Backgammon with Buddies
Strategy Board Game
Reviewed By: Aaron Spelker
Backgammon started over 5000 years ago in the Mesopotamia region. Tackling a game with that type of storied history can be daunting. However, Backgammon with Buddies puts forth a solid effort.
Backgammon is played on a board with 24 markers divided into 4 sections.
1 to 6 points (your home base)
7 to 12 points
13 to 18points
19 to 24 points (opponent’s home base)
At the start of the game, each player has chips in each section of the game board. Playing as brown, your goal is to move your checkers from higher points to your home base. Once all of your checkers are contained in your base (1 to 6 points) , then you are able to start moving them from the game board.
The objective of the game is to move your checkers across the board and ultimately be the first to remove all of your checkers from the playing surface.
When you roll the dice, the values indicate the number of moves you are able to advance. Let’s assume you have 4 checkers on point 15 and you roll a 5 and 3. You would be able to move a checker from 15 to 10 and a checker from 15 to 12. After that move, you would have:
2 checkers at 15
1 checker at 12
1 checker at 10
When you have more than one checker at a point, your opponent is unable to move a checker to that point. You can use this concept strategically to essentially block your opponent’s movements. The opponent can move into any empty point, but can also move to a point that has only one of your checkers. So in the example above, the checkers at 15 point are safe, while the checkers at 10 and 12 are exposed. When a opponent moves to a point with only one of your checkers, they capture that checker. It is placed on the center bar. You now need to roll to remove that checker from “Jail”. Let’s assume you roll a 1 and 2 while you have a checker in ‘Jail’. This means you can come out of jail and place your checker at the farthest away point (24) or the second farthest point (23). If these are empty or have only 1 opponent checker you are free to move to that space. If there are two opponent checkers on say 24 point, then you are unable to place your checker there. If both 24 point and 23 point have 2 opponent checkers then you would be unable to release your checker and your turn would be over.
The game factors in luck, strategy, moves and counter moves.
The Voiceover integration is well developed and makes it clear the result of your actions. After your roll, you can swipe to a checker and swipe down and it will reveal a menu that will indicate
Move 4 spaces to 14 point
Move 5 spaces to 13 point capture white checker
The computer AI is strong throughout the game. The one flaw I saw was the computers tendency to aggressively capture my chips in the 19 to 24 section while leaving their checker exposed for a counter capture.
The “with Buddies” extension should make it clear that there is a multiplayer option available for this game. Backgammon is a good contender for this multiplayer feature. It is easy to quickly assess the location of the checkers on the board even after the lag time that exists when playing over the internet.
Note: I found it easiest to play as Brown because then all of the game board references were consistent. When you play as brown, your farthest checker is at 24 point and you are moving your checkers from the higher points to the lower points.
Grade A minus
US / UK Price. $2.99 / £2.49
United States Link:
For more information and to chat to other iOS gamers you can join the Apple iPhone iOS Voiceover Compatible Games Facebook Group. Link here.
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