I always do absolute counts, not relative ones, and I've learned to do
them fairly quickly. Here are some tips:
- Stop using the pipcounter on FIBS! This is the most important thing
I've done. "toggle allowpip" will stop you from getting a pipcount
with the "pip" command, and also prevent your opponent from doing it.
- Learn a few simple patterns that come up often. For example, a
closed board with no spares is 42. Two checkers each on 4, 5, and 6
is 30. Two checkers each on 7 and 8 is also 30.
- Make sure you know multiples of 13 for the midpoint. Likewise for
18 with your opponent's bar point, although that isn't quite as
- Your opponent's 5-point is 20 pips. I tend to count checkers in my
opponent's board, multiply by 20, and then add in any differential.
- Figure out some way to remember your count while you do your
opponent's side. I've got a simple method of using my fingers to
remember the count, since I'm hopeless at actually remembering
numbers. (For a while, it was count my side, count my opponent's
side, oops! count my side again, geez, now count my opponent's side
again, give up.)
- Practice, practice, practice.
Another thing that I've found useful is learning when I need a precise
pipcount (races, etc.) and when an approximate one will do. If I
don't need absolute accuracy, I take shortcuts... two checkers on my
opponent's ace point is 50, for example.
One other thing... in a straight race, it's sometimes helpful to keep
a running count. Get an accurate count once, then keep track of
how it changes after each roll... e.g. I'm nine pips up. My opponent
rolls 5 2, now I'm two pips up. I roll 6 4 and I'm twelve up. etc.
If you've ever played blackjack and counted cards, you'll find this
quickly becomes second nature. It's possible to do it in contact
positions, too-- I did this for several games, keeping a running
pipcount from the opening roll on. While it can be done, I found that
it wasn't all that useful, and it distracted me from bigger issues.
Patti Beadles |
firstname.lastname@example.org | Algolagnia abounds!
or just yell, "Hey, Patti!" | One bad cube can ruin your entire day.