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From:   Alan Webb
Date:   18 January 1999
Subject:   I've found a home :)
Google:   77v3k8$m03$

I was having problems finding a suitable Backgammon server.

Probably the main problem was that I'm in Germany which may cause more lag
than perhaps is the norm. Anyway these are my PERSONAL observations.

Free Servers:

Yahoo:  Excellent administration (time outs for quitters etc). General
standard of player is average.. Major failing was bad lag. whether due to
my ISP or the Yahoo server I am unsure.

MS Zone:  Nice graphics, nice atmosphere, excellent competitions. General
standard average. Major failing was poor administration in rated rooms,
namely Zone server would boot whole rooms at a time and then have the cheek
to call it an abandon on your part which comes up in your "who is".

10 abandons and it used to be the case of 100 points deducted. Its changed,
but not that great a deal. They should accept quitters as FIBS do or run it
similar to Yahoo with time outs and resume options in my humble opinion :)

FIBS:  Of the freebies FIBS was by far the most stable server. General
standard was much higher than that of Yahoo and Zone, however its not for
the faint hearted and unless you wish to type in your moves (13-10 etc)
downloading a Graphical interface is highly recommended. Beggars Backgamon
Terminal is my favorite but I believe W/FIBS is also popular.  Graphics are
not wonderful (Xs and Os without an interface) but you are likely to find
top players and witness some excellent matches here. My only gripe would
be chat or discussing the game becomes a chore with each line needing a
prefix ("k" for kibitz / "t" for tell) Its frustrating completing a long
explanation of say why you didnt take a counter, to find you ommitted a
"k" before the sentence, meaning you need to repeat it all again.

Of the Freebies however Fibs even without its pretty graphics, comes out
clearly on top. Especially for backgammon enthusiasts like myself :)

There are other freebies.. Funcom, Netscape (TEN) to name 2, however to be
honest i only played in them once and was not that impressed. I believe
they havnt been long in operation mind.

Fee based servers:

Not being a wealthy man I confess to not having become members of all the
Fee based servers, fortunately most offer trial membership for limited
periods :)

Netgammon:  When I first saw this I was taken aback by the fine graphics,
options, features and very professional layout. It has more features than
you can shake a stick at, too many to list here. General standard was high.
I would have become a fully fledged member if it wasnt for one thing....
Freezes. I played on average 15 games as a trial member, literally 8 of
these resulted in screen freeze due to connection problems, resulting in
the need to log off then log back in again. There are 3 different servers
but having tried each, the problem persisted. Maybe due to the fact im in
Germany, I honestly dont know. If it was stable i would have paid my
membership fee straight away.

GameGrid:   Came across this one yesterday, as you can derive from the
above I havnt been 100% happy with any of the servers but I think Ive
found my backgammon home, so to speak :)

Now I have only played 6 games in Gamesgrid (It was 5 am in the morning :)
) as a guest which means no ratings are attributed. And to say Im impressed
would be an understatement.

The very second I logged in "Membership Desk" was there taking my hand and
asking if i wanted a guide of all things :). before I know it a stranger
("Chaser") who was not an official guide was asking if i needed any help. I
thought to myself hmmm what do they want ;) but these people genuinely were
making an effort to see that I felt "at home" and my experience was a
pleasant one. I was very impressed at the overall friendliness of the
site.. even in the lounge there wasnt the childish "soinso is a soinso"
rubbish.. it was really a pleasant atmosphere and i would like to thank
"Membership Desk" and "Chaser" (We had a great game BTW) for their

Again there were more features than you can shake a stick at and the
graphics options were amazing (3d or 2d boards with any colour you can
dream of :)  ) And NOT ONCE did I experience any form of lag or any
freezing. You can easily discuss the game as you play.. there are Macros
for common sentences and you can even make your own.. the list goes on.

All round Id place this server at the top of the tree. It costs 80$ per
year but its most definitely worth it. I strongly recommend anyone looking
for online backgammon to check it out on

There may well be servers I have not mentioned (known about) perhaps others
could comment about them.

PLEASE no flames from Sysops /administrators. These are my PERSONAL
observations, YOU may not have lag on Yahoo or screen freezes on
Netgammon.. best advice is for you to try them yourself.


Alan Webb

PS. Bill Robertie gives lessons on Gamesgrid. Anyone know how much he
charges? I DO know his books have improved my game a great deal.
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