Should we ask for the doubling cube?

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Pedros
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Joined: 07 January 2015, 17:03

Should we ask for the doubling cube?

Postby Pedros » 11 December 2017, 18:08

Playing face-to-face most players would always play with the doubling cube (see note at the end). It makes for a much more dynamic game.

I had a lengthy discussion a year or so ago with bidulpik (the developer here) about this and while he didn't think it was a bad idea, he decided not to move with it because online he felt it would slow the game down because of waiting for the next player to decide whether to double or not. I have ideas which would, I think, get over that problem and I'm happy to outline them if there's wider interest in the idea.

The other issue is that it wouldn't fit the present way that backgammon games here are only single games - you could scarcely award double ELO ranking points after a doubled game! But we could make it possible to choose from several options - say the present single game without the cube, or a series of games with the cube, first to 3 or 5... points. Most other games on the site have options which the creator chooses, and a game with several rounds would be more a test of skill rather than the present one-off games which can come down hugely to lucky dice.

So - what do you think?

* In case you're unsure what I mean, there's a cube like a dice but marked 2-4-8-...-64. Before you throw the dice, if you think you're winning you can offer to your opponent to double the value of the game; if they say OK then they take possession of the cube (at its new, doubled value) and only they can double it next time. The catch is that if they say "No" then they've conceded the game at it's previous value! If they accept it then whoever wins that game gets the doubled number of points.

Liallan
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Joined: 26 May 2014, 07:01

Re: Should we ask for the doubling cube?

Postby Liallan » 12 December 2017, 16:56

It was asked for in abundance when the game was first put up here, and occasionally still gets asked for, along with being able to play 3 games. A lot of players feel the game just isn't right without these. That was before we had game-specific forums, so if you search Discussion and Suggestions (and even the bugs), you will find these posts.

I will also add that I'm not sure if the developer is still around. There were other requests made on the game and it seemed difficult to get more work done on the game. It used to be one player "sat" at the top from the opponent point of view, extremely confusing, and I think that was the only thing that was finally change.

Hypnagogue
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Joined: 20 April 2012, 02:23

Re: Should we ask for the doubling cube?

Postby Hypnagogue » 06 January 2018, 21:11

As far as the cube slowing the game down, I feel like many players are used to that waiting time while a cube decision is made. If you're accustomed to cube play, it's somewhat expected. A good opponent does need to assess their cube decision. So, speaking only for myself, that "waiting time" is an acceptable trade-off to getting the cube into the BGA world. Backgammon's just not the same without it.

That being said, the option to set points for a match would also be great and, as you note, a needed addition if the cube is brought in.

I appreciate you looking further into this great addition to the game.

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Pedros
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Joined: 07 January 2015, 17:03

Re: Should we ask for the doubling cube?

Postby Pedros » 29 January 2018, 17:22

Lillian wrote:
I will also add that I'm not sure if the developer is still around.


No, he doesn't seem to be, and I don't know whether there is any precedent for another developer to pick up a game - I'll message the admins and see what they say.

Thanks to both of you for your comments. Keep you posted!

Nebt
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Joined: 01 June 2018, 01:27

Re: Should we ask for the doubling cube?

Postby Nebt » 21 September 2018, 16:38

Did we ever get an answer to this? On if changes are even possible without the developer still being involved?

GDC
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Joined: 03 April 2013, 23:02

Re: Should we ask for the doubling cube?

Postby GDC » 26 September 2018, 01:47

A doubling cube and 3, 7, 15 pts games options would be great indeed.

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Jest Phulin
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Joined: 08 July 2013, 21:50

Re: Should we ask for the doubling cube?

Postby Jest Phulin » 26 September 2018, 09:25

Pedros wrote:... and I don't know whether there is any precedent for another developer to pick up a game

There is precedent. Right now, Quantum is getting some changes/upgrades by a different developer.
It does happen, it is just rare. Many developers would prefer to write their own code than to try to dig through someone else's to fix issues that, while annoying, are not critical to the game.

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punkstarman
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Re: Should we ask for the doubling cube?

Postby punkstarman » 18 October 2018, 15:10

I'd like to jump into this discussion, if I may and bring some of my experience as a player and developer.

I have played a lot of backgammon online and IRL. Backgammon waned in popularity until the doubling cube was introduced in the 1920s. Not only was it used in gambling, but also in tournament play.

I see two major ways the cube impacts the game. Firstly, it actually speeds the game up. Even if the receiver takes a while to evaluate the offer, on the whole the game goes faster. Secondly, it adds more weight to strategy. Knowing when to double is a very strategic decision as well as knowing when to accept or concede. On the flipside, it keeps blind luck from spoiling solid play.

The addition of the cube can be implemented by adding the following options which would still allow players to create 1-point matches without the cube as before.
    number of points: from 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 or 9 (maybe at first?)
    doubling cube: yes or no? (yes by default if points > 1)
    crawford rule: yes or no? (yes by default if points > 1 and doubling cube on)
    jacoby rule: yes or no? (no by default)
And one mustn't forget to count multipliers for gammons and backgammons.

As for the impact on ELO, you must take two new factors into account: margin of victory and length of match. In a 1 or 3-point match there is much more uncertainty in the expected result. A 5-point match is a good balance between speed of the game and promotion of skill. In matches from 9-points or higher, there is little room for luck, and thus the result is a true reflection of the difference in skill.

As for development, I'd be happy to pitch in if someone could show me the ropes.

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Jest Phulin
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Re: Should we ask for the doubling cube?

Postby Jest Phulin » 18 October 2018, 23:01

punkstarman wrote:As for development, I'd be happy to pitch in if someone could show me the ropes.


The ropes (and noose :) ) can be found at http://studio.boardgamearena.com


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