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Play site wish list

From:   Perry Gartner
Date:   22 December 2012
Subject:   Internet Playing Site Wish List
Forum: Forums

Currently we run our online tournaments on Gridgammon. We will be exploring
partnering with Gridgammon, and possibly other sites, with the goal of
bringing our players an enhanced playing experience.

Please let us have your wish list for tournament play using Gridgammon as a
reference. What improvements would you like to see? For example, add
clocks, graphic changes?

Perry Gartner President, USBGF

Phil Simborg  writes:

1.  Nicknames that identify the player, and/or the ability to know the real
identity of everyone on the site. (Removing anonymity helps prevent
rudeness and allows you to make a judgment about the skill of the

2.  Ability to download matches easily, and import into XG.

3.  Ability to make comments by players and spectators, however, also the
ability to silence spectators, and/or to block spectator's comments from
being see by the players.

4.  A way to check the history of the player--who he has played, his w/l
record, how many games he has unfinished. Of course, it would also be great
if there was a way to track and post PR ratings of the players, but I think
we are not quite there yet with the technology.

5.  I would personally enjoy a playing site that, like Safe Harbor, offers
many tournaments at different times and lengths that are posted so you can
plan on what time you want to be on line to play in a tournament.

6.  I would like to see a playing site that offers commentary, so that an
expert commentator(s) can discuss strategy and plays during the match for
the audience. In a perfect scenario, the commentator's voice could actually
be heard by all the spectators, and the spectators can type their questions
and comments, and of course, the players would not see or hear the comments
while they are playing. In another scenario if there is an exhibition
match, I would like the players, themselves, to be able to be the

7.  It is important that any playing site have written guidelines for
acceptable behavior and they they strictly enforce them (expel people for
rudeness, foul language, cheating, political ranting, and stating anything
negative about me).

8.  It would be nice to have the ability for officials only to make general
announcements that is briefly seen by everyone on the site, alerting people
that a tournament is about to start, or an important championship or
exhibition match, etc.

9.  It would be nice if you could choose Nackgammon as an option.

10.  It would be wonderful if you could go back a week or so and find a
match you or someone else has played and still be able to download it and
import it into your XG.

11.  The ability to choose the direction of play and color scheme really
doesn't matter to me at all, but I know there are many who care about these
things, so if possible, it would be a plus.

12.  Sound affects such as loud clicks as the checkers are moved and a
sound when a checker is hit help the aesthetics of playing on a site.

13.  Having a rating system that separates the Open from Intermediate
players, or a ladder board for each of the two divisions, would be a plus,
as that way intermediate players have a chance to be ranked No. 1 etc. in
their own range of play, and that would make the site more interesting and
accessible for them. Naturally, once a player shows significant success in
the Intermediate over a given period of time, he would be required to move
up to Open so that other Intermediates have a better chance to win
recognition and/or prizes in the future. Also, there should be some
tournaments, ladder boards, or special events that are limited to
Intermediate players, again, so that they can enjoy more success on the

Michael Petch  writes:

Regarding item #6, one feature that would be good for those at a table with
"commentator" status would be for those people to be able to save any
position in a form that is easily imported into any bot. I'm suggesting
this for commentators and not necessarily all kibitzers. You don't want to
make it easier for anyone to take any position run it and then message
their friends playing.

A commentator would be able to promote any other kibitzer with special
privileges (like easy access to position data). The reason for this, is to
make the "Did anyone run that position". Many people are not adept to fast
transcription of a position.

Also implement VCR type functionality like GG to allow one to go back to
previous moves. As well in VCR mode commentators should be able to dump any
position for easy import into any bot.

For easier import, it would be nice if Bot developers came up with a simple
mechanism to send a position from the gaming site (by a commentator) that
would allow that position to appear and be analysed in a bot without much
human intervention at all. This saves on the hassle of saving the position,
and then loading it manually. It just appears in the bot when selected on
the gaming site, and voila - no fuss analysis.

Of course you don't want these "easy to analyse" options available to the
players (unless they are granted such privileges, or both players mutually
agree upon a setting when the match is started).

Tom Keith  writes:

1.  Automatic recording of all matches played on the site, with the option
for the players to make their matches public if they want to. Public
matches (and your own matches) would be searchable by player, date, rating,
etc. Some tournaments might make it a rule that you must publish your
tournament matches.

2.  Anonymous email service. You would be able to send email to another
user without knowing his email address. This allows users to keep their
email address private -- up to a point. (When you send email, your real
address becomes visible to the recipient.)

3.  Variance-reduced ratings system. This would take a lot of the "noise"
out of the ratings and give players a much more stable rating.

jdg  writes:


Tom Keith  writes:

> The aspiring player needs regular positive reimforcement in the form of
> instant gratification.

Many computer games have "achievements". Recognizing certain achievements
might add interest for new players. E.g.,

1. Winning 3 matches in a row, 4 matches in a row, etc.

2. Playing a game with an ER below x. Playing a match with an ER below x.

3. Unluckiest game ever; luckiest game ever.

4. Rolling doubles 3 times in a row, 4 times in a row, etc.

5. Rolling double sixes 3 times in a game, 4 times, etc.

6. Winning a game without hitting.

7. Longest time spent sitting on the bar.

8. Biggest comeback in a game. (Here, "comeback" is measured in terms of
pip count. So this would mean winning a game after being down some large
number of pips.)

9. Largest victory by pip count.

10. Most opposing checkers on the bar.

11. Priming the opponent; closing out the opponent.

12. Winning the game after being closed out.

(You would have the option to turn off achievements if you wanted to.)

Jason Lee  writes:

There are some good thoughts in this thread, that I need not add to. But I
have a list:

1. Clocks. This was mentioned before, but I think it's too good of a
feature not to have. The default time control can be very generous, but
there should be something.

2. No anonymity. Phil brought this one up, and I think it's a good one. You
should have to identify your "real" name -- then I'd like to have the
option to display "real names" or "nicknames."

3. The server should AUTOMATICALLY download your match log to your machine,
to a directory you can specify. (GG will do this now.) If a match is
interrupted, the server should hang onto the partially completed match log.
(GG does not do this now, and match interruptions frequently ruin the match
recording process.)

4. Please, please, PLEASE make "auto play of forced moves" opt-OUT and not
opt-IN. Please! Yes, there are a tiny handful of people who do not want
forced moved to be auto played for them, so I'm willing to concede having
the option to turn auto forced moves off. But please, it's just GOT to be
the default to have that on.

5. Here's the most important one: if the USBGF is running their tournaments
on a server, there should be automatic integration of the two sites. That
is, the playing server is aware of tournaments I'm in, the opponents I'm
currently paired with, and can notify me when somebody I'm due to play is
logged in. Then, when we finish a match, the result is AUTOMATICALLY
reported to the USBGF site. If that causes a new pairing, then the players
involved are immediately notified by email. The site also marks any ongoing
matches that are USBGF tournament matches, so that I can pop in and watch.


Bill Patterson  writes:

1.  Tournament play with divisions of beginners, intermediates, and

2.  Players can advance from one division to another according to number of
wins with Percentages won in relation to matches played.

3.  Symposium format as Safety Harbor on Sundays with some changes. Experts
and pros giving analysis after matches so that mistakes could be pointed
out.  In that way, the matches could go faster with symposium afterwards
with audience and players asking questions.

4.  Every match recorded with comments by the pros and experts also

5.  Prizes given after tournaments with honorable mention to players who
have improved in their play as judged by the experts and pros on hand
according to specifications determined by judges.

6.  Tournaments/symposiums scheduled and posted on bgonline and other
backgammon sites.

7.  I like gridgammon, however is there a way that all of this could be put
on webex or other communications with playing on extreme Gammon? I do not
know if this is possible and I do not know if there is a limit to audience.
Something to think about, if possible. These ideas would take care of being
not only tournaments but also learning about backgammon. Another learning
Did you find the information in this article useful?          

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


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