It doesn’t matter where you go in Greece, one thing will be certain. In every kafeneio (café), there will be people playing tavli. It is a national pastime. Even in Greek-owned cafes elsewhere in the world, the game will be played.
In appearance it looks very similar to the ‘western’ version of backgammon, however, there are different rules in tavli.
The word tavli literally means “board” in Greek. However, tavli is not a single game. Tavli actually consists of three types of game, which are traditionally one after the other in a match of 3, 5 or 7 games.
The three games that make up tavli are:
Plakotó is a game where a single checker can pin another checker on a point.
Févga is a game where one checker by itself can secure a point.
Pórtes is very similar to Western backgammon, but with a few minor rule changes.