Forum Archive : Miscellaneous

Backgammon computers

From:   Graham Bayne
Address:   graham@huckleberrys.net
Date:   14 March 2005
Subject:   Backgammon Computer?
Forum:   rec.games.backgammon
Google:   d14q1h$53b$1@hercules.btinternet.com

I am trying to find a backgammon computer. Not a software application
for a PC etc but a stand alone unit rather like a chess computer. I have
jellyfish for the Palm but really want something board based preferably
with actual pieces rather than a screen but either would do. I am in the
UK but would be happy to ship from anywhere in the world if necessary.
Any assistance would be much appreciated.

David Moeser  writes:

BG computers have existed but they never achieved commer-
cial success like chess computers.  A few of the companies that
made dedicated, stand-alone chess computers also dabbled in BG
computers at one time or another.  For example, I saw Fidelity's
BG Challenger at the U.S. Open chess tournament held in Fidelity's
backyard in Florida in 1985.  I don't recall whether it used real
pieces but it had a clumsy membrane keyboard for inputs which I
found awkward to use.

   Around that same time Radio Shack was selling a model called
'LCD Backgammon' which popped up again in some mail-order catalog
I saw in the last year or so.  I don't seem to have saved a copy
of that ad, but the original poster might try contacting the John-
son-Smith Company which publishes several mail-order catalogs in
the U.S.  One of their catalogs is called "Things You Never Knew
Existed," which includes many old items that disappeard from the
retail market decades ago.  Their question line is 1-800-853-9490;
e-mail customer service is at: custservjs at jsls dot com.

   I have 'LCD Backgammon' which I think may be the strongest of the
handful of models I've seen or heard of.  Using chess terminology
I'd call it Class D, maybe Class C at best.  The backgammon Masters
and Grandmasters have always labeled these hand-held BG computers as
very weak.  It's too bad there hasn't been a big-enough market to
attract the manufacturers to put out improved models with stronger
programming.  A copy of 'LCD Backgammon' upgraded to Class A or Ex-
pert level would be well worth the money in my opinion.

Frank Berger  writes:

I have about 8 Electronic Backgammons at home and all play a very weak
game. I collect them, but playing against them is boring.
If you want to buy one anyway, I recommend the Saitek with the sensor
board (there is also a version with a LCD-display, but that is rare).
The "Mephisto" and an older Saitek are also easy to use.
I don't know current sources, but they are sold on ebay from time to
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