A Season of Stuff: Back that Gammon Up!

A Season of Stuff is a writing challenge that I will be doing for the length of Spring 2016.  The plan – to pick some object from within my personal possessions each day and write about it – its history, its significance, etc.  Come on in – check out my stuff.


About five years ago or so Emma’s dad taught us how to play backgammon (well, I think re-taught Emma but I had never played) and he gave us their fancy-ish backgammon set.  It’s basically a little briefcase that unfolds and has the game inside.  At that time Emma and I began playing backgammon on a regular basis.  It was a quick, simple game that mixed a little luck with a little strategy.  We tended to be fairly evenly matched, making it so neither of our egos would get bruised by repeatedly getting beaten.

In August 2012 Emma and I went on our first bike touring adventure, finally riding the Gap/C&O trails from Pittsburgh to Washington DC.  Looking for something to take along that could entertain us on breaks and at camp, I thought it would be fun to make a portable backgammon set to take along with us.

I originally planned on silkscreening a piece of fabric for the board so it could just be shoved anywhere in one of my bike bags.  But I was worried that if there was the least bit of wind our games could be easily disrupted and ruined.  Digging around in the basement I found some ideal supplies – a small piece of 1/8″ MDF board (heavy enough that it wouldn’t easily blow away but light/compact enough to still add negligible weight/bulk to my bags), some small cut washers and a milkcrate full of spray paint.

It took a little time to measure out the proper dimensions for the board triangles and cut out a stencil, but then it was just a few quick sessions with some cans of paint and we had a set.  The board simply slid into the back of our bike bags and the dice and “game pieces” were kept in a small ziplock bag.  As you can see, keeping a couple white dice rattling around in a bag with a bunch of spraypainted washers isn’t best for maintaining their pearly white appearance but that’s not so important while at camp.

It’s been a great little travel game for bike trips. Totally recommended.


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