About the Club

Steel City Backgammon was created in 2016 to support backgammon enthusiasts of all skill levels. We exist because we love to play this centuries-old game with its incredible variety and excitement.

While we do not yet have a charter, the following list is a start. We exist to

  • Organize events for backgammon players to get together to play.
  • Advance the game by providing education and learning opportunities such as lectures, position discussions, and demonstrations to help players improve their games.
  • Promote the game with this website, with our Meetup Page, and in other ways.
  • Promote the United States Backgammon Federation, the national backgammon advocacy organization, and its many tournaments and activities.
  • Sponsor competitive tournaments regularly for the enjoyment of our members.


First and foremost, we want the club to be fun. For that reason, we're going to try to keep the rules and regulations to a minimum.

However, a small amount of structure will help us move forward with new ideas and grow the membership. People naturally want to join a club which has a solid base of support and known decision-making process.

Here are the proposed levels of participation. This will eventually be formalized into a By-Laws document.

  • Players Free. It's free to come to events, play backgammon, and see if you want to go to the next level and become a member.
  • Members Committed players who contribute money as well as time to support the club. They will grow the game, grow the club, and make it more fun for everyone by providing basics like calling cards, printed brochures and flyers, meetup costs, and website costs. Becoming a member means you can vote on general-membership questions and get many other benefits. Here are our proposed Levels of Membership.

    We will stage one meeting of the membership every year. More like a party than a meeting, this is where we will recognize the board and staff, give out awards, maybe even play some backgammon? Oh, and vote on the incoming board and any other general membership questions. Only Members are entitled to attend the annual meeting/party.
  • Board of Directors Five members, elected by the general membership, who serve for one or two years. The board will oversee the club financially, appoint and oversee the staff, and make key non-membership decisions. They will meet at least once a year. (TBD) There will no compensation or other benefit from serving on the board, other than watching the club grow and prosper.
  • Staff Our most committed members who do the actual work of the club on a day-to-day basis. These are unpaid positions but expenses will be reimbursed.
    • President - Handles paperwork and has final say on day-to-day decisions. Organizes staff meetings as needed. Presides over board and membership meetings.
    • Operations Manager - Runs the events. Can appoint assistants as needed.
    • Tournament Director - Decides backgammon-related questions and works with other staff to make sure events run smoothly.
    • Webmaster - maintains the club website.
    • Treasurer - manages the club bank account and gives a financial report at board meetings.
    • Secretary - takes notes at board and membership meetings.
  • Sponsors Companies who support the club financially in exchange for some sort of presence at our events and on our website.

The participation levels are not finalized yet. Input is welcome from any current player. Until it becomes finalized, the club is directed by Peter Swartwout, who is also the author of this website, and Bill Hathaway, two local backgammon aficionados.

Tournament Rules

All SCBG tournaments will adhere to the "legal moves" philosophy of play. A detailed description from the USBGF is at the link below, but in a nutshell it is just "good sportsmanship": Most illegal plays are mistakes, not intentional cheating, and in that spirit, if you notice your opponent making an illegal play, you must point it out and the player must correct it to be a legal play before the game continues. The same goes for you if you accidentally make an illegal move. Keep in mind that this rule applies whether or not the illegal play, or the corrected play, benefits you or your opponent in the game.

Here is the Official USBGF Statement on Legal Moves.

We want our events to be fun and fair for everyone. In the unlikely event of a dispute that cannot be resolved by the players, the tournament director(s) can be brought in to give a ruling. The decision of the tournament director will be final.

Non-tournament rules

Attendees are free to enjoy any backgammon varieties or group-oriented games they choose. The club does not condone or organize any particular games except for the organized tournaments described above.

Gambling on the outcomes of games is not permitted at SCBG events.

The no gambling policy does not apply to entry fees for organized tournaments, which are considered games of skill. For some background, see The Trial (and Tribulations) of Oregon Promoter Ted Barr, where the court ruled that backgammon is a game of skill, not chance, and therefore gambling statutes do not apply.