Forum Archive : Software

Mac: Expert Backgammon (player)

From:   Butch Meese
Date:   2 February 1993
Subject:   Review: Program for PC

Expert Backgammon - Version 1.6
                             A Program for the PC
                    Reprint from HBC Newsletter Nov-Dec 1992
                                by Butch Meese

    Expert Backgammon was unveiled at World Cup III Backgammon Tournament
in August.  It is a PC version of the Expert Backgammon that Tom Johnson
has written for the MAC (Macintosh).  Tom Weaver worked over a year to
bring it to life on the PC.

The PC version is rich in features:
  1) Two play modes: heads-up and match.
  2) Roll-outs capability.
  3) Sound selectable OFF/ON.
  4) Positions and games can be saved and retrieved to/from files.
  5) Dice automatically rolled or entered manually.
  6) Can invert the position.
  7) Five levels of difficulty.
  8) Can take back move.
  9) Variable speed of checker movement, user selectable.
 10) Jacoby Rule is selectable during heads-up games.
 11) Can beaver during heads-up.
 12) Print-out of individual games.
 13) Match equity is displayed after each game or on demand.
 14) Pipcount displayed.
 15) All settings and board position are saved when the program exits
     so you will be at same conditions the next time you run the program.
 16) Cube setup option.

    The user interface is quite good; requires VGA monitor.  The backgammon
board fills the screen and is easy on the eyes.  The dark gray and black
board has light gray and blue pips with red and black checkers.  The arrow
and space keys provide easy control of all movements of the checkers.

    It lacks written documentation, but for the experienced PC and
backgammon person, that should not be a problem.  The built-in Help Menus
are only a few keystrokes away.

    The speed of the checker movement is selectable from 1 (fastest) to
99 (4 seconds between each move).  I suggest playing at the speed of 20
because playing at the fastest speed, you may miss what the program plays.
You cannot notice a difference by changing the speed by one or two
settings. It might be better to have only 20 settings from 1 to 20.

    The roll-out feature is the most valuable and interesting for students
of the game.  You can choose whether the dice rolls will be random, or a
cross-section on either side or both sides.  You must select how many games
are to be played.  There are three options on what will be displayed as the
roll-out runs:  1) You can watch the checker movement of every move with an
up-date shown on the bottom of the screen as the roll-out progresses. 2)
The second option shows only a summary on the screen that is up-da ted
every game.  3) The third option only up-dates the user on what game it is
on every 50 games.  The big difference in the options is the total time
needed to complete the roll-out.  Displaying the checker movement requires
the most time.  Even on the fastest option, it takes hours to do a roll-out
on a 25MHz-386.  After a roll-out, the user has the option to print the
results complete with board diagram.  Because of the current level of play,
not all results can be trusted.  No-contact and bear-off positions should
be fine.  The best way to check-out the program is to set-up the position
and manually enter the rolls to see how it plays.

    So far, this is the best program available for the PC.  The play of
Version 1.6 is estimated to be at the Advanced Division level, meaning it
does make both questionable checker play and cube decisions.  Both
print-outs, game list and roll-out summary, could use some improvement.

    Special notice for those who have limited space on your hard drive:
The size of the program is over 400KB.  I used PKLITE to decrease the
size to just under 200KB.

    The price is $100 US plus shipping and handling; $5 in the US and $10
for overseas.  Specify 5 1/4" or 3 1/2" disk.

    Order from: Tom Weaver,
                8063 Meadow Road, No. 108,
                Dallas, TX 75231
                (214) 692-1234.

    You can also order either version, PC or MAC (Demo $5 or full
version $65), from Carol Joy Cole: (313) 232-9731.

Butch Meese butch@att!inuxy
AT&T CP, Indpls                 "Knowledge is a deadly friend if no one
Voice: (317) 845-6560            set the rules".
FAX: (317) 845-4727                  Rare Bird, British Rock Group

Butch Meese  writes:

About two weeks ago, I submitted an article for the Expert BG program
for the PC.  I stated that it was ported from a mac version and some
people have asked how they can get the mac version.

The information is below.

    Expert Backgammon for the Mac
        Demo Version $5.00
        Full Feature Version $65.00

    You can order from:
        Flint Area BG Club
        % Carol Joy Cole
        3003 Ridgecliffe Drive
        Flint, MI 48532
        (313) 232-9731

Butch Meese
Hoosier Backgammon Club
(317) 845-8435
Did you find the information in this article useful?          

Do you have any comments you'd like to add?     



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