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Old 06-11-2013, 03:45 PM   #1
Fllecha
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Beware of "Backgammon Boot Camp" by Walter Trice

Hi all.

listening to a very good regular player of DailyGammon I bought "Backgammon Boot camp" by Walter Trice. Adding shipping taxes and so on I payed 50$ and now I just finished reading it.

I know that Robertie will respect Trice because they know each other very well so I don't know if he can ever be objective with the following:

What a delusion!

I read 501 and Advanced Backgammon by Robertie, and I learned tons of useful hints on BG working hard and studying hard (e.g. I wrote 80 pages reporting most important diagrams and lessons, re-formulating sentences, gathering formulas and tips and so on).

Why? Well because backgammon to be taught correctly has to be wrote in the form of problems and then explained throught short lessons on the most valuable tips.

What's wrong with BG boot camp?

It's not a serious book on improving BG from intermediate to advanced, its mainly a sort of chat with an expert on the same famous topics, written a bit too rapidly and disconnected.

Lines and lines of bla bla bla and a lesson every 20 pages, almost all well known to an intermediate player, mixed with too nerdish calculations that can't be useful to a good player but not a World class player.

Something from the book

from page 113 to 146 (33 pages!!) only on races and pipcounting and the "immortal" 4 checkers position (2 for white and 2 for black) and all possible combinations: well known stuff.

from page 225 to 255 (30 pages) all on prime vs prime with minimal variations and tons of rollouts and similar cases in which even an expert will make some confusion. Really useless, because it's hard to squeeze out a lesson to remember.

from 1 to 60 (60 pages) of introduction: odds and basic definitions written always "en passant" and I think it's supposed to be stanard after one reads Backgammon from Paul Magriel.

The real juicy part is the one about backgames, that is really well done and complete, full of right example and interesting variations, but that's only 47 pages, that's not worth 50 dolla imo.

Maybe I am too much rude, but I'm "angry": I expected a fresh new book full of modern ideas and tips but I found it really only a chat of well known stuffs, nothing more.
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Old 06-11-2013, 05:01 PM   #2
yogiman
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Re: Beware of "Backgammon Boot Camp" by Walter Trice

Sincere compliments to you for complaining about 50 dollars. But may he rest in peace.
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Old 06-12-2013, 03:40 PM   #3
Fllecha
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Re: Beware of "Backgammon Boot Camp" by Walter Trice

I know he passed away, but I complain certain way to write technical books.

If you chat chat chat and write about RARE and complicated situations full of calculations, very abstract and phisically impossible to perform in game, one can learn PRATICALLY very few things and his game can't have a boost.

it's not for 50$ dollars itself, it's about literally throwing away 50$ dollars it's a whole different story.
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Old 06-12-2013, 05:10 PM   #4
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Re: Beware of "Backgammon Boot Camp" by Walter Trice

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Originally Posted by Fllecha View Post
it's not for 50$ dollars itself, it's about literally throwing away 50$ dollars it's a whole different story.
Sincere compliment
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Old 06-13-2013, 03:58 AM   #5
Donby
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Re: Beware of "Backgammon Boot Camp" by Walter Trice

Hey flecha,

IMHO you are too negative against boot camp. Well, everybody is free to post his opinion, but your title 'beware of' is a bit too hard imo.
Before buying a book you should check infos about it. Boot camp is a compilation of articles that trice wrote. So it's another kind than modern bg from robertie.
But everybody recommends it. I don't think that by reading boot camp you will become a worse backgammon player.
Very good method from you to extract the main importen things or lessons from a book. Well, as you already did this, why don't you just sell the book in your country? I am sure u will get at least 30 $ for it, so at the end you took the !essence! for 20 bucks, and that's literally cheap IMHO
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Old 06-13-2013, 09:00 AM   #6
Robertie
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Re: Beware of "Backgammon Boot Camp" by Walter Trice

I rank "Backgammon Boot Camp" as one of the top 3 backgammon books ever written, along with Magriel's "Backgammon" and Woolsey/Heinrich's "New Ideas in Backgammon".

I read it when it came out in 2004, and thought I learned a lot from it, although I was already an experienced player at that point. It covers a lot of ground, is clearly written, and is funny and entertaining in many places. Walter was a master of the art of making difficult topics clear, an underrated quality in games writers.
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Old 06-13-2013, 02:44 PM   #7
yogiman
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Re: Beware of "Backgammon Boot Camp" by Walter Trice

I put Robertie's modern backgammon and 501 as 4 and 5 respectively.
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Old 06-13-2013, 11:31 PM   #8
GrantHoffman
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Re: Beware of "Backgammon Boot Camp" by Walter Trice

I loved this book when I bought the original edition that came out. When the second edition came out I bought that and have no regrets. Sure some of the prime vs prime positions have been overturned by XG but I got alot out of this book and still recommend it to this day.
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Old 06-14-2013, 07:04 AM   #9
Fllecha
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Re: Beware of "Backgammon Boot Camp" by Walter Trice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robertie View Post
I rank "Backgammon Boot Camp" as one of the top 3 backgammon books ever written, along with Magriel's "Backgammon" and Woolsey/Heinrich's "New Ideas in Backgammon".

I read it when it came out in 2004, and thought I learned a lot from it, although I was already an experienced player at that point. It covers a lot of ground, is clearly written, and is funny and entertaining in many places. Walter was a master of the art of making difficult topics clear, an underrated quality in games writers.
can you please tell me how to read it? I simply couldn't find a single way to improve my backgammon. I found it too much superficial and vague in the tips and the lessons (I am referring to tips like "Prime two checkers, attack one checker" or "Start to build your prime from the back", when far behind in the race play purely and fight for key points" and so on, very useful imo) and to much deep in abstract calculations that it's impossible to perform in game.
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Old 06-14-2013, 10:00 PM   #10
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Re: Beware of "Backgammon Boot Camp" by Walter Trice

Quote:
Originally Posted by yogiman View Post
I put Robertie's modern backgammon and 501 as 4 and 5 respectively.
So what is your list i.e. 1, 2 and 3? I would put 1 as Modern Backgammon, 2 as Backgammon Bootcamp, 3 as 501 Essential Backgammon Problems, 4 as "Boards, Blots and Double Shots" by Norm Wiggins (perhaps the most underrated Backgammon Book I have every read).

Now for the statement that will not make me popular - I do not recommend "Backgammon" by Paul Magriel to beginners. Yes it was a master piece at the time it was written and it is incredibly clear but ... I rolled out the Advanced section excluding the openings chapter. About 322 positions and found 27% of them incorrect. The Backgammon community owes a debt to Paul Magriel for popularising Backgammon but I cannot recommend his book. I was playing as the captain in a chouette recently where we had put the box into a 12 backgame with 10 men !!! back. I wanted to hit the 11th man when a team member said "Magriel says do not hit extra men. We have the Gammon - what more do you want?" I replied "I want the Backgammon and I would bet you money that if Paul Magriel was here he would hit too" We hit and scored a Backgammon. In "Advanced Backgammon " Bill deals to the "do not hit too many men" myth - yet it still remains. I for one do not want to put wrong ideas into beginners heads by recommending Paul Magriel's book when there are better books available. I recommend Backgammon Bootcamp instead because it contains some Match theory and a lot more about Doubling theory.

I know that what I have said will not be popular but it is my honest opinion. YOu can learn a lot from "Backgammon" by Magriel if you roll it out and think about what he got right and wrong. But leave it until someone is prepared to put in that kind of effort. As I say, I expect to not be popular for saying this.
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Old 06-27-2013, 07:29 AM   #11
Al Mirpuri
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Re: Beware of "Backgammon Boot Camp" by Walter Trice

I think OP made a semi-valid point.

A $50 book should give $50 worth of value.

This is nigh impossible as so many books on card games/games are self-published or have small initial print runs or are out of print that the prices for extant copies becomes ridiculously expensive.

This coupled with the law of diminishing returns (if you are buying the esoteric stuff then you have already got bread and butter plays down pat) means that you are paying over the odds.
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Old 07-12-2013, 02:26 AM   #12
slowkey
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Re: Beware of "Backgammon Boot Camp" by Walter Trice

It's been a very well thought of book from the getgo. "Beware of" = massive overplay.
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Old 07-30-2013, 02:41 PM   #13
Dmitriy ObukhovDmi
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Re: Beware of "Backgammon Boot Camp" by Walter Trice

In my opinion Bootcamp is an excellent book. It covers a lot of ground and explanations are made simple. This book is mostly for beginners and intermediates, but even more experienced players will find a lot of usefull information, I am sure. I enjoyed reading it. It is priced at 40 dollars, but worth every penny. Just my 2 cent.
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Old 04-30-2017, 07:18 PM   #14
SpencerKing
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Re: Beware of "Backgammon Boot Camp" by Walter Trice

There is no right or wrong here, just opinions is what Walter would say. For Bill it was a defining (and iconic) read; for Fllecha, it was not. I'm a multi-book, multilingual published author who writes mostly on a different subject and teaches. My subject is NOT time sensitive, nor has there been the type of advancements that BG has gad over the last 15 years. Both subjects are complex though and there are abundant opinions on how to teach them. Self instruction, especially with the Net is a daunting task, just as finding a great fit with a mentor is. Unfortunately the teacher rarely has an empty vessel to work with where they can control what ingredients are added in what order. Walter;s book (contribution)is not meant to be Paul's book or visa versa. I think this is what Bill is pointing out. The best advice I give (on my subject) is what to read, in what order and what not to read (when I have the luxury of working with an empty vessel). Getting of on a tangent or even reading out of order or just surging the Net can and usually does impede the process. Nope it's not fair and nope it is not easy when working with complex subjects. The best teachers teach to the mean of their audience and leave some behind and others are bored to tears. Most teachers in school for instance have the challenge of working with a curriculum that a single course in a system their Board demands. What is the composite of one student rarely is the same as another. Walter, Paul, Bill, Kit, Neil or whomever rarely has the luxury of designing a direct route, it is circuitous and often for students it is redundant. The wise student understands this and seeks a mentor or teacher who can access where they are and design a road map for them to grow without distractions. The gifted teacher or mentor rarely recommends an entire book (or article) they recommend parts or individual concepts from books and reject others. The fool recommends an entire restaurant, whereas the wise recommend a single dish from the menu.
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