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GNU Backgammon Download: How to Play and Analyze Backgammon Games and Matches

Backgammon is one of the oldest and most popular board games in the world. It is a game of skill and strategy that involves moving your checkers around the board according to the roll of two dice. The objective is to move all your checkers into your home board and then bear them off before your opponent does.

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If you are a fan of backgammon or want to learn how to play it better, you might be interested in GNU Backgammon, a free and open source software that plays and analyzes backgammon games and matches. In this article, we will explain what GNU Backgammon is, what are its features and benefits, how to download and install it on different platforms, and how to use it to play and improve your backgammon skills.


What is GNU Backgammon?

GNU Backgammon (GNUbg) is a software that plays and analyzes backgammon games and matches. It is based on a neural network that learns from its own experience and from a large database of professional games. It can play at different levels of difficulty, from beginner to expert, and can handle both money games and tournament matches. It can also evaluate and roll out positions, generate statistics and reports, export and import games in various formats, and more.

GNU Backgammon is part of the GNU Project, which aims to develop free software that respects the users' freedom and privacy. It is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL), which means that anyone can use, modify, and distribute it as long as they follow the same license terms.

What are the features and benefits of GNU Backgammon?

GNU Backgammon has many features that make it a powerful tool for playing and analyzing backgammon. Some of them are:

  • A command line interface (with full command editing features if GNU readline is available) that lets you play matches and sessions against GNU Backgammon with a rough ASCII representation of the board on text terminals.

  • Support for a GTK+ interface with a graphical board window. 2D and 3D graphics are available.

  • Tournament match and money session cube handling and cubeful play. All governed by underlying cubeless money game based neural networks.

  • Support for both 1-sided and 2-sided bearoff databases: 1-sided bearoff database for 15 checkers on the first 6 points and optional 2-sided database kept in memory. Optional larger 1-sided and 2-sided databases stored on disk.

  • Automated rollouts of positions, with lookahead and variance reduction techniques. Rollouts may be extended.

  • Automatic and manual annotation (analysis and commentary) of games and matches.

  • Record keeping of statistics of players in games and matches (both native inside GNU Backgammon and externally using relational databases and Python).

  • Loading and saving of games and matches in various formats, including GNU Backgammon's own format, Snowie's text format, Jellyfish's format, and the portable game notation (PGN) format.

  • Importing of games and matches from various formats, including GNU Backgammon's own format, Snowie's text format, Jellyfish's format, the portable game notation (PGN) format, and the FIBS oldmoves/jpgs format.

  • Exporting of games and matches to HTML, LaTeX, PDF, PostScript, plain text, and XML formats.

  • Support for online play on FIBS (the First Internet Backgammon Server) and other servers that use the FIBS protocol.

  • A tutor mode that can give you hints and warnings about your moves and cube decisions.

  • A hint mode that can show you the best moves and cube actions for any position.

  • A match equity table (MET) editor that allows you to create and modify METs for different match lengths and scoring systems.

  • A position ID editor that allows you to enter and edit positions using a 14-digit alphanumeric code.

  • A dice generator that can produce random or pseudo-random dice rolls with different algorithms and seeds.

  • A board designer that lets you customize the appearance of the board, the checkers, the dice, and the sound effects.

Some of the benefits of using GNU Backgammon are:

  • You can improve your backgammon skills by playing against a strong opponent that adapts to your level of play.

  • You can learn from your mistakes by analyzing your games and matches with detailed feedback and statistics.

  • You can compare your performance with other players by using the rating system and the leaderboards.

  • You can explore different scenarios and strategies by setting up positions and running rollouts and simulations.

  • You can enjoy a variety of backgammon variants and options by changing the rules and settings of the game.

  • You can contribute to the development of free software by reporting bugs, suggesting features, translating messages, writing documentation, or donating money.

How to download and install GNU Backgammon

Downloading GNU Backgammon for different platforms

GNU Backgammon is available for different platforms, including Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Android, iOS, and others. You can download it from the official website:

The website provides links to binary packages for Windows and Mac OS X, as well as source code packages for Linux and other Unix-like systems. You can also find links to other resources, such as documentation, forums, mailing lists, bug reports, feature requests, screenshots, videos, etc.

Installing GNU Backgammon on Windows

To install GNU Backgammon on Windows, you need to download the latest binary package from the website. The package is a self-extracting executable file that contains all the files needed to run GNU Backgammon. You can choose between a 32-bit version or a 64-bit version depending on your system architecture. The file name will look something like this: gnubg-1.06.002-20210621-x86_64-setup.exe

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Once you have downloaded the file, you need to run it by double-clicking on it or right-clicking on it and choosing Run as administrator. You will see a welcome screen that asks you to choose a language for the installation. After that, you will see a license agreement screen that asks you to accept the terms of the GPL. Then you will see a destination folder screen that asks you to choose where to install GNU Backgammon. The default location is C:\Program Files\GNU Backgammon. You can change it if you want. Then you will see a start menu folder screen that asks you to choose where to create shortcuts for GNU Backgammon. The default location is GNU Backgammon. You can change it if you want. Then you will see a ready to install screen that shows you a summary of your choices. You can click Install to start the installation or go back to change any settings. The installation will take a few minutes. When it is done, you will see a finish screen that tells you that GNU Backgammon has been installed successfully. You can click Finish to exit the installer or check the box to launch GNU Backgammon immediately.

Installing GNU Backgammon on Linux

To install GNU Backgammon on Linux, you need to download the latest source code package from the website. The package is a compressed tar archive file that contains all the files needed to compile and install GNU Backgammon. You can choose between a stable version or a development version depending on your preference. The file name will look something like this: gnubg-release-1.06.002-sources.tar.gz

Once you have downloaded the file, you need to extract it to a directory of your choice. You can use a graphical tool like File Roller or Ark, or a command line tool like tar. For example, if you downloaded the file to your Downloads folder, you can open a terminal and type:

cd /Downloads tar xzf gnubg-release-1.06.002-sources.tar.gz

This will create a folder called gnubg-release-1.06.002 in your Downloads folder. You need to enter this folder and run the configure script to check for the dependencies and set up the compilation options. You can use a com

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