Backgammon for Android

One thing a 10-inch tablet is perfect for is playing Backgammon. If you've never played, it's an ancient game -- something like 5,000 years old, by some accounts that involves rolling dice and removing all of your pieces (or checkers) from the board. It's a good mix of strategy and luck, and it really doesn't take long to get the hang of it.

We've taken a look at some of the free backgammon games available in the Android Market, and gave them a go on a Honeycomb tablet. Check 'em out after the break.

Backgammon Deluxe (Cellie Craze)

Backgammon Deluxe

This one looked like it'd have some promise. But the board is stretched on the tablet's resolution. You tap and drag the pieces to move them around, which is nice. But the animation is painfully slow. Verdict: Pass.

Backgammon Lite (Odesys)

Backgammon Lite

Pretty evident how this one's going to go. It's not designed for the higher resolution, and it doesn't scale up. Gameplay's decent, however, with tap-and-drag for the pieces, and the animation is smooth. There are three levels of difficulty, and a local two-player mode. Verdict: If you want to play on small board, go right ahead. We'll pass.

Backgammon Online (Drake)

Backgammon Online

Yeah. No.

Backgammon Lite (Zingmagic Limited)

Backgammon Lite

Ah. A proper full-size board. But unfortunately it suffers from confusing controls, and the graphic elements are a bit rudimentary. Verdict: We can still do better.

Backgammon Free (AI Factory)

Backgammon Free

Now this is more like it. Full-size keyboard, attractive graphics. It's ad-supported, but the ad is tucked into the top left corner where it's not obtrusive. There are single- and two-player modes, and five levels of difficulty, with statistics reported for each level. Gameplay lacks tap-and-drag (you'll tap a piece to select it, then tap where you want to put it. Animations are smooth. Our only real complaint is that we're pretty sure the AI cheats -- nobody should get that many doubles. But that only makes us want to beat it more. Verdict: Download now.


Reader comments

The best free backgammon apps on Android tablets


Backgammon Free really is the best, been playing on my G2 for some time. IT DOES CHEAT!!! Not only does it get an inordinate amount of doubles, but when you have your board almost closed, and it has like one roll, and only one roll, that can get it on and past, it ALWAYS gets the exact roll it needs. Very suspect, but it makes beating it that much more fun.

Don T

Click on statistics to see the doubles rolled. The last few games, I am ahead.

Look under "options -> cpu strategy". They clearly say they do not cheat and have their code inspected as such. There is even an option for rolling your own dice and plugging in the results!

I just sent them a thank you email and a request that they have an option to suppress the annoying blinking on "legal moves" (since it is distracting and battery draining). Otherwise, it is a very polished app and works quite well on a tablet.

Backgammon Free does not cheat, and they even provide you with a way to prove it. There is a setting where, instead of letting the random number generator "roll" the dice, you can roll physical dice and input the result. You roll physical dice for both yourself and for the computer player.

Try it out and see if the CPU still destroys you. But now don't be tempted to cheat, yourself! :P

Yes, Backgammon Free does not cheat because everything written is the truth. Really? I can beat Backgammon free approximately 3 out of 4 games when using real dice or a dice app, instead of 2 out of 5 when using the dice rolls in the game. Why can't someone develop a backgammon app that uses AI to win instead of loading the dice?

Glad to hear that others are playing this game! I can only report my own experiences, so I have found that the computer gets the exact roll that it needs way too often. I'm a pretty good player, I always play in Hard mode and take black to make it as challenging as possible. I win about 50% of the time, but I'm still amazed at how often it pulls out wins when it was clearly behind.

Don T