BGRT Product Backgammon Tutor Frequently Asked Questions

Why does the computer seem to always get the right rolls when it needs them?

The computer uses an advanced neural network to calculate the value of each board. This neural network has been trained by playing over 300,000 games and contains tens of thousands of connections that allow it to figure out the best move by looking at all the resulting boards after making each possible move for a given roll. What we are trying to say is that the computer is a strong player, which makes it look like it gets the right rolls when it needs them.

Why does the computer seem to always expose pieces and I don't hit them?

The computer understands the probabilities of being hit by a particular roll and plays accordingly. If you play against expert backgammon players you will notice similar risk taking strategies employed by them.

Why is the Game Center button always grayed out?

You must go to the Game Center app and login with your account or create an account - for iOS 7 this must be done in the Settings app. Once you are logged in, go back to Backgammon Tutor and the Game Center button will now be enabled.

What is the difference between Local Network and Game Center matches?

Local matches are played with people in your vicinity using either Bluetooth connections (up to 30 feet) or WiFi. If you are using WiFi, both players must be connected to the same router. Game Center matches are with people on the Internet - both players must be logged into Game Center and must be configured for Game Center Multi-Player. You can find detailed instructions on this Backgammon Tutor Game Center Tips page.

How do I play games with other people on the Internet?

Please follow the instructions on the Backgammon Tutor Game Center Tips page to configure your device for Game Center play and then select the Game Center button on the main menu that becomes enabled once you are logged into Game Center. Once the Find Players screen is displayed, you can tap Auto-Match to look for a match.

Why can't I invite my friend to a match?

It is likely due to your device or your friend's device not being properly configured for Multi-Player Game Center games. Please follow the instructions on the Backgammon RT Game Center Tips page to configure both devices.

How does the Random dice rolling algorithm work?

First we use the native random number generator that is built into iOS called arc4random(). We take the time since the last time your rolled the dice in seconds, multiply it by 113, take the modulus of 37. With the result we get from this, we generate that many random numbers and we ignore them. We then generate the next number with a value between 1 and 6 and keep it as the first die. We then generate a random number between 0 and 40, and use it to generate that many random numbers that we ignore. Finally we generate another number between 1 and 6 and keep it for the second die.

How does the Balanced dice rolling algorithm work?

The Balanced algorithm is built on top of the Random algorithm but tries to reduce the cluster of duplicate rolls to give a more balanced distribution. This should reduce the perception that too many doubles are being rolled by one opponent versus the other in any given match.

How many doubles should I be getting?

There are 36 possible rolls with 2 dice. From those 6 are doubles. Therefore, you should on average be seeing 1 double every 6 rolls or 16.7% of the time. Having said that, realistically this can only be obseved when you have a large sample of rolls (meaning thousands). A related statistic is that 3 times out of 100 you should see two doubles in a row, which means about once every 2 games.


BGRT has several modes of play:

  1. Computer: Allows you to play games against the computer which at the Advanced level uses a neural network.
  2. Pass the Device: Enables two players to play face-to-face using one device. This is a lot of fun when your friend forgot their device and you would like to have some fun together, or when you find yourself with a friend who does not have Backgammon Tutor.
  3. Local WiFi Network: If you and your friend are both connected to the same local network you can start a Local Network game and play a match using the two devices. This is a great way to play and leverage your WiFi network.
  4. Bluetooth Connection: Bluetooth has a range of about 30 feet. If you are in a car with a friend, or in the same room, you can use both your devices to play a match. Please make sure to enable Bluetooth on both devices and start a Local Network game.
  5. Game Center: This mode allows you to play with your friends no matter where they are, as long as you are both connected to the Internet using an iOS device capable of running Game Center games. You can also play against people you don't know and make new friends by using the Auto-Match feature. The Game Center mode also supports leader boards and achievements that you can brag about to your friends. To properly configure Game Center, follow the instructions on this page: Game Center Tips

If you are not familiar with the Backgammon rules, you can visit the Wikipedia Backgammon page. BGRT implements the Crawford rule.


If you are an experienced backgammon player, you should change the following settings for faster play:

  1. Turn on One-Tap-Moves. In this mode, the pieces move just by tapping them once and they move the number of positions given by the left-most unused die. Tap the dice to swap their order.
  2. Increase the Animation Speed to move the pieces faster on the board.
  3. Turn on Auto-Play Forced Moves to let the computer make the moves for you when there is only one possible choice of moves.
  4. Turn off the Display Match Options Dialog if you always play the same number of point matches. You can set the Default Match Length and the Default Doubling Allowed appropriately.
  5. Change the Computer Level to Expert. This mode employs a neural network algorithm, which plays significantly better than the Intermediate algorithm.