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Subject: Good Software? rss

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The one and only (but one of two in BGG)
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Is there anything remotely like the Chessmaster software package for backgammon?

I have Jellyfish Lite, and I'm happy enough with it. It plays a mean game, and it's free, and it always runs just fine. But it's so plain-looking, so lacking in bells and whistles. Even my free Android smartphone app looks and sounds better (though it plays a much weaker game).

Looking for something pretty and good, I guess. Ideally something that evokes the whole backgammon culture, the way Chessmaster does for chess.


 
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BackgaMMON IS A GOOD OPPONENT.
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Tim Koppang
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I don't know what platform you are running, but I'll put in another vote for GNU Backgammon. It has one of the strongest AIs available, you can run it on a number of operating systems with a multitude of graphical options, and it has many very useful features. For example, you can run it in tutor mode, you can perform roll-outs, and you can play variants such as Nackgammon. My only criticism is that the program is perhaps configurable to a fault. I recommend a good tutorial.

Especially because the price is free, GNU Backgammon is worth a try.
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The one and only (but one of two in BGG)
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tckoppang wrote:
I don't know what platform you are running, but I'll put in another vote for GNU Backgammon. ...
Especially because the price is free, GNU Backgammon is worth a try.

Thanks! I'll have to look into that tonight or this weekend.

Oh, and I was talking about Windows 7, I guess. Looking for something to run on a netbook computer my wife recently bought me.
 
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From what I hear, on Windows, the best AI is now eXtreme Gammon, but that's a commercial program. It's worth knowing about, though, as many players use it for roll-outs and analysis.
 
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tckoppang wrote:
From what I hear, on Windows, the best AI is now eXtreme Gammon, but that's a commercial program. It's worth knowing about, though, as many players use it for roll-outs and analysis.

Thanks. I don't necessarily need the best AI, though. I'll never be an expert player; I'm happy to play in the intermediate range. I'm more interested in a game that looks and feels complete--one that has plenty of "ambience" (eye and ear candy and all that, as well as user-friendly features).

That's why I gave Chessmaster as an example. When I load any version of that game, I feel like I'm in the chess world, playing a real, meaningful game with a real person. It's only a simulation, but it engages my imagination. It's more than just a bare-bones chess program that plays well. I already have a backgammon game like that--Jellyfish Lite.
 
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Ah, I see. I didn't mean to emphasize the strength of the AI so heavily. I bring it up more because, in conjunction with the tutor and analysis features, a better AI helps to provide more reliable teaching results.

Both programs I mentioned provide a pleasant experience. I've never used Chessmaster, but, based on screenshots from the website, Chessmaster is probably a bit more atmospheric. From personal experience, though, I've played countless games against GNU BG and find the graphics and interface quite serviceable. If the mood suits you, you can even run the program full-screen and pull up the power features only as needed. My personal preference is to play money games for an hour against the computer just to see if I can come out ahead. By the end of a session, I've usually managed to personify my silicon opponent.

Good luck!

UPDATE: Well, go figure, now I want to go play Backgammon.
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Todd Redden
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tckoppang wrote:
From what I hear, on Windows, the best AI is now eXtreme Gammon, but that's a commercial program. It's worth knowing about, though, as many players use it for roll-outs and analysis.

I just dl'd extremegammon and I'm sure it's quite strong, but it is expensive! I won my first game when he refused to accept my double to 4 points, so I won 2 points, but he always seemed to make good and sound moves. It has a lot of options for setting the AI. Still, I'll have to save up for a while to afford it.
 
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Todd Redden
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Patrick Carroll wrote:
tckoppang wrote:
From what I hear, on Windows, the best AI is now eXtreme Gammon, but that's a commercial program. It's worth knowing about, though, as many players use it for roll-outs and analysis.

Thanks. I don't necessarily need the best AI, though. I'll never be an expert player; I'm happy to play in the intermediate range. I'm more interested in a game that looks and feels complete--one that has plenty of "ambience" (eye and ear candy and all that, as well as user-friendly features).

That's why I gave Chessmaster as an example. When I load any version of that game, I feel like I'm in the chess world, playing a real, meaningful game with a real person. It's only a simulation, but it engages my imagination. It's more than just a bare-bones chess program that plays well. I already have a backgammon game like that--Jellyfish Lite.

Extremegammon has the bells and whistles you're looking for, and more. It's really more on level with Fritz (a far more glittery chess app than Chessmaster.) If you have $60 to spend I'd go for it!
 
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tmredden wrote:
Extremegammon has the bells and whistles you're looking for, and more. It's really more on level with Fritz (a far more glittery chess app than Chessmaster.) If you have $60 to spend I'd go for it!

Looks impressive. Not keen on the screenshots, though. Are there really animated pairs of hands moving pieces around? I used to have a card game like that and didn't like it.
 
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tckoppang wrote:
From what I hear, on Windows, the best AI is now eXtreme Gammon, but that's a commercial program. It's worth knowing about, though, as many players use it for roll-outs and analysis.

Is it really as ugly as it looks from the screenshots?

Any idea how it compares to some of the iOS offerings, like Backgammon NJ?
 
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Aldaron wrote:
tckoppang wrote:
From what I hear, on Windows, the best AI is now eXtreme Gammon, but that's a commercial program. It's worth knowing about, though, as many players use it for roll-outs and analysis.

Is it really as ugly as it looks from the screenshots?

Any idea how it compares to some of the iOS offerings, like Backgammon NJ?

The hands are a little phony looking but the interface is smart and quick. I like how it does everything the fastest possible way, including rolling off for you at the end. Take backs are easy and game review is really nice with arrows showing where your stones originated. It's really pretty nice, but it better be for that price!
 
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I'd suggest Gnu Gammon again - you can play tourney's with it and it will give you everything you need - rollouts, takebacks, full game analysis, all of it. If you're looking for a consistent, difficult opponent to improve, you can stop right there. You can also set the level it plays out - useful to gage progress for yourself.

And it's free. Win win.
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Tim Koppang
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markgravitygood wrote:
I'd suggest Gnu Gammon again...

Its 3d graphics are fairly nice as well. Plus, no hands.
 
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