Bone Club - backgammon boards made on the Wyre

PUBLISHED: 00:00 06 March 2019

Guy Haslam's Bone Club backgammon board

Guy Haslam's Bone Club backgammon board

Dan Wootton Photography Ltd.

Boards made in Stalmine are helping to boost a backgammon revival

The worlds of banging drum and bass music and sedate board games rarely collide, but thanks the DJ Goldie and a former web designer from Stalmine, they will come together for an exclusive event in London this summer.

The DJ is part of a growing number of celebrity fans of backgammon but tweeted last year: ‘My constant struggle to find someone to play #backgammon with is becoming #futile.’

The tweet was seen by fellow backgammon enthusiast Guy Haslam and the pair have now struck up a friendship and have organised a celebration of the game at The Library, a £1100-a-year private members club in London’s Covent Garden.

Guy, who has been playing backgammon since he was seven and was introduced to the game by his mum, said: ‘When I saw Goldie’s tweet, I sent him a board and he posted online about it and then he posted a film of him playing against Jason Statham.

Guy Haslam's backgammon boards at StalmineGuy Haslam's backgammon boards at Stalmine

‘He rang me to thank me for the board and we got chatting and found that we had some friends in common. We’re now putting on an event together in London in June for just 16 people, eight from the club and most of the rest Goldie’s friends and I’m hoping we’ll stream it online.’

The games that night will be played on boards made by Guy, a dad of two, in a workshop he has created in his garage.

Guy, who trained as a dentist and has worked as a croupier, furniture restorer and a magician as well as running one of the region’s first web design businesses, now creates stylish and contemporary boards under the name Bone Club.

‘I have had a mixed career,’ he said. ‘But now I think I have realised what I want to be doing and I’ve had enough of staring at a screen.’

Guy Haslam's Bone Club backgammon boardGuy Haslam's Bone Club backgammon board

His boards come in a range of colours, sizes and materials – some are made of beech wood and have a black vegan ‘leather’ outer with a green suedette playing surface, others are crafted of oak and feature coloured calf leather inserts. Prices for Guy’s boards start at about £150 but a top-of-the-range championship board, which can take up to three months to make, will be 25in x 30in and will cost about £2,500.

Guy, who is 46, also creates bespoke and personalised boards. And one of his boards is with Malaysia’s royals after someone from Stalmine married into the family.

Former Rossall School pupil Guy said: ‘We live in a digital age but it’s scary how much time people spend looking at screens. I see my children with their ipads and I get the backgammon board out and we have a game.

‘I loved playing backgammon as a child. My mum told me about the game and I used to enjoy playing with her and it just stayed with me. Wherever I went I seemed to bump into people who played. I don’t know what it is about backgammon, it’s such a social game – you can sit in a café anywhere with a board open and you will find someone to have a game with.

Guy Haslam's backgammon boards at StalmineGuy Haslam's backgammon boards at Stalmine

‘There is a massive tactical element to the game. I consider myself to be a reasonable player but when I play a top player – which I’m lucky enough to do – I realise I’m quite average really.

‘They are looking at the probability of the dice combinations and they aim to always play the safest move to minimise the risk. I feel the game a bit more rather than work it out and I do OK in tournaments but in the long run the serious players come out on top.’

Since he made his first board in 2016, Guy has sold more than 200 Bone Club boards around the world and he added: ‘I started Bone Club as a way to reconnect with family and friends after relocating to the Fylde coast from Manchester ten years ago and I never imagined it would take the path that it has today. I’m hugely excited by innovating the boards and raising the profile of backgammon among new and global audiences.’

To see more of Guy’s boards, go online to boneclub.co.uk where Lancashire Life readers can claim 10% off using the code ‘LancashireLife10’.

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