How To Play Backgammon

By J. Herman Seidlitz

Reprinted from the November 4, 1930 edition of the Lincoln Evening Journal.

(With illustrations from your Director.)

In today’s whirlwind installment, J. Herman Seidlitz teaches us about backgammon,  There is no greater authority on indoor sports than Mr. Seidlitz.  He was the first man to freeze his own dice in an electric icebox.  He originated the idea of pasting grasscloth wallpaper on a ping-pong table and calling it miniature lawn tennis.  He also devised the famous Seidlitz play in checkers.  This consisted of dethroning all a checker opponent’s kings by tipping the checkerboard upside down.  Mr. Seidlitz is also the mastermind behind all indoor games.  In literary circles it is an open secret that he was the ghostwriter for Hoyle.

The game of backgammon has been hidden for years on the inside of folding checkerboards. Its recent discovery is on a par with the Indians who nibbled for centuries on the skin of cantaloupes before they discovered the best part was on the inside.

Like finding the Holy Grail – only better.

Like finding the Holy Grail – only better.

The idea is to arrange the backgammon board with a collection of attractive felt pennants, carefully laid side by each. When these pennants are all laid out with perfect precision, the board should look like the rear window of a Ford sedan.

I don’t know what that means, but I sense it might help explain these images.

I don’t know what that means, but I sense it might help explain these images.

It is not necessary to buy a backgammon board at all when you can easily make one yourself. First get a slab of wood. Then go to a dozen football games and purchase pennants from the vendors outside taking care to buy both the winning and losing colors. In case of a tie game, you buy the winning and losing colors just the same, as most tie games are a moral victory for one side or the other.

Attendance at these football games, plus the cost of pennants, arm bands, peanuts, chrysanthemums, etc. will average $271.00. This is slightly more expensive than going down to the 5 and 10 cent store for a backgammon board, but remember you have all the fun of constructing your board yourself.


In case you do not care for football games, you can secure the necessary pennants by stopping at such places as Coney Island, the White Mountains, Ausable Chasm, Mount Vernon, Yellowstone National Park, etc. At each one of these stops you purchase a felt pennant at the souvenir shop until you have the required number. Then turn your car around and come home


Once you have arrived home, you simply nail or paste the pennants, in the prescribed manner, on the slab of wood as above. Then you have a backgammon board complete. All you need are the checkers.

If you have made your own backgammon board, you will certainly want to make your own checkers, also. One way to make checkers is to take two barrels and paint the top of one red and the other top black.

Then bore a hole the size of a checker thru the barrel top for each checker required. Of course the checkers will drop into the bottom of the barrel, but you can retrieve them by kicking the bottom of the barrel out.

Another economical way to make checkers is to slice a banana into pieces and then shellac the slices so as to stiffen them.bananaIn tomorrow’s masterly article I will show you how to play the game.

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