Tumbling Dice: Backgammon deluxe
Gunter Sachs does. So do Omar Sharif and Hugh Hefner. Even the enchanting actress Charlize Theron likes nothing better than passing the time away playing it. They are all backgammon enthusiasts. With the invasion of online computer gaming, perhaps it’s time to look at traditional sets made for the top luxury market.
Similar in its long traditions and history to chess, the game is a simple one of a player rolling two dice in order to move counters into their ‘inner table’ via 24 narrow triangles or ‘points’. - the only problem being the other player who has the same object but travels in the opposite direction and can therefore ‘hit’ your counter and place it on the ‘bar’, the hinged division of the two sides of the case, or ‘tables’. It’s a simple concept that via the ‘doubling cube’ and sharp wits leads to both absorbing games – and the possible exchange of large sums when gambling for money.
With its raffish, ‘playboy’ image backgammon has been the subject of some exquisite workmanship from the world’s most exclusive manufacturers. We are pleased to present some of the latest ones from Asprey, Bethge Hamburg, Louis Vuitton and Baldessarini.
From Asprey comes traditional British style in the form of a red and white leather designed as a ‘Home Game’, i.e. one that is played in one’s own house rather than travelling. There’s also a ‘Purple Backgammon’ set in lilac leather and from Hamburg design house Bethge, one that comes in wood, finished in fish skin (from the stingray).
For those travellers unsure if whether they will find a worthy backgammon opponent on that long journey around the world, Louis Vuitton has made a ‘Games Collection’ that includes playing cards, chess and of course backgammon. The set is made in the style of the famous Vuitton luggage: printed canvas with brass protective corner pieces.
German designer Werner Baldessarini has made a set in the context of his new collection that includes either original dice from the casino at Monte Carlo or ones made from palm tree nuts. The counters are made from a heavily polished metal with leather playing surfaces. Each season Baldessarini produces a new variation that may be covered in snake-, eel- or lizard-skin.
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Text: Classic Driver
Photos:Asprey, Bethge Hamburg, Louis Vuitton, Baldessarini
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