Two Ways H.B. Breaks the Rules of Backgammon

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furdell
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Two Ways H.B. Breaks the Rules of Backgammon

Post by furdell » Tue Jan 16, 2007 3:53 pm

I love backgammon, so naturally I enjoy this game...but sometimes the rules of backgammon get broken, and that upsets me. Is it even a valid game if the first roll is technically illegal?

Anyway, here are three changes I'd like to see in H.B.:

1.) In backgammon, the players decide who rolls first by each of them rolling one die. The player with the higher roll uses both the dice to make the first move; in the event of doubles, the players roll again.

Therefore, opening rolls of doubles should be illegal...but they happen pretty routinely in H.B. I'm guessing the computer makes a 50/50 decision as to who goes first, then allows any roll by that one player.

2.) Here's a more rare mistake (I've only seen it once). Usually, the computer is pretty good about detecting "forced moves." However, there's a complex type of forced move that the computer won't force.

Suppose you roll a 6 and a 3. The board is set up in such a way that you can use the 3 in multiple different places, but you can only use the 6 if you use the 3 in one particular way. The rules of backgammon stipulate that you must use both dice if at all possible, so this move should be forced. However, in H.B., you can avoid using the 6 by using the 3 anywhere else.

3.) This last change isn't really rules related. I have a problem with the AI on Expert level: it makes terrible, terrible decisions. Sometimes it's just made me scratch my head, but on one or two occasions I was sure it was doing the wrong thing.

Example: we were in the process of bearing off. The computer had one piece at position 2 and several at position 1. It rolled a 3-1. The correct move here would be to bear off the piece from position 2 (using the "3"), and a piece from position 1 (using the "1"). Instead, it chose to advance the position 2 piece (using the "1") and then bear that single piece off (wasting the "3"!). There is no way that this could ever, ever, ever be correct -- and this is the hardest difficulty! I also have some philosophical problems with some of the Expert level AI's opening moves and dependencies on miracle rolls, but I can't prove that those moves are 100% incorrect.

There ya have it...

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Jonas
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Post by Jonas » Thu Jan 18, 2007 6:52 pm

Thanks for the post, we have both of those issues on our list-o-bugs we hope to fix and kick out a update pretty soon.

With the AI, yeah it's bound to do some very unhuman things on occation. It's a neural net so even the guy that created it for us really doesn't know how it came to the concultions that it did.

It's actually kinda an issue as it will do things that seem like moves a weak player may do, but it does other things really well, and so folks sometimes figure it must be cheating,but it actually just has developed a different logic through it's training.

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Post by Wanderer » Wed Jan 31, 2007 6:43 am

Try offering the cube to the computer player when he's born off a small number of pieces and you've born off almost all of yours. Even when the position is mathematically impossible to win from, the computer WILL take cube.

On the same theme, it'd be nice if the computer could recognise a lost game and gracefully resign before the cube was offered.

As Locutus of Borg said: Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated. :twisted:
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Rules

Post by Daronicus » Sun Mar 25, 2007 1:41 pm

Just to second furdell's post, I noticed the same two issues with H.B. going against standard backgammon rules. I have only played a few games, but I have already encountered the situation multiple times when the game allowed an opponent to move only one piece when it was possible to move both.

Ideally it would be nice to be able to specify the rule at the start of a game, whether standard backgammon rules or variants (family favorites), that are listed for each game table in the game rooms:
  • First round: 1) highest die moves first and must take both numbers (no doubles); or, 2) highest die gets to roll again (doubles possible)

    Subsequent rounds: 1) players roll dice to determine starter (no doubles); 2) winner rolls first (doubles possible); or, 3) loser rolls first (doubles possible)
Additionally, I agree with PurplePeril that it would be nice not to roll when a player is completely locked out on the bar.

Final question: is there any way to reserve a table only for a particular player? My girlfriend and I are temporarily on opposite coasts, and sometimes someone else joins my table while we are trying to connect. I feel so rude quitting the table and kicking someone out.
Last edited by Daronicus on Sun Mar 25, 2007 2:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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grandmaS
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Post by grandmaS » Sun Mar 25, 2007 2:06 pm

There isn't a way to reserve a table at this time, but rather then just kicking them, tell them sorry, I am waiting for someone, or waiting for my girl to get here, maybe we can play one later. Usually they will leave on their own, if not once you feel they had the few seconds to read your message go ahead and kick them.

I play with my brother from time to time, he is in another town and I have asked players to please leave so he can join me. I don't make the table until he is logged on so its just a matter of someone beating him to the seat.

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Wanderer
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Re: Rules

Post by Wanderer » Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:33 pm

Daronicus wrote: Final question: is there any way to reserve a table only for a particular player? My girlfriend and I are temporarily on opposite coasts, and sometimes someone else joins my table while we are trying to connect. I feel so rude quitting the table and kicking someone out.
Try waiting for your friend in the room where few people play. I believe it is called Gnome's Glen.
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WIST
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Re: Rules

Post by WIST » Mon Mar 26, 2007 5:29 am

Daronicus wrote:Final question: is there any way to reserve a table only for a particular player?
This might work for ya. What i do if i'm waiting for someone is simply put a bot in their seat. When your gal pal comes, have her sit as a watcher, then you kick the bot and ... ta da :lol: Give it a try.
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Re: Rules

Post by Wanderer » Mon Mar 26, 2007 7:29 am

WIST wrote:
Daronicus wrote:Final question: is there any way to reserve a table only for a particular player?
...put a bot in their seat.... kick the bot...
I thought of this but isn't it possible that the BOT might make a move if they were to go first?
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WIST
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Post by WIST » Mon Mar 26, 2007 12:45 pm

Just put the bot in the seat, but don't press the start button :D
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Post by Manny » Thu May 03, 2007 8:27 am

The orignial 2 issues (doubles on 1st roll and not forcing the larger die) have been addressed in the recent update.

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