The international playboy's game of choice

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      It's simply not right to play one of the world's oldest and finest games with shoddy, plastic pieces and a crimped card-backed board – which is, unfortunately, how many are introduced to backgammon at a young age. Thing is, that's pitching it all wrong. Backgammon is played by men who drink brandy from snifters large enough to keep a goldfish in; who think nothing of dropping bundles of unused currency onto the playing board and who know that the game is one of the finest pastimes a gentleman can immerse himself in.

      You don't have to be Hugh Heffner to appreciate this Italian-made backgammon set. Each board is made from the wood of the walnut tree. Every cover design is unique, but that doesn't mean you'll get one with a Union Jack or a picture of Grotbags from the Pink Windmill on the lid. The unique designs are variations on the wood grain/wood effect patterns that, well, old wooden boxes usually have on them. So each board is more of a subtle variation on a theme rather than a one-off creation, but completely unique nonetheless.

      Playing the game itself is no less of an experience either. Some very basic rules govern what is an involving, tactical and devious game. The feature of doubling means that it's also perfect for placing wagers. Coming up trumps on a bet might be a good way of raising the funds for this wonderful item. For the sophistication factor alone, however, it's got to be worth having a punt.

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