Don’t want to spend a few hundred bucks to buy one of the commercial backgammon training software programs like Snowie or Jellyfish? Won’t even spend twenty bucks for some used backgammon strategy books on Ebay?
This guide is for you! Here you will learn a quick way to become a very good backgammon player without spending a penny.
Step 1: Get GNU Backgammon
GNU Backgammon is free backgammon software that plays backgammon at a championship level. More importantly, GNU Backgammon has a built in tutor that helps give you make the right plays, and an analyzer that can check your games and matches for errors. More on this later.
First, you will need to download GNU Backgammon at http://www.gnubg.org and install it on your computer. GNU is an unreleased “alpha” program but works just fine. If you find a bug or glitch, don’t worry – the program is free!
Step 2: Adjust the settings
Launch GNU Backgammon. Then click “New” to start a new game or match.
In the “Player Settings” select “GNU Backgammon vs Human”. Also select “Tutor mode”.
Then click “Modify player settings.” Now set “Checker play” to “Supremo”. Also set “Cube decisions” to “Supremo”. You can set them higher if you wish but it may make GNU Backgammon a frustratingly slow opponent since it may spend too long looking ahead and thinking about the correct move.
Step 3: Play against GNU
Now you’re ready to play. Since you are in “Tutor mode”, GNU will alert you whenever you make a bad checker play or bad cube decision. When this happens, click “Hint” to find out what the correct play should be.
Another good way to learn is to make your move, then click “Hint” before you accept your move to make sure you made the correct play. It’s important that you try to make the best play yourself first before you rely on GNU’s advice. That’s the active approach to learning you will need to become an expert backgammon player.
Of course, you will need to reason out for yourself why the move that GNU recommends is correct. But that shouldn’t be a problem for you. You might be a cheapskate, but you’re smart!
Step 4: Analyze your game or match
When you are done playing, use the “Analyze” menu to analyze your game or match. GNU will highlight any misplays. Go back and re-examine those plays for yourself, again using the “Hint” feature as an aid.
That’s all there is to it. Play with GNU for a while and you will be pleasantly surprised at how your game improves. Of course, once you get more familiar with GNU you will want to explore more settings and features that can further help you learn.
Finally, lets take our hats off for the folks at GNU for creating this helpful free program. Ladies and gentlemen at GNU, our wallets thank you.