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MSN Gaming Zone--Overall experience

From:   Mark Ferrante
Date:   16 November 1997
Subject:   Re: Internet Gaming Zone

> I am really enjoying the Internet Gaming Zone.  Was suprised this was
> not mentioned as one of the good bg sites.

It is the best site! Fibs and the other have graphics that are
horrible. How anyone could like those sites is beyond me. What people
have at The Zone is far more than they will find anywhere else and I
know as I have been to all of them.

People who do not visit: are doing themselves a

I might also add that for those who enjoy The Zone, you should join
the Backgammon ladder at:
Great place to post challenges and compete and just have lots of fun.

Kevin Bastian  writes:

It's not the graphics that keeps people playing on FIBS, although
they're perfectly fine. It's the caliber of play.  As a tournament
player I'm an intermediate player with absolutely no illusion of being
better than that. There are TONS of players on FIBS who can have me for
lunch at will.

Clearly, "different strokes for different folks," and if the virtual
reality setting is what one is looking for, then the Zone might be the
best. The one time I played on there, it seemed like it was very strong on
3-D animation but light on skillful backgammon opponents. I will
acknowledge that the latter observation might have been too harsh or too
hasty. I've just never heard any of any of the top players who play on FIBS
also playing on the Zone. Nor have I ever seen any r.g.b posts from Zone
players commenting on anything but "how neat" the Zone is.

Mark Ferrante  writes:

Ok, maybe there are better players on FIBS, but not everyone is a
great player. Also, the ability of players was not the focal point of
my initial post.

As I stated before, there are many great players in The Zone. Two
rooms for those competitive types are there. Right now, I am just an
average player so I enjoy the people I play against. Maybe you might
try it and see what you think now? You may feel about FIBS as I do
about The Zone--I am satisfied there so I feel no need to go anywhere

Patti Beadles  writes:

Since I have IE on my work PC, I decided to wander over to the Zone
and see what it was like.  Here are my observations:

- Pretty board.  Drag-and-drop for checker handling slows down play
  quite a bit.  You had to make intermediate moves... 13-3 had to be
  played 13-7-3.  The board colors were hard to see on my laptop, and
  I couldn't find a way to change them.
- Breaking areas up into competitive and social is a good idea.
- There's no rating or other history mechanism, so you have no clue
  about the strength of your opponent, or what his experience is, or
  even what host he's coming from.  The only information you have is
  his name.
- The "choose an opponent" mechanism is awkward.  You sit down at a
  table and wait to see who appears.  I still haven't figured out
  exactly what the choose-a-match-length mechanism is.  Are there
  options for money games, Jacoby rule, beavers, turning off Crawford,
- What happens if you drop in mid-game?  Is the game saved?  I have
  no clue.
- The game seemed s-l-o-w.
- The only communication mechanisms are shoutlike and kibitzlike....
  there was no "talk to one player" mechanism except at the table.
- There's no automove or greedy type option, and you're forced to roll
  the dice even if your opponent holds the cube or if you're closed out.
  This slows gameplay way down.

On Sunday evening, I couldn't get a game in any of the competitive
rooms.  The users were very snotty, and talked to me only long enough
to chew me out for sitting down at a tournament table.  (How the heck
was I supposed to know it was a tournament table?  There's no
indication anywhere.)  So I went over to the social area and found a
game, and was dropped on shortly after closing my opponent out.

As mentioned elsewhere, the zone is ActiveX based, and therefor only
accessible through MSIE.  It also isn't accessible through a firewall,
and the errors that you get in trying to do so are extremely cryptic
and awkward.

Summary: it's pretty, the interface is extremely unsophisticated,
it lacks most of the features that I would want in a competitive
environment, it's slow, platforms are limited.  It seems like
something that would be OK for occasional social players.

And most of the screens contain ads.  Thankfully, they were left off
of the actual board.

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