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Old 02-10-2011, 06:24 PM   #1
Daithi
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My perfect backgammon set [Warning: Long Post]

I don't yet have the set described below, but it is the set I'd like.

First of all, I have seen some beautiful chessboards that were made out of exotic burl woods that were simply stunning. I can envision a backgammon set made out of similar materials that would also result in a gorgeous looking board. But, I wouldn't want to play on it.

Wood is just too loud of a surface to play upon. You need something to dampen the sound of the dice hitting the board, and some of the more popular choices are cork with points painted onto the cork, and felt lined boards with leather points sewn on to the felt, and pure leather playing surfaces with different colored leathers used for the points. There are a few other options available -- one manufacturer makes a gum/resin based surface -- but in my opinion nothing compares to leather. The sound is nice, the checkers slide across without getting hung up on sewn on points, and it just has a quality appearance and feel. Also some newer materials literally stink -- leather has a nice smell to it.

Just as important as the surface of the interior is the size of the interior. This is where a lot of backgammon sets fall short -- even expensive leather sets. The interior of the set should match up with the size of the checkers. It seems like a lot of sets have too much play between points. If you line checkers up so that their edges are touching and they run along the bottom of the board then you should not have about a half a checker of space left over between the last checker and the other edge of the board. If you look at the images of the $1,500 Hector Saxe boards over at Gammon Village you'll see how the spacing should look. It is close but not binding (see picture at end post). This keeps checkers on the points they are intended to be upon and nice and straight. (Note: I'm not saying this justifies a $1,500 price tag -- I'm just saying this is how the spacing should look.)

The checkers themselves should also be fairly heavy. This also helps keep them lined up nice and straight. What is the perfect material? I suppose white checkers made from mammoth ivory and black checkers made from Irish Bog Oak would be pretty cool, or maybe checkers made from solid gold and platinum, but I choose to be realistic. A good heavy plastic like Bakelite is my preference -- it might just be plastic but it has a warm feel to it. I also like checkers with a finger bowl in them, so that they are easier to slide around the board.

The colors of the pieces and the board should also be coordinated with one another. It seems like a lot of the more expensive boards out there seem to have color schemes inspired by tropical fish. I prefer more traditional colors. I like a light cream colored interior board with tan colored points and oxblood colored points (this is a traditional reddish dark brown leather color). Alternatively, I like a hunter green interior with dark red and off-white points. A black interior with red and green points also looks nice -- but come on people let's stay away from pinks, yellows, and oranges. Additionally, both the checkers and the dice should be similar in color to the board's points.

Are Precision Dice mandatory for this set? I think so. I can't say if Precision Dice are that much better than plain old cheap dice, but for such a fine backgammon set I'd want them. I also prefer the translucent dice over the opaque dice. Additionally, I want my backgammon set have the area where the doubling cube is placed, and where the dice are placed when not playing, to match the size of the doubling cube and dice -- maybe little squares for all five dice. The area for the checkers should also match the size of the checkers; it shouldn't have enough free space to stick three or four extra checkers. Those old vinyl sets from the 70s and 80s had a big rectangular area where the dice were placed and extra space for checkers. This was fine for cheap sets, but why carry over this setup? Everything should fit in a nice set (see below for an example of how it is done on a $2,500 Geoffrey Parker set at Gammon Village).

I did like the look of the old set's dice cup over the round dice cups found in today's nicer sets. I could get a good shake going on with these old style dice cups, and placing two fingers over the top of the dice cup just seems so natural. However, the better round style dice cups have a lip on the inside that makes manipulating the dice harder. I'm a little torn on this one. Maybe the 70s style cups could contain a lip on the ends where the dice come out? In any event, I want my cups wrapped in real leather.

The one area regarding the perfect backgammon board I'm probably going to get the most disagreement on is related to its size. Once again, I prefer the 1970s attaché style boards (as opposed to table style boards), and of course the case should be a good quality leather and not vinyl. Yet more importantly, I prefer the size of boards that were popular back in the 70s -- about 18" x 12". The trend now a day is towards these huge boards with 1.75" (44mm) checkers. This is just too big for me. I even think 1.5" (38mm) checkers is too big. I prefer about 1 3/8" (35mm) checkers. I could actually even live with 1.25" (32mm) checkers. I want something big enough to play on at a tournament but small enough to take to my local pub or bookstore.

Lastly, I don't want to pay two grand for a backgammon set. I can get a top grain cowhide leather attaché case for $150 (http://www.atlantaluggage.com/mod/st...ory%7C510.html), so backgammon sets shouldn't cost $2,000+. (Actually converting something like this might be an option.) I really don't see why a quality backgammon set like the one described couldn't be produce in $350 to $600 range (maybe if we can just get more people playing backgammon something like this will become available).

Anyway, that's my perfect backgammon set.

P.S.
One thing that would be nice is to have a small computer built into the set and some kind of tracking mechanism built into the checkers, with a clock built into one side of the case. Pressing the clock let’s the computer know when someone’s turn has changed and the computer is then able to automatically record games and matches, which it stores on a USB thumb drive. I.e. you press the clock button when your turn ends, the computer sees which checkers moved, and thus figures out what was rolled. This is an optional feature to the greatest backgammon set, but would be pretty cool because you just don't have the time to record matches like you would in say a chess match.



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Old 02-10-2011, 06:44 PM   #2
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Re: My perfect backgammon set [Warning: Long Post]

I started with Book A. On the cover, there is also a really beautiful backgammon board. Nack Ballard bought this eight years ago in denmark from a guy, but there is no manufacturing information in the board. I have set up my fibs board with this colors and it is a very good combination. A gammoner board in exact this colors would be my perfect board.
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Old 02-11-2011, 12:05 AM   #3
geneftw
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Re: My perfect backgammon set [Warning: Long Post]

"...have color schemes inspired by tropical fish...." LOL

I agree with your choice of cream and tan. I prefer opaque dice. I agree with your size specifications regarding fit. I wouldn't mind a larger board, though. I like vinyl or leather...as long as the vinyl looks like real leather.

I think if you pay 2500 for a board, you should be able to drive it to the tournament.
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Old 02-11-2011, 12:11 AM   #4
NoChinDeluxe
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Re: My perfect backgammon set [Warning: Long Post]

Man that first picture you posted is unbelievable. So beautiful! And I love the colors of the second set. I have a vinyl set that is cream and dark brown, and I love the look of it. It's a set that's been in my family for many years that was handed down to me, and it just brings back so many memories of playing with my grandmother on it when I was a kid. It's not the fanciest of boards, but it has nice checkers and has an overall great feel.
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Old 02-11-2011, 10:54 AM   #5
BigWill
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Re: My perfect backgammon set [Warning: Long Post]

You might prefer the smaller checkers/board but if were taking it to tournaments I think you would find that it is not very well received. You would find yourself rolling for board choice often and might even find some directors that would give preference to the larger board without any consideration to how nice you board is. I am not sure what dimension you board ends up with the smaller checkers and nice fit, but the Danish Federation as established board sizes in their rules and I would not be surprised if the don't see the USBGF and/or ABT adopting those rules in the future so that is something to keep in mind. Personally I would hate to spend a significant amount of money on a board only to find that no one else wanted to play on it in a tournament setting, or worse yet have the rules written so my board did not conform to them.
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Old 02-11-2011, 08:22 PM   #6
Daithi
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Re: My perfect backgammon set [Warning: Long Post]

Yeah, I know I'm in a clear minority preferring relatively smaller boards. I believe the 1 3/8" checkers produce a board that falls into the Danish Federation's minimum board size -- but just barely. I also wouldn't be surprised to see the USBGF or ABT adopt similar size rules, so if you're buying a new set then looking at no smaller than 1.5" checkers might be a good idea. Maybe what I need is two sets -- one for the pub and one for tournaments.
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:37 AM   #7
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Re: My perfect backgammon set [Warning: Long Post]

Can anyone tell me how to open a new thread? So far I have only learned how to reply.
There are some points of your long post that really deserve separate threads in order not to be lost in the forest of assertions.

For instance, the picture below shows a board with a non-leather exterior, but can be supplied with exactly the same color of leather exterior. To me the smell of leather is not significant. It helps sometimes distinguish leather by the smell, but not always. Some makers of PVC leather add a very successful smell in addition to making the ptoduct seem nearly the same as natural leather.



The suede fabric used for the surface is, as its name implies a synthetic product. But it's quality for the purpose is even better than many natural suede surfaces. Why? Because suede fabric has completely even thickness and color. Inlaid points fit better than natural material etc.

The simple chrome locks are sturdier than almost any lock - incl. the combination locks I use on my larger models. If one looks for sturdiness and not security - it is the lock of choice.

The soft handle has been (wrongly) denounced by some, but it is light and easily reparable, it does not need much space on the table and people can appreciate that. Ask a proffessional.
Starting from this S40 model I provide options for a hard handle and a Hard Bending Handle, but I am keeping the soft handle on my S33 model (33 mm checker)

I could discuss more about the themes, but it would take many times your post and not many would read it.

You could visit http://www.golden-anchor.com for more about sizes, surfaces, dice cups, precision dice, etc.
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Old 02-13-2011, 04:22 PM   #8
Daithi
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Re: My perfect backgammon set [Warning: Long Post]

svilo,

To start a new thread there is a button labeled "New Thread" that is located at the top of the grid displaying all the topics in this forum (I hope that was clear). I've actually considered getting one of your sets, but I think my heart is set on a leather interior.

I do however like the cups displayed in your picture. They have the oblong shape I prefer, and it also looks like they have the lip I was talking about inside them as well.

I hadn't thought about the handle, but I think you make a good point. Especially in regards to smaller sets where the design intentionally takes up smaller space. (The set in your picture is just about the perfect size for me.) I'm also not too concerned about a lock.

If there is any place to discuss the merits of what makes the perfect backgammon set this thread is it. Hopefully this is one of those types of posts that future purchasers of backgammon sets can use as a guide to influencing their purchasing decisions, so as a manufacturer of reasonably priced sets please let us know what you believe are the relevant themes behind a quality set.
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:19 PM   #9
BigWill
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Re: My perfect backgammon set [Warning: Long Post]

Well if we are going to make this a general thread on backgammon sets I have a couple of things to add on Crisloid sets.

I only started playing live club play about a year ago, and I went looking for a 1.75 in checker size set that was very reasonable as I don't use it all that often. I found a cork Crisloid board on a closeout deal online for $125. I ended up adding a couple of coats of poly urethane to the cork and the checkers would slide easily. The only real issue I had with it was that with some regularity you would end up with the dice spinning for what seems like ages before settling. This could be an issue if you are playing clocked and running short on time as a die spinning for 10-15 secs eats up your delay time. The other thing is the cork got nicked pretty easily.

I ended up watching the close out site until the Crisloid Queen Moc Croc with the ultra suede surface came down to $125. I figured the "ultra suede" would deal with the dice spinning (which it does) and play smoothly. I sold the cork board to a guy in our club for what I had paid for it so I was pretty even on the deal. The one issue I have with the queen board is that the points are not printed on the fabric. They are put on with some sort of material similar to that you will find on some t-shirt designs, and this material is pretty sticky so the checkers don't slide easily. I am hoping it might get smoother with wear as there does not seem to be an easy solution like there was on the cork board.
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Old 02-18-2011, 02:40 AM   #10
svilo
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Re: My perfect backgammon set [Warning: Long Post]

http://golden-anchor.com/0new/S441725AL.htm


seems i am dumb with this - i cannot insert an image and probably I cannot insert a link.

This is the one I just made 2 months ago. What is your opinion about all leather boards, bending handle, logo in box.

Last edited by svilo; 02-18-2011 at 02:45 AM. Reason: cannot insert image or link
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Old 02-18-2011, 09:43 AM   #11
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Re: My perfect backgammon set [Picture]

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Old 02-26-2011, 05:59 PM   #12
BestCherryGoose
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Re: My perfect backgammon set [Warning: Long Post]

I use persian and turkish sets.

I don;t understand why they are SO expensive on the net or ebay. I've literally bought these on the streets in the Middle East for 20 dollars.
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Old 02-26-2011, 06:24 PM   #13
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Re: My perfect backgammon set [Warning: Long Post]

Quote:
Originally Posted by BestCherryGoose View Post
I use persian and turkish sets.

I don;t understand why they are SO expensive on the net or ebay. I've literally bought these on the streets in the Middle East for 20 dollars.
Really? I got a gorgeous highly ornate mother of pearly inlaid wooden arabic board on ebay for £30. When it arrived I was so shocked at the quality and complexity of the work I nearly emailed the company back to ask if they had made a mistake. This was about a year ago so times may have changed but I can't believe by that much.

Is very loud and a little unruly to play on but as a piece of art it is truly incredible.
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Old 02-26-2011, 10:52 PM   #14
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Re: My perfect backgammon set [Warning: Long Post]

All of the sets pictured in this thread look outstanding, but I would like to add one more option. I have had one of these sets for a number of years and it has aged very well. The leather playing surface is fast and very smooth to play on and the case construction is phenomenal.

www.brahmaboards.com
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Old 02-28-2011, 11:12 AM   #15
Daithi
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Re: My perfect backgammon set [Warning: Long Post]

Those brahma boards are really nice, probably nicest custom boards I've seen. I'm strongly thinking about getting one myself.
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Old 04-27-2011, 12:11 PM   #16
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Re: My perfect backgammon set [Warning: Long Post]

The Brahma set is lovely but certainly doesn't meet the ideals of the main post. Can a well made attache, with an unstitched leather surface in tournament size with quality accoutrements be made for 300-600 dollars?

I agree that $900-3000 for a high quality tournament board is excessive. The only one I have seen, (online) is Franco Michelli's board and they no longer seem to be making the full sized board. I am considering one of Michelli's smaller boards with 1.5 inch checkers or one of Svilos boards with a fabric surface.
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Old 01-04-2015, 06:35 AM   #17
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Re: My perfect backgammon set [Warning: Long Post]

Here we are at the start of 2015 and there is still no backgammon boards that can communicate electronically. If I were serious about backgammon (in terms of tournament or high-stakes action) a board that electronically transcribes a game would be a must have.

In terms of playability, a board consistent with online play has numerous advantages,

1. It could offer a pip count--pretty much every gammon website gives players the pip-count. While there are ways of counting them over the board, I bet very few people under 30 have any clue how to do it. Most real boards don't even give you the point numbers. Not being able to manually take a pip count will cost you 2-5points on you GNU error rate when you don't have it provided. A mechanism for showing the number "over the board" will get more people away from their computers and into a real-world setting. This alone would revolutionize over-the-board backgammon.

2. I'd never want to play a serious match without having the opportunity to analyze it later. But it's not really an option over the board in most instances.

2. Transcriber error would be all but eliminated. Right now the matches either have to be videotaped or watched and manually entered. An electronic transcription would be faster and much more reliable.

3. A PC interface could give you real-time analysis that is totally accessible in every situation, even at home playing your wife.

4. In terms of high-stakes money games, electronic transcription settles any disagreement about where the checkers should be placed. If you've ever got somebody good and stuck at $100 a point and played for more than 10 hours straight you know what I mean. It could also determine when rolls are out of whack over time. Hell, you could even include a random number generator option and eliminate the dice all together. You could also include a match score and cube-value screen--even a timer.

It's crazy nobody has done this yet. All you'd have to do it put a chip in each checker to correspond with a chip in each point. You could put computer chips in each die and even the cube. All would communicate wirelessly to the processor in the board. Put a USB port and A/C Adapter in the side and you're good to go. I bet they have a system developed for chess that could easily be adapted for Backgammon. I bet once you get to scale the whole thing could be done for extra $20 a unit.

If you read this post and are inspired to take this challenge on, email me, because I want in! I've looked around the Internet and I can't find one anywhere. In terms of structure, I'd like see a "casinoized" design. Something loosely based on a craps table. I'd like to see slightly taller walls with craps table edging, top-quality dice, and manipulation-resistant cups. If I can't get all that, I wouldn't spend more than $150 on a board. If I could get all that I might pay a whole lot more.
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Old 01-04-2015, 07:31 AM   #18
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Re: My perfect backgammon set [Warning: Long Post]

In chess this is nowadays standard in each high level tournament. No random dice generator btw, every one would think they were cheated. But easier: simply elevtronic dice, which display the Numbers on pc, but always real dices plz. Finally its a good idea but backgammon players are not chess players: maybe one every 50 analyze their game snd their match trying to understand their errors but the vast majority thinks they play perfect and when they lose it was only due to bad luck obv
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Old 01-04-2015, 10:02 AM   #19
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Re: My perfect backgammon set [Warning: Long Post]

If there are ten million people playing backgammon and 1 in 50 analyze their games this board would prove a goldmine. However, I think it distantiates itself from its roots in pub and livingroom. Moreover, it is sensitive to fraud because a secretly built-in wireless connection could be made to a pc, which could signal a player by vibration or ear.
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Old 01-04-2015, 10:48 AM   #20
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Re: My perfect backgammon set [Warning: Long Post]

No fraud, i repeat in chess is standard in high level tournament. Simply backgammon isn't popular as chess so any change in the sets or in the rules Will take decades to take roots.
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Old 01-04-2015, 11:11 AM   #21
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Re: My perfect backgammon set [Warning: Long Post]

I just respond because I am eager to defeat you in this discussion. First of all, backgammon belongs to the gambling department, hence is more susceptible to fraud than chess. Secondly, I don't think that chess is played often for money in a non-tournament live setting, in anyway not for the amounts you find in backgammon.
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Old 01-04-2015, 11:57 AM   #22
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Re: My perfect backgammon set [Warning: Long Post]

The thing that an electronic board really has going for it is the ability to provide a running pip count. Your right in that not everybody analyses their matches, but everybody that can play even a little relies on the pip count when they play online. Once the first pip count reading backgammon board comes out it will be the go-to board for online players--who amount to 85% of all recreational BG players. The ability to transcribe the games is just icing on the cake.

I've been thinking about it. You put receivers in each checker, point, bear off tray and one on the bar.

You don't have to mess with the dice at all. After every roll the sensors keep track of where you move to determine the numbers on the dice. The move/roll then appears on the screen for confirmation, the pip count is updated, and the move is recorded. You could get fancy and put little green and red LED lights in the checkers, points, etc. if you make a legal move it lights up green until you confirm. An illegal move (non-equal doubles or moves of more than 11 checkers on the odd) would light up red until you changed positions. I don't think it would be that hard to do it.
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Old 01-04-2015, 12:36 PM   #23
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Re: My perfect backgammon set [Warning: Long Post]

Sorry, you have been disturbing my -obvious ...- topic.
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Old 01-04-2015, 01:12 PM   #24
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Re: My perfect backgammon set [Warning: Long Post]

Quote:
Originally Posted by yogiman View Post
I just respond because I am eager to defeat you in this discussion. First of all, backgammon belongs to the gambling department, hence is more susceptible to fraud than chess. Secondly, I don't think that chess is played often for money in a non-tournament live setting, in anyway not for the amounts you find in backgammon.
I switched from phone to pc to aswer better. (long and boring post obv)

Again I clarify that I'm not a random player but an advanced one. I study backgammon 1 hour a day and I play with good results and low PR.

Preamble:

Backgammon is basically an ugly game but it's really addictive. There's no point to play it if you dont have a mathematical view of life and a good aesthetical feeling and addictive personality.

But 99,9% of backgammon players are basically gamblers, not scientific and aesthetic inclined people. Even the best ones. They like to gamble and win money with that game. I am between players (0.01%) that likes the games as it is, that woud play a tournament without prizepool, and I am sorry that that game is related to money. Money pays the bills but stink like ****.

Players should play for the beauty of the game, for justice, not for money. And I say that even if i'm not millionaire obv. But almost nobody want: any player (maybe except me) prefer winning a 500$ tournament with a performance rating of 25 instead get out "on the bubble" with a PR of 3. And they refuse to change the rules to create a game much more variance-reducted. They don't like logical flow of events: if I'm ahead 20 pips I expect to win 99% of the time: but bg is not like that. Beginners almost touch the sky with one finger when they played with PR 25 and they hit 66 at the last roll and win the match. They hit 17-1 jokers and they feel the best players of the earth instead of feeling sorry about that shameless luck they had.

IT: The idea of electronic board and live pipcounting is perfect, and born with the best of intention. And to divulgate the game it would be very welcome. But why on earth I think that I'm contrary?

I'll never buy that board mainly because backgammon is not so diffused (I'm in italy but it's true worldwide with rare exceptions) and in turnaments on average you don't play that much games. Again it's the average mind of backgammon players: they like direct elimination tournament (GAMBLING AGAIN) that keeps the variance high instead of a more fair double robin tournament which keeps high skill, instead of luck. Deep run or better off play the consolation tournament. Deep run or Last chance.... lol, really the average player cares how he/she perform in tournament or do he/she simply play hoping to roll not bad and win at any cost the prizes?

And if I have to study my error it's simpler to analyze my games on gridgammon or on XG mobile: it's more pratical, its faster, much less expensive and tournament play isn't very different from that. Don't need to register an 11 point match or an open tournament: you will not play many of that and they will not be a good sample; mainly the error you do OTB are the same you do with XG

Pip counting. It's not fair providing perfect pipcounting to complete intermediate. I studied and practiced for two month to do an accurate pipcounting in 1 minute or so and that's a skill that I need my opponent to have in order to beat me.

Finally, chess electronic boad have ONLY this aim: to analyze a position for the audience during a grand master game aired on internet. Example: during the world chess championship every game is analyzed in the press conference by a chess journalist and a top rated player that NOT say what the best move is (any computer can do that) but the right direction of play and he tryes to explain to the audience what likely the two players are planning.

But in chess any on average (AVERAGE) each players think about 3-4 minutes per move in backgammon it's not even possible, because it's a game that has NOT the deepness of chess or go. Many moves are forced or obvious and the plans has NOT the deepness of a chess plan. And personally when I watched a taped match I don't need Falafel that explain me what's happening, only in particular difficult rolls or in particular difficult games I need that, but mostly bg is a RELATIVELY simple game to watch and understand (for picky readers: simpler than go or chess)

PS: I would NEVER AND NEVER play with an opponent board with random dice generator included and I think for sake of god that this statement doesn't need explanation.


To summarize: obv electronic boards by force is an improvement, but only for professional players. For the rest of the people is useless and expensive
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Old 01-04-2015, 04:58 PM   #25
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Re: My perfect backgammon set [Warning: Long Post]

I agree that the market for an electronic BG board would be limited to serious BG players. I'd say if one is ready to drop $150 or more on one, s/he considers herself "serious." Look at how many people buy XG when they can get GNU for free. Is XG $60.00 better than GNU? Will it help your game that much more than a program you can get free? iDK, but I guarantee that for every one mention GNU gets in the BG community, XG gets 10. It's just like any other product: Once it becomes fashionable everybody has to have it.

I think there's a valid argument that manual pip counting has become a thing of the past. Iif it were possible to automate it over the board it would very quickly become standard in club and tounement play. I too learned to count pips manually. But I'm willing to sacrifice this advantage if it brings more online players to real-world BG events.

Like XG, If high-quality electronic boards were made available to Tounement directors and top pros, it would become the goto board for serious players. How many people that amounts to is the question. A thousand boards a year worldwide at $300per is a conservative estimate, IMO. It might be possible to come up with a set of electronic checkers that could be used with any board. That'd be cheaper and more attractive.

My only point in even suggesting a random number generator was in relation to all the extras that could easily be added to an electronically equipt board. It certainly wouldn't be the only way to roll.
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