates any interest there.

So anyway…here are my ideas regarding how to promote the game by giving away a backgammon board:

1. Choose a venue suitable for game playing, preferably one likely to stay in business.

2. Get the owner's OK before leaving a board there.

3. Leave them the instruction sheet or booklet that came with the board, if you still have it. Otherwise leave a printout of a simple set of instructions on how to play, including a diagram of the initial set-up. (You can download basic backgammon rules of play from this web site.)

4. Follow up to see if there is interest, and if so, offer to provide some free instruction or some other assistance.