Download 3DFiBs and play backgammon online at FIBS (first internet backgammon server).
3DFiBs is a free program for playing backgammon. You can download 3DFiBs to play online with real people at www.fibs.com.
The new versions are at
greedygammon.com they don't connect to fibs.com. 3DFiBs now connects to
its own private server. Can also play offline against the world class gnubg open source backgammon engine (www.gnubg.org)
Play Backgammon Online
For online games with real people, 3DFiBs connects to FIBS (first internet backgammon server) FIBS is a free non commercial service founded in the early 1990s and is supported entirely by donations and volunteers. The programs that players use to connect to FIBS are also mostly free programs written by fibsters. 3DFiBs is one of these programs. It is not directly affiliated to FIBS. It simply connects to the server and presents the functions in an easy to use graphical format. The original FIBS games were played on DOS type scrolling X|O representations of the board and moves had to be typed in as numbers (sounds like a nightmare but the brave pioneers of internet backgammon forged the way) For those of you too young to remember.. yes, there was a time before clicking on icons with a mouse was invented. Monitor screens were black and white, commands had to be typed in at a command prompt (a flashing C->) and there was no minimizing maximizing and moving windows around. You got one page and it took up the whole screen. Anyway.. those days are long gone (thank God) and we have nice graphic interface programs utilizing simple and intuitive point and click action for the mechanics of the game. The FIBS home page www.fibs.com has a list of these programs and there is something there for most operating systems including MAC, Windows, Linux and possibly others. For more information on FIBS, visit www.fibs.com and there is also a good FIBS discussion group at www.fibsboard.com
Play off-line against the computer
The off-line player uses a component from GnuBG, an open source and free nerual net backgammon engine that plays at a world class level. Backgammon neural net programs use cutting edge artificial intelligence technology to play the game of backgammon at a world class level that exceeds the best play of most humans. Computer players (bots) using this NN technique can also be found playing on FIBS where they hold the top rated positions which is a testament to their skill since they are not in any way affiliated with the FIBS server. The 3DFiBs player can save games in JF.mat format and give simple hints for best play. For further analysis, download the main GnuBG program which is a full featured player and analyzer.
Does it cheat?
A common complaint of people who are playing a NN (nerual net) backgammon program for the first time is "the program cheats". No, it does not cheat. If you are not conviced of this, try one of the NN programs (gnubg, jellyfish) that offer a "manual dice" feature. You will find that they win just as well either way. The perception that a skilled opponent is always incredibly lucky is a due to a combination of human nature..we remember our bad luck and forget the good rolls, and an ignorance of the subtle methods that experienced players use to maximize their chances. When you play against a world class opponent, you will lose lots of games but it is excellent practice and you will pick up on many nuances of the game especially on the cube action where the bots really shine. The matter of backgammon programs cheating is an old subject and there has been and continues to be plently of these types of discussions at backgammon forums like rec.games.backgammon Search that forum with keywords like "gnubg cheats" or "jellyfish cheats" and you can find and explore these arguments and make up your own mind.
If you find playing against gnubg to be too frustrating, you can still use it to improve by utilizing only the analyzer features to point out errors and study games you played elsewhere. The main GnuBG program from www.gnubg.org is a free full featured backgammon player and analyzer that rivals programs costing hundreds of dollars
Download and enjoy the wonderful game of backgammon with 3DFiBs !