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Old Sep 28, 2009, 02:20 PM   #1
athand
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Best backgammon on iPhone?

I'm looking for a really good backgammon for my iPhone. Searching in several game reviews websites didn't help; Strange but seems that there are only a few backgammon implementations on iphone and most of them not worth the cost.

So far I've got one named Backgammon Touch. Not bad but I wonder if something better exists.

Would love to hear your opinions!
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Old Sep 28, 2009, 06:21 PM   #2
Galley
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I'm no expert, but the backgammon included with Astraware Board Games is pretty good.
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Old Oct 23, 2009, 07:20 PM   #3
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Backgammon NJ

If you're looking for a very strong computer AI, our app, Backgammon NJ, plays on the level of GNU Backgammon (an open source desktop program that plays at world-class levels). It also includes features that can help you learn to play better by showing you the best moves to make in each situation. Backgammon NJ is relatively new, first released on 9/1/09.

You can read more about the game here:

http://iphone.njsoftware.com

Since it's quite difficult for most players to win against the AI on the hardest skill setting, we've had a number of people who have posted (false) reviews that our app cheats. However, we've incorporated a couple features in the game which definitively prove that it doesn't cheat. If you're willing to make the effort to use these features, you can assure yourself that the game is honest. More info about these features can be found here:

http://www.njsoftware.com/note.html
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Old Oct 23, 2009, 08:39 PM   #4
athand
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I've got Backgammon NJ a few weeks ago. I have to admit it's much better than any other iPhone backgammon app I've tried before. AI seems ok though a bit too hard even at easy skill level, but so far I didn't notice anything bad like dice cheating.
As an app still has some rough edges (mostly UI related) and I hope it will get improved in future updates.
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Old Oct 23, 2009, 09:16 PM   #5
njsoftware
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That's great that you found our app even before we posted.

If you're just starting out with backgammon, using the Hint button a lot (even if it doesn't glow) will really help to show you which moves are best. You can also check your player skill percentage in the stats to see if you're improving. It ranges from 0% (worst, making random moves) to 100% (making the best moves).

We've also added a Casual skill level to the next update (v1.2) which is easier than the current Easy level. The update has already been submitted to Apple for review, so it should be released in the next week or two.

We've found that people are pretty happy with the UI as well as the look and feel of the game. What types of UI-related suggestions do you have?
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Old Oct 24, 2009, 03:28 AM   #6
athand
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We've found that people are pretty happy with the UI as well as the look and feel of the game. What types of UI-related suggestions do you have?
I do like the plain and polished UI. Just missed a few options I'm used to.
A visual dice roll would be nice. I don't mean something graphically intensive, just a bit better than the current plain one.
Then an option to customize checkers and position highlighting colors, maybe board too.
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Old Oct 24, 2009, 05:03 AM   #7
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Just bought Backgammon NJ on the strength of this thread. Thanks. Really like it and have to say it is one tough cookie I used to be quite a good Backgammon player but haven't played in a long while and am having some pretty close games (but only on easy at the moment!!).

Just wanted to say well done to the devs. This is a very nice app.
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Old Oct 24, 2009, 06:25 AM   #8
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athand, ah we see, you're looking for more color customization options. v1.2 includes a high contrast color scheme option which uses beige-colored checkers instead of white. The main purpose was to provide higher contrast from the white points. We're planning to include more checker color options in future updates and also possibly additional board choices.

LostLogik, thanks for your comments and for trying Backgammon NJ!
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Old Oct 24, 2009, 08:23 AM   #9
LostLogik
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Been playing Backgammon NJ quite a lot this morning and pleased to see I' currently running at 50:50 games won and 52% points, with one Gammon to my credit (still on easy). It's coming back (and no hints used)

Know it's repetition but I really like this rendition.

Edit: Coming on leaps and bounds - skill now showing 94% on Medium. Man, matches get tense!

Last edited by LostLogik; Oct 24, 2009 at 01:29 PM.
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Old Oct 24, 2009, 09:45 AM   #10
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All in all, BNJ AI is a hard opponent even on easy skill level though this is definitely a plus point.

Great job, njsoftware!
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Old Oct 24, 2009, 09:51 AM   #11
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To NJ software:

I also purchased your backgammon game and really like it. However, there are a few suggestions I have to make it a bit better. Have you seen the backgammon game by posimotion? http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/M...285394189&mt=8

It implements a portrait view and has bigger checkers, plus "shakable" dice. Could you perhaps make a portrait view option? Also, perhaps enlarge the checkers a bit for those of us with bigger hands, and maybe implement a way to use the accelerometer for the dice? This would make your game far superior to the others.
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Old Oct 24, 2009, 11:56 AM   #12
njsoftware
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Thanks, we'll be sure to watch this thread and keep your comments and suggestions in mind for future updates!

Some comments:

- Under stats, Checker Play Skill Percentage is a good indicator of how well you're playing. It doesn't take into account forced moves or hints. Thus, it only looks at the unforced moves you make without hints and will give a good indication of how well you're moving (0%: worst moves, 100%: best moves, or somewhere in between).

- Putting the board in portrait mode would actually make the points thinner (less wide) and thus the checkers smaller (since they are circles). Also, does Posimotion's backgammon have an option for or mode with larger checkers? In their screenshots on iTunes, their checkers are smaller than ours, 22 pixels wide (theirs) vs. 23 pixels wide (ours).

- When tapping in Backgammon NJ, you don't actually have to tap on the checkers themselves. You can tap anywhere on a point to select both checkers and points to move to. There's also some leeway as to where you can tap. This leeway is about the width of one extra point on each side, depending on whether there are other possible valid selection points nearby. We thought about making this leeway the width of two points in v1.2 but took that out at the last minute because we thought it might be confusing if tapping too far away selected things. But we can look into putting it back if you think it would help.
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Old Oct 24, 2009, 12:43 PM   #13
LostLogik
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njsoftware View Post
- When tapping in Backgammon NJ, you don't actually have to tap on the checkers themselves. You can tap anywhere on a point to select both checkers and points to move to. There's also some leeway as to where you can tap. This leeway is about the width of one extra point on each side, depending on whether there are other possible valid selection points nearby. We thought about making this leeway the width of two points in v1.2 but took that out at the last minute because we thought it might be confusing if tapping too far away selected things. But we can look into putting it back if you think it would help.
I personally don't have any problem with the setup for tapping as it is currently and find the ui very intuitive, and as you say, just tapping the point you want to go to works very well, either the sum of the throw or individual dice.
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Old Oct 24, 2009, 01:22 PM   #14
Zman3001
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njsoftware View Post
Thanks, we'll be sure to watch this thread and keep your comments and suggestions in mind for future updates!

Some comments:

- Under stats, Checker Play Skill Percentage is a good indicator of how well you're playing. It doesn't take into account forced moves or hints. Thus, it only looks at the unforced moves you make without hints and will give a good indication of how well you're moving (0%: worst moves, 100%: best moves, or somewhere in between).

- Putting the board in portrait mode would actually make the points thinner (less wide) and thus the checkers smaller (since they are circles). Also, does Posimotion's backgammon have an option for or mode with larger checkers? In their screenshots on iTunes, their checkers are smaller than ours, 22 pixels wide (theirs) vs. 23 pixels wide (ours).

- When tapping in Backgammon NJ, you don't actually have to tap on the checkers themselves. You can tap anywhere on a point to select both checkers and points to move to. There's also some leeway as to where you can tap. This leeway is about the width of one extra point on each side, depending on whether there are other possible valid selection points nearby. We thought about making this leeway the width of two points in v1.2 but took that out at the last minute because we thought it might be confusing if tapping too far away selected things. But we can look into putting it back if you think it would help.
Actually their screenshots do not have the portrait mode pictured. I guess the portrait mode makes the checkers seem bigger, because it actually takes the landscape board and kinda squishes it into portrait mode, not sure if you can picture that, if you cant I could take a screenshot.

I do think a portrait mode would be great if it could be implemented with decent sized checkers. Also, accelerometer dice would be great.
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Old Oct 24, 2009, 01:33 PM   #15
LostLogik
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zman3001 View Post
Also, accelerometer dice would be great.
Funnily, that's one thing I don't want. I don't use it in any of the othe dice games I've got, as picking up the phone and shaking it detracts from looking at the board, which I like to see in front of me. Horses for courses as the saying goes.
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Old Oct 24, 2009, 03:06 PM   #16
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Funnily, that's one thing I don't want. I don't use it in any of the othe dice games I've got, as picking up the phone and shaking it detracts from looking at the board, which I like to see in front of me. Horses for courses as the saying goes.
It would be optional, as in the posimotion game. You can either shake the ipod to roll the dice or touch them to roll as per usual. Its always good to have extra options.
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Old Oct 24, 2009, 06:25 PM   #17
njsoftware
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If we put in a feature that we think not everyone would like to use, such as shake to roll, it would definitely be an option that players can choose to turn on or off.

We were able to find a screenshot of the Posimotion portrait mode here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/23104291@N03/2298755476/

Their checkers are actually the same size as in their landscape mode, 22 pixels. So it was probably just an illusion that they look larger to you. It makes sense tho, as portrait mode has less horizontal space, so it would be somewhat difficult to have larger checkers in a smaller space. As you can see from the screenshot, they had to space their points closer together in portrait mode than in landscape mode.
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Old Oct 25, 2009, 05:27 AM   #18
athand
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Their checkers are actually the same size as in their landscape mode, 22 pixels. So it was probably just an illusion that they look larger to you. It makes sense tho, as portrait mode has less horizontal space, so it would be somewhat difficult to have larger checkers in a smaller space. As you can see from the screenshot, they had to space their points closer together in portrait mode than in landscape mode.
Posimotion's portrait mode looks horrible. Personally I'd prefer a smaller but less stretched board. After all, portrait mode is only occasionally useful e.g. when playing single-hand.
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Old Oct 25, 2009, 06:53 AM   #19
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And after playing a long stint of matches, one thing definitely needed is (a) option to resign, (b) AI to recognise no hope position and resign. Got a bit fed up playing rounds that had obvious outcomes (and no, not just me being thrashed )
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Old Oct 25, 2009, 08:35 AM   #20
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And after playing a long stint of matches, one thing definitely needed is (a) option to resign, (b) AI to recognise no hope position and resign. Got a bit fed up playing rounds that had obvious outcomes (and no, not just me being thrashed )
We added the option to resign for both the human and computer players in v1.2 (the update that's already been submitted to Apple). v1.2 also adds 2-player mode (human vs. human) and additional options.
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Old Oct 25, 2009, 02:03 PM   #21
doug in albq
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backgammon is not backgammon unless it will play at FIBS (first Internet backgammon server)

There is only one backgammon game for the iPhone that works with FIBSócalled backgammon on line, or online backgammon, or something like that.
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Old Nov 2, 2009, 10:48 AM   #22
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Just a note about Backgammon NJ v1.2, in case someone noticed. When we put in the new Casual skill level, we inadvertently made Easy level play at the same difficulty as Hard level.

We've submitted a fix (v1.2.1) to Apple and asked them to expedite reviewing it. Not sure how long it will take them to release it, since we've never asked them to expedite anything for us before. But hopefully, the fix will be released in the next week.

All of the other skill levels (except Easy) should be playing at the correct difficulty.

We've also just released Backgammon NJ Lite, a free app with full functionality and no ads. The only difference from the full version is that the lite version includes manual rolls only, where you'll need to roll real dice and enter the rolls into the game.

If you want to know how well the Backgammon NJ AI plays, the lite version is a good way to test it out. To do a thorough test, make sure to play several complete matches to 15 points.
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Old Nov 4, 2009, 01:46 AM   #23
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Just a note about Backgammon NJ v1.2, in case someone noticed. When we put in the new Casual skill level, we inadvertently made Easy level play at the same difficulty as Hard level.
No problem; mistakes happen all time.
Any comments on FIBS multiplayer? That would be the greatest feature if ever implemented.
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Old Nov 4, 2009, 11:55 AM   #24
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Any comments on FIBS multiplayer? That would be the greatest feature if ever implemented.
We currently don't have plans to implement FIBS multiplayer functionality. Our focus is mainly on our computer AI and features related to it. However, there is already an iPhone app with FIBS functionality that was mentioned previously in this thread. We're not associated with the developer and haven't tried it ourselves, but you may want to check it out if you don't already have it.
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Old Nov 4, 2009, 04:29 PM   #25
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Best backgammon with "Peer to Peer" gaming.

The ONLY one in the App Store that offers human vs. computer, human vs. human on the same iPhone, and human vs. human using peer to peer.

It's call Backgammon Premium, it is only a $1.99

http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/M...299466740&mt=8

The interface is a bit ugly compare to the rest, but a new 2.0 version will fix that.
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