Backgammon is a board game that I didn’t really know anything about until recently. I’m more of a Chess guy but I do like a good game of Stratego, Parcheesy (I know it’s not spelled that way but that’s how I say it), Checkers, Trouble, etc. You name it and I like playing it. Board games are fun in general but someone challenged me to Backgammon so I figured I needed to get good on it real quick. So I downloaded this app and learned the ropes. The game is definitely a little complex and there’s a lot of luck involved but I had a good time with it. It’s definitely a game worth playing.
So the general goal here is to get all of your pieces to your side of the field. You move in one way and the opponent can move in the other. Neither player can move backwards which is where a lot of the strategy comes in. The map is divided into 4 squares and you have pieces that start out on every side. So as you try to get your pieces to the goal, you can land on opponent pieces which sends them all the way back to the start. Their starting area will be your side of the field and vice versa.
There are 6 columns on each side and any column that has 2 or more pieces cannot be landed on by the opponent. So you can probably guess that a good strategy is to fill up as many of your columns with 2 pieces as possible. Then when you land on an opponent square, they may end up being frozen without a turn to play. You can’t get a piece back on the board if there is no space open after all so if you freeze up all of the columns then you almost guarantee victory. No guarantees 100% of course since the luck of the draw is around but it’s the strategy you probably want to use if possible.
There is a ton more to the rules beyond that so I recommend watching a few videos or studying up. This one’s not exactly a cakewalk to learn. As for the app itself, you can use it for local battles if you are next to someone but otherwise it’s mainly for online. You earn XP by winning, playing games, and eating opponent pieces. I was able to grind up to level 19 pretty quickly and 29 appears to be when you get the final unlockable so in a way it’s like I’ve almost beaten the game. I even won my challenge bout which was cool. The online battles are very seamless and I like the controls so the app is spot on there.
As for the dice rolls, I dunno it can feel a bit rigged to me. There’s no way to prove it of course but sometimes I’ll totally lock an opponent down and they get the perfect draw to move out of my trap. It happens just enough where it doesn’t feel like luck but of course that can be luck as well. It’s pretty funny that almost every review accused the devs of cheating as well but they respond to each and every review that they don’t cheat. I won’t actually make the accusation here but it always feels fishy to have luck in an online game.
I even dare say that a lot of the opponents I’m playing are bots and not real people. Supposedly they’re all real but a lot of them look so generic that I have serious doubts on that. Surely I’d be meeting more people without an avatar right? The game does have a lot of limitations though like not being able to change your profile picture. You would have to link your account to a Facebook account but can’t do that without resetting your progress. So my account just has an empty avatar which feels hollow but I guess I can put up with it.
There are no stats beyond your level to keep track of like play time or total battles. I’ve probably put in about 10-15 hours I’d say but there’s no way to know for sure. The final annoyance is that your collectibles are temporary. For example I’ve unlocked a lot of dice but you can only use them 10 times before they go away and you have to buy them again. Since I like to be a completionist what I did was I just don’t use them after I buy them. I use the default ones that never run out but the whole mechanic just feels annoying and pointless. I want to be able to actually use my stuff.
I’ve also got a few lucky shakers and items but doesn’t “lucky” imply that I’ll be given better odds for using them? That doesn’t feel very fair and sounds like pay to win. Hmmmm….there are definitely a lot of pay to win stuff you can do here like buying coins to help you level up faster and all. The prices are absolutely outrageous so I’d never even consider buying something but it’s there if you want to go fast I suppose. It doesn’t affect me as long as the dice rotations are still fair so I’m cool with it.
At the end of the day this is a fairly basic Backgammon app which is really just here to allow you to play people in real time at least in theory. So I’d say it succeeds in that area and I have a good time with it. It’s as barebones as can be but it lets me play the game which was my objective in the first place. If you want to play Backgammon then this is probably the best way to do it. It looks better than the other apps at least but I don’t know that for sure without playing them.
Overall, Backgammon Live is a fun game. Don’t expect any frills or extra features beyond the matches themselves though. So just do your best and win a lot of matches as you get used to the game. It doesn’t have any annoying ads or anything like that so I can pretty safely recommend it. I’ll probably have it around just in case I get any challenges but otherwise it’s not a game I’d be actively playing. I can now call myself a Backgammon pro though! Luck or not you can count on me to get the Ws heh heh.