Frequently Asked Questions
|If you are having a specific problem, please see our Troubleshooting section.|
What is DailyGammon?
How is DailyGammon different from most other backgammon web sites?
Who runs DailyGammon?
What are the system requirements to play here?
Is DailyGammon compatible with WebTV?
How much does it cost to play here?
How can I contribute to the cost of running DailyGammon?
What types of games are on this site?
How do I sign up to play at DailyGammon?
Do you allow multiple accounts from the same person?
Will you share my e-mail address?
How do I terminate my account at DailyGammon?
Is this site monitored?
Is there a dress code for this site?
How do you play backgammon?
What are the rules of Nackgammon?
Is the doubling cube supported on this site?
Is the Crawford rule in effect?
When inviting someone to a game what are the cubeless money and money options?
How are the dice generated?
How This Site Works
How do I play a game?
How do I move the checkers?
I want to play the smaller number first. What do I have to do to accomplish this?
Is there any way to mirror the board so I can move counterclockwise?
How do I resign matches?
What does "Predicted result" at the conclusion of a match mean?
How can I examine my matches using Snowie, JellyFish, or GNU Backgammon?
When I export a Nack match, it says there are illegal moves! What should I do?
How do I find another player?
How do I send a message to another player?
My opponent is making rude remarks. What can I do?
What are my user settings?
Can I change my user name or private e-mail address?
Is the Discussion board monitored?
What are the guidelines for posting to the Discussion board?
Can I delete my posting?
When do tournaments start?
Are tournaments created automatically or is there a way i can create one?
Are the tournaments seeded according to rating or randomly?
How do stratified tournaments work?
Why are there sometimes players with high ratings in the Beginners' tournaments?
Where can I see tournaments results?
What is the Grim Timekeeper?
How do tournament time controls work?
Where can I see how much time is remaining in my time pools?
When the Grim Timekeeper is off, can I forget about all my games?
Can I get extra time for vacations?
My opponent has negative time left. Why hasn't the game been forfeited?
Is there a time limit for an opponent to forfeit (timeout) a non-tournament match?
Ratings and List of Players
How are ratings calculated?
How often are the player ratings calculated?
Does the length of a match have any bearing on the ratings?
Which matches are included in the ratings?
Who is included in the List of Players?
What is computer guessing?
What if the computer guesses wrong?
Does computer guessing consider the doubling cube?
How can I tell when the computer is guessing and my opponent has stopped playing?
Can I choose not to play opponent's computer guesses?
What do I do if I forget my password?
Why didn't I receive a password after signing up?
Why doesn't my password work?
Why can't I see the game I just joined?
I accidentally clicked the wrong button (accepted double, etc.). Can you set the game back or reinstate it?
I just won a game. Why doesn't it show up in my finished matches? Why hasn't my rating changed?
Why does the computer say my move is forced when I have a checker on the bar that can come in?
WHAT DO I DO if I am having technical trouble with the site?
Where can I get help if this document doesn't answer my question?
What is DailyGammon?DailyGammon is postal chess meets backgammon meets the internet. You sign up for one or more matches (most people have several matches going simultaneously) with other players on the site. When you log in, you complete a series of moves (move sequence) in each of your matches, and the server records your moves. Later, your opponent will log in and respond to your moves. When you log in again, those moves will be waiting for you! By this method, over the course of a few weeks you can complete an entire backgammon match, spending only a few minutes a day.
How is DailyGammon different from most other backgammon web sites?
- You can get through a backgammon match a lot faster at DailyGammon than at other web sites due to computer guessing: Whenever your opponent has one move that is more likely than others, DailyGammon will guess at what he might do and let you play ahead. It is usually possible to play several moves in a row even when your opponent isn't currently logged on.
- DailyGammon has no advertisements and has a sparse layout, so pages are quick to load and free of distractions.
- DailyGammon is free!
Who runs DailyGammon?
"Jordan", aka Jordan Lampe, is a software engineer who lives in New York. By day he works for an investment banking firm. Jordan created DailyGammon as a hobby project and is the Chief Programmer.
"Mom", aka Linda Lampe, is a Web designer and lives in North Carolina. Mom is DailyGammon's Art Department, Help Desk Technician, and maintainer of this document.
"Glen", aka Glen Raphael, is a software engineer who lives in New York. Glen is DailyGammon's Assistant Programmer. Glen also maintains the Videogame Workout blog.
"Char", aka Char Branstetter, is a radiologist who lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Char is DailyGammon's Editor-in-Chief (he monitors the discussion board).
What are the system requirements to play here?You need a computer with an internet connection and a browser set to accept cookies. This site does NOT require Java or any special software.
Is DailyGammon compatible with WebTV?Yes. The site has been verified to work with WebTV.
How much does it cost to play here?It is free.
How can I contribute to the cost of running DailyGammon?Please see our Donations page for information on making contributions to DailyGammon.
What types of games are on this site?The site is devoted to backgammon and some variants (currently only Nackgammon is supported).
Both individual matches and tournaments are supported. Any player can initiate an individual match or join one already listed in the Game Lounge. Tournaments are set up by the site administrator and can be joined from the Game Lounge. Tournaments begin when at least four players have signed up.
How do I sign up to play at DailyGammon?Go to the Create Account page.
Will you share my e-mail address?No. Your private e-mail address (the one you used to make your account) will never be given to anyone.* We use it only for maintaining your account. If you need assistance or a new password, we check your account against your e-mail address to make sure it is really you. If that address becomes invalid, your account may become insecure.
*Note: If you type your e-mail address into any public areas such as your user profile page or a discussion posting, it is no longer private since anyone can see it.
Do you allow multiple user names from the same person?Yes, but in a spirit of fairness they should not enter the same tournament(s). Some players use different user names for different types of matches. Each user name must have a unique valid e-mail address.
How do I terminate my account at DailyGammon?There is no formal termination procedure. Just stop logging in. Your tournament matches will time out on their own. However, it would be a courtesy to your opponents to resign your matches before you leave.
Is this site monitored?We reserve the right to delete comments and terminate accounts. Please keep it clean and keep your "flirting" private. This applies to all public areas of DailyGammon: Game Lounge, Profile page, and Discussion (see the separate guidelines for the Discussion board). Suggestive user names are not allowed.
Is there a dress code for this site?You must be tastefully attired while playing on this site. We especially frown upon loud socks and silly hats.
How do you play backgammon?Backgammon Galore has the Rules of Backgammon and other information about the game.
What are the rules of Nackgammon?Rules of Nackgammon
Is the doubling cube supported on this site?Yes. All matches are played using the doubling cube. If you prefer to not use the doubling cube, playing one point matches is recommended, which is equivalent to playing a single game of backgammon without using the doubling cube.
Is the Crawford rule in effect?Yes. All matches are played using the Crawford Rule. Crawford rounds are indicated by an asterisk next to the match score of the player who is within one point of winning the match.
The Crawford Rule: "When a player comes to within one point of victory, the next game is played without a doubling cube. Further games after that revert to normal." This rule is used in almost all backgammon matches everywhere, including DailyGammon.
When inviting someone to a game what are the cubeless money and money options?No actual money changes hands! Playing a "money" game means the number of points is undetermined. So, a "cubeless money" game can end as 1, 2, or 3 points for the winner. A cube-ful money game can end up with up to 192 points if the cube gets as high as 64 and the winner wins a backgammon! (DailyGammon does not support cubes larger than 64, unfortunately.)
How are the dice generated?We request 16,000 random bytes of data from random.org. We then mix (using a bitwise XOR) those bytes with 16,000 internally generated pseudo-random bytes, in case there is a bias in the bytes from random.org.
Now, for each byte, if it is 252, which is 7*36, or larger, we discard the byte. Otherwise, we take the remainder of dividing the byte by 36, leaving us with a uniformly distributed number between 0 and 35.
This number is now divided by 6; the quotient and remainder are both evenly distributed between 0 and 5. We add 1 to each, and the quotient becomes the first die, and the remainder becomes the second die.
These dice are stored and fed to backgammon games on request.
As an example:
|byte# ||1 ||2 ||3 ||4 ||5... |
|value from random.org ||190 ||86 ||248 ||5 ||49 |
|pseudo-random mixer ||255 ||238 ||86 ||125 ||204 |
|mixed byte ||65 ||184 ||174 ||120 ||253 |
|discard? ||NO ||NO ||NO ||NO ||YES |
|remainder % 36 ||29 ||4 ||30 ||12 || |
|divide by 6 ||4r5 ||0r4 ||5r0 ||2r0 || |
|dice! ||5-6 ||1-5 ||6-1 ||3-1 || |
For those of you familiar with Perl, we also reveal the actual script
This process is kept carefully segregated from the rest of the system. It has no knowledge of and is completely unaffected by who the players are, what the board position are, what the score is, what tournament is being played, or anything else.
More information about random numbers is available at random.org.
How This Site Works
How do I play a game?There are four ways to start a new game:
Note that you will probably not be able to make any moves at first; the game doesn't start until your opponent is ready. But be sure to check back soon!
- You can go to the Game Lounge, and join one of the people looking for a friendly game (if there are any).
- You can go to the Game Lounge, and submit an entry looking for a friendly game.
- You can go to the Game Lounge and join one of the tournaments.
- You can find a player who you would like to play against, and invite that person to a friendly game.
How do I move the checkers?Move the checkers by clicking on them once. They will automatically move the value of the dice, first the higher number and then the lower. If you click on a checker that can only move the lower die, it will move the lower die. You can switch the numbers by clicking on "Swap dice." If you are unsatisfied with your move, click on "Undo Move." When you are satisfied with your move, click on "Submit Move."
I want to play the smaller number first. What do I have to do to accomplish this? Click on the "Swap Dice" link located below the board.
Is there any way to mirror the board so I can move clockwise or counterclockwise?Check or uncheck "Home boards on left side" in your user settings.
How do I resign matches?Click on "Go and resign running matches!" at the bottom of your Top Page. Check the box next to any matches you want to resign. Check the "Yes! I really want to resign." box, and click on the "Resign Selected Matches" button.
What does "Predicted result" at the conclusion of a match mean? This appears when the last move(s) of your opponent in the match have been guessed by the computer. If your opponent makes different moves than the computer guessed, the game will take a different course and you could end up with a different result.
How can I examine my matches using Snowie, JellyFish, or GNU Backgammon?From the final move of the review of a completed match, you can click on the link to export to computer format, and it will give you the match in .mat format
When I export a Nack match, it says there are illegal moves! What should I do?Nothing. There is no way in .mat format to say that you are playing Nack other than to create an illegal move at the front of each game that sets up
the appropriate position. So the illegal moves are no cause for alarm, and in
fact, are necessary for proper analysis.
How do I find another player?1. Click on "Game Lounge" at the top of your screen.
2. In the box at the bottom of the Game Lounge screen, type in a name or the first character(s) of a name.
3. Hit return/enter.
4. Choose a name from the list and click on it for that player's Profile page.
How do I send a message to another player? There are two ways to send private messages:
Messages are not saved on this server. If you want to keep a message, copy it and store it elsewhere.
- You may include a message to your opponent on the last screen of a move sequence. The message will be seen the next time your opponent completes a move sequence. Note: Your opponent may not see the board you are currently looking at when seeing the message.
- There is also a place provided on each player's Profile page (see previous question) for sending a Quick Message. These messages may be sent at any time to any player even if you don't have an active game going with that player.
Long messages are sometimes truncated. It is best to keep messages and replies short and use alternate means for longer communications.
My opponent is making rude remarks. What can I do?There is an Ignore button on each player's Profile page. Click on the player's name from any page and then click the Ignore button. You will no longer see private messages from that player. Your match(es) will continue as normal and you may be paired up with that player in future tournaments, but you will not see the player's private messages. To once again see the player's messages, go to the Profile page and click the Unignore button.
What are my user settings?On your Top Page, scroll down and click on the words "Modify my profile and user settings". From there, you will be taken to a page where you can enter information about yourself and set your preferences for the site, such as confirmation before accepting a double.
Can I change my user name or private e-mail address?User name and private e-mail address changes must be requested from DailyGammon.
Is the Discussion board monitored?The Discussion board is monitored by members of the DailyGammon staff. Questions and comments regarding the Discussion board should be directed to Char, the Editor-in-Chief.
What are the guidelines for posting to the Discussion board?Discussion Board Rules of Common Decency
- No foul language.
- No explicit sexual discussions and no propositions.
- Do not insult the other players. You can disagree with their ideas, but do not call them names. Be respectful to others, even if they have not been respectful to you.
- No ethnic slurs or other insults directed at specific groups.
- If a thread that you started gets deleted, it is probably because several other people got out of hand when responding to it. Don't take it personally.
- Political subjects go in the Politics section. All others go in General. Political postings put in the General section will be deleted.
- The moderators of DailyGammon reserve the right to delete any post or thread that we deem offensive, whether you felt it was offensive or not. These rules are not intended to silence opinions, but rather to maintain an environment in which everyone can have fun playing backgammon. That's what you came here for, right?
Can I delete my posting?No. Postings can be deleted only by staff members.
When do tournaments start?Despite the "up to" qualifier on the tournament info page, presently all tournaments wait for the maximum number of people to sign up and then start immediately.
Are tournaments created automatically or is there a way I can create one?Only the site administrator can create tournaments although requests for specific tournaments can be submitted.
Are the tournaments seeded according to rating or randomly?Randomly.
How do stratified tournaments work?When 64 players have signed up, they will be sorted by rating. The top 16 ratings go into Group 1, the next 16 into Group 2, and so on, so that players will compete with others of approximately equal strength. There will be four winners for the tournament, one from each group.
Why are there sometimes players with high ratings in the Beginner's tournaments?The rating restriction only applies to the instant you join the tournament. Many players, especially those who are good backgammon players but new to DailyGammon, join Beginner's tournaments and then their ratings rise rapidly.
Where can I see tournaments results?Tournament results can be seen in the Tournament Hall, which is accessed from the Game Lounge.
What is the Grim Timekeeper?This Grim Timekeeper is a program which runs four times a day and forces resignations on tournament matches where one player's time has been used up. The opponent of that player then wins the match and goes on to the next round or a tournament win if it was the last round.
How do tournament time controls work?A time control has been added so that tournaments proceed in a timely fashion. The time system was designed so that people will not time out if they are completing move sequences regularly. Note that you will need to play more than once a day in some of the faster tournaments in order to avoid timing out.
When your opponent completes a move sequence (i.e. clicks on the "Next Game" or "Go To Top Page" button), then the timer starts! But, no rush; you have the length of the grace period to make a move with no penalty. However, if you haven't moved by the end of the grace period, then the computer begins deducting time from your time pool. If your pool reaches zero, then you forfeit that match.
Once you complete a move sequence, extra time is added to your pool, and your opponent's timer starts.
As an example, let's consider the following tournament setting:
Initial pool of 100:00 (hours:minutes) plus 4:00 for each completed play with a grace period of 24:00 for each play before time begins being deducted.
Player A and Player B are paired in this tournament, and A wins the opening roll. A completes the first move sequence at Wednesday, 6 pm, and gains four hours, so A's time pool is now 104 hours. B now completes a move sequence Thursday morning at 9 am. In other words, B spent 15 hours. But, that is within the grace period of 24 hours, so no time is deducted from B's pool, plus four hours are gained for completing a move sequence, leaving 104. And so on as depicted in the following table:
|Who||When||Time Elapsed||Old Pool||Deducted||Added ||New Pool |
|A||Wed 6 pm||N/A||100:00||0:00||4:00||104:00 |
|B||Thu 9 am||15:00||100:00||0:00||4:00||104:00 |
|A||Thu 3 pm||6:00||104:00||0:00||4:00||108:00 |
|B||Fri 9 am||18:00||104:00||0:00||4:00||108:00 |
|A||Fri 6 pm||9:00||108:00||0:00||4:00||112:00 |
|B||Mon 9 am||63:00||108:00||39:00||4:00||73:00 |
Note that Player B went away for the weekend, and therefore 63 hours were counted from when the timer started until B's move sequence was actually completed. The first 24 hours are within the grace period, so only 39 hours are deducted from B's time pool.
The time control described above is for a player who can complete a move sequence once a day. Playing once a day, you will gain four hours in your time pool. You can then take advantage of that time pool to take a break. For example, you could play six days a week, and then the 24 hours for that seventh day exactly offset the 24 hours you gained for completing six move sequences. Alternately, you could save up time in your pool over three weeks, and then the 84 hours accumulated can be used to go away for a three-day weekend.
If you cannot guarantee being able to complete a move sequence frequently, you may want to choose a tournament with a slower time control.
Where can I see how much time is remaining in my time pools?From your Top Page, click on "active matches".
When the Grim Timekeeper is off, can I forget about all my matches?No. The Grim Timekeeper is turned off when there might be system problems. If it turns out that there are system problems, then time will be added to the time pools to compensate for those problems. But, if there are no problems, then the Grim Timekeeper will eventually be turned back on, and your match(es) will be forfeited if your time pool has gone below zero.
Can I get extra time for vacations?
There is no provision for extra vacation time, but generous time allowances have been built into the site to allow players to take time off without forfeiting their games. Here are some tips for when you are going to be away:
- Selectively join tournaments when you know a vacation is coming up.
- One week (seven days) is 168 hours, so most tournaments start with enough time in the pool for a week long vacation.
- Try to build up your time pools before you leave to cover the time you will be away.
- Some players ask their opponents to hold off on making a move in their games for a day or two after they leave to prevent their time from running down as quickly. (Please note that players are under no obligation to honor the request.)
- Remember your password and user name. There is public internet access in many places where you can play the games which are in danger of timing out.
My opponent has negative time left. Why hasn't the match been forfeited?Because we are waiting for the Grim Timekeeper to run.
Is there a time limit for an opponent to forfeit (timeout) a non-tournament match?Only if a time control was selected at the time the match was started.
Ratings and List of Players
How are ratings calculated?Ratings are calculated according to the FIBS system.
How often are the player ratings calculated?The ratings are updated immediately after all moves from both players in a tournament match are complete.
Does the length of a match have any bearing on the ratings?Yes. The rating change is proportional to the square-root of the match length. So the change on a 9 point match is 3 times that of a 1 point match.
Which matches are included in the ratings?Nackgammon and Backgammon tournament matches are included in the same ratings. Non-tournament games are not included in ratings.
Who is included in the List of Players?Only people with more than 10 experience are listed by default. By adding ?min=0 to the end of the URL, you will get the entire player list... (http://dailygammon.com/bg/plist/?min=0). If you want to filter out all of the players with a rating of 1500, then add /?min=1 instead of /?min=0.
ALL players are included on the "List of Players" if one scrolls down to bottom and clicks on either "Sort by Experience" or "Sort by Name".
What is computer guessing?At DailyGammon, a moderate-strength computer guesses what your opponent is going to do. Computer guessing is used so that games progress rapidly. With each player making only one move per session, a match can take a long time to finish. Therefore, we try to complete as many moves as possible in a single session. For example, if your opponent's play is forced, then we go right ahead to your next move, letting you finish two (or more) moves during that session.
The computer guesses the following situations:
- Since people do not use the doubling cube most turns, the default assumption is that your opponent does not double.
- If you double, the computer assumes your opponent will accept. If your opponent passes, it doesn't matter anyway because the game will be rolled back to that point.
- If your opponent's move is forced, the computer will go ahead and make that move for the opponent.
- Finally, if your opponent's move is at least 0.05 points of equity better than the second choice, the computer will go ahead and make that move. The number of moves the computer will guess is limited to four.
What if the computer guesses wrong?When players log in, they do not know what the computer has guessed for them. They only see the board and your moves. Suppose they do something which was different from what the computer had guessed. In this case, of course, all the moves you made past that point were made assuming a different play by your opponent, and are therefore now invalid. The invalid moves are deleted, and the next time you log in, you will see that game rolled back to the point of divergence, and have a chance to respond to the move actually played.
Note: The dice will be re-rolled in this situation, so it is not possible to cheat by using foreknowledge of the dice.
Does computer guessing consider the doubling cube?Short answer: No.
Longer answer: It does consider the cube level and ownership and the current match score in its calculations. The step where it "guesses" that your opponent will never use the doubling cube or where it "guesses" that your opponent always takes could also be considered "guessing". It does not, however, take into account whether a more volatile move could be better because it leads to inefficient doubles or anything like that.
How can I tell when the computer is guessing and my opponent has stopped playing?When you first see the top line of the game screen say "What will you do if the game proceeds like this", it means the previous move of opponent was made by computer.
Can I choose not to play opponent's computer guesses?No. All available moves must be made before game goes back to opponent.
What do I do if I forget my password? Send your user name to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do not include your user name or do not send this request from your private e-mail address (the one that you used to set up the account), there may be a delay until we can search the database for your account and/or verify that you are the owner of the account. After you log in with the new password, you can change it again to whatever you want from Top Page -> "Modify my profile and user settings".
Why didn't I receive a password after signing up?The most common reason for not receiving a password after signing up is that an invalid e-mail address was entered. Go to the Create Account page and try again. If your address was valid, write to us at email@example.com to request a new password.
Why doesn't my password work?
- Passwords are case sensitive. Make sure that you are entering it correctly with upper or lower case letters and that Caps Lock is off.
- Make sure that you are spelling your user name correctly.
- Make sure you are not confusing 1 (numeral) with l (lower-case letter l) or 0 (numeral) with O (capital letter O)
I accidentally clicked the wrong button (accepted double, etc.). Can you set the game back or reinstate it? Matches/games cannot be reinstated or set back. To avoid accidentally accepting a double, etc., in the future, go to Top Page -> "Modify my profile and user settings" -> check the desired confirmations -> click on "Update Preferences".
I just won a game. Why doesn't it show up in my finished matches? Why hasn't my rating changed?Matches are not final until both players have seen and completed all moves.
Why does the computer say my move is forced when I have a checker on the bar that can come in?Check to see that you didn't start the move with two checkers on the bar.
WHAT DO I DO if I am having technical trouble with the site?
one of these actions may solve your problem:
- are having trouble playing your games
- keep getting the same error message
- keep getting sent back to Log In
- are having any other trouble with the site
- Refresh the browser page(s).
- Log out and log back in.
- Close and reopen your browser.
- Clear the cache while looking at a different site.
- Delete your cookies.
- Change your password before continuing.
- Make sure you are using "www.dailygammon.com" to come to the site.
- Reboot your computer.
- If all else fails, try using a different browser.
Where can I get help if this document doesn't answer my question?Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For a faster response, include your user name and all pertinent information.
Updated November 2010.