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The best free backgammon apps on Android tablets

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)

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)

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)

Yeah. No.

Backgammon Lite (Zingmagic Limited)

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)

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.

15 Comments
  • 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?
  • I realize that your comment was made four years ago, but the same questions about cheating that were brought up then are still being asked by people. Unfortunately...at least for you and everyone else making the same "the game doesn't cheat" claim...the method you state that "proves" Backgammon Free (as well as AI factory's paid version) doesn't cheat doesn't prove anything. First, you are completely misunderstanding what the dice rolling feature is all about - it's NOT to prove the game doesn't cheat. It's purpose is for 2-player games, where the players prefer to use real dice, instead of the "randomly" produced rolls. Second, if the rolls were TRULY random, then, when playing a game against the AI in he normal fashion, allow me to present you a scenario, which you (and all other people claiming "the game doesn't cheat") can easily, and quickly, try. I'm sure you're fully aware of the "Undo" feature, which is handy when you accidentally move a wrong piece, or move the correct piece an incorrect number of spaces (ie. with a 4-5 roll, you intend to move a piece 4 spaces, but accidentally move it 5). Hit that "Undo" button several times, and then proceed to progress forward in the game, making the exact same moves and/or changing your moves. Either way, I guarantee that the AI will get the EXACT same rolls, thus proving that the dice rolls are NOT always random. The developer, via emails that went back & forth several times, tried to convince me the game didn't cheat, including attempting to use the same "logic" you presented, above. The interesting part came when I brought up the same "Undo" points I just made, to which AI Factory never responded back. If the dice rolls were truly random, I'm certain that AI Factory would have responded back, providing an explanation. The fact that they didn't bother to reply after that (essentially) proves that I had uncovered the falseness in their "no cheat" claim. You, and all the other "game doesn't cheat" believers can continue to believe the lie, but, to quote an old (and now reborn) TV show, "The truth is out there."
  • I will concur. The A/I definitely does not cheat. If you think it does then you're just a lousy backgammon player. I don't consider myself to be an expert by any means and over several hundred 3 out of 5-game matches have won 80%. When I play GNU Backgammon on a PC though it pretty much wipes the floor with me. (Now THAT'S an A/I that cheats!!} A/I Factory Backgammon is honest. Not the brightest bulb among B-G A/I's though.
  • Interesting that you start off by saying, "I will concur", as that means you are in agreement with the comment you are commenting on, yet, the body of your comment is in contradiction to your opening statement. Putting that aside, I must ask, what difficulty level are you playing at? I play at level 5, and while I'll occasionally play a best-of-7, 11, or 15, like yourself, i tend, for the most part, to play best-of-5. As to your (incorrect) assertion that I'm a "lousy backgammon player", if you were local, and cared to challenge me, you'd find the truth to be quite the opposite. I've also played "several hundred" (actually, in excess of 1,000) matches, on multiple devices, and, like yourself, I've also won the great majority of them. However, the fact that I've won far, far more than I've lost does still NOT prove that the app doesn't cheat. I've pointed out some ways to prove its ability to cheat, although, at the same time, as you mentioned, yourself, it's not exactly the "brightest bulb", and that includes when it's cheating. As further proof, I will give additional examples, of which I'm certain that, if you've played as many matches as you claim, then you've seen these happen numerous times. First is where you've all-but-blocked the AI, having filled your home with doubled pieces in every space, except for a single space with a single piece, and the AI gets the exact roll needed to not only re-enter the board, but also to knock your piece to the bar. A similar example is when the AI needs one very specific roll in order to knock your piece to the bar and/or block you from re-entering the board, and the AI gets that exact roll. Another example would be when you could use any possible roll, with one very specific example, and you get that one specific roll that you don't want. These examples, and several others I could easily mention, not only happen exceedingly-often, but almost 100% of the time. If you don't consider that as "cheating", then maybe you don't understand what the word means. Even with the AI cheating, I'm still the better player. However, being that you mentioned GNU Backgammon, I've gone ahead and downloaded it. Over the next week, I will install it, and play as many games as possible (at different difficulty levels, depending on those options), and I will report back my results. You can then compare them against your results (notice I'm not asking you to divulge your results...only stating that I'll present mine to you, and you can then compare against your wins/losses).
  • It took less than two games to determine that GNU Backgammon cheats...and blatantly so. The first game I won, by 6 pieces, although the AI did have me blocked, about midway through the game, but only for one roll (on my second roll, I re-entered the board). As for the second game, it's so blatantly obvious as to its cheating, it was not only not worth it to continue the game/match, I have already gone so far as to uninstall GNU Backgammon, deleted the install file, and performed a "Restore", just in case any residual code was left behind. As for how GNU Backgammon cheats, multiple times I saw the AI roll a particular die roll, yet it moved pieces not in accordance with the numbers rolled. Just to give one example, towards what had become the end of the second game (even though I had barely "started" the game...see my next example for explanation), the AI had 2 pieces, each, on home spaces 5, 3, & 2, with 4 pieces on space 1. The AI rolled a 6-1, and while it removed one piece from space 5, as allowed, it moved the other piece from space 5 to space 4, thus having moved said piece two spaces, thus cheating AND illegal. As for the other point I mention (ie. the AI close to winning, whereas my pieces had barely moved), from the start, the AI got "perfect" rolls EVERY time, whereas I got knocked to the bar after my first move, and either remained on the bar, or got knocked right back to the bar, until after less than half a dozen moves by the AI, as the AI had already completely blocked its home. Now, between GNU Backgammon, and AI Factory's Backgammon, BOTH cheat, but GNU Backgammon is so blatant about it, that it doesn't even care to make legal moves. AI Factory's Backgammon, on the other hand, DOES still cheat, yet it appears that it has been purposely programmed to cheat at random points. While it gets the "perfect" rolls at the exact points it needs them, it doesn't always make the smartest move choices. While I could go on, and continue to prove that AI Factory's Backgammon DOES cheat, I'm tired of doing so. There are plenty of people who have discovered not only its ability to cheat, but also pointed out exactly how, where, and when it cheats the most. Say what you will, but there's no point in further beating this horse...it's already dead.
  • 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
  • You should also add Backgammon Masters to the list: https://www.androidcentral.com/e?link=https2F2F... The only backgammon that has full support of cross-platform multiplayer on a dedicated server. Very high online as well.
  • Please consider including Freeform Backgammon (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bitiotic.freeform.android) if you update this article. Its designed to look good on any tablet, and targets two (local) player games. No AI, but you can play any variation on backgammon that you might want to try. (Yes, I'm the developer.)
  • Please get a try at GNU Backgammon Mobile https://www.androidcentral.com/e?link=https2F2F...
    It's a poirt of GNUBackgammon for android, with strong AI and.. it doesn't cheat (you can look source code, it's FREE software)
  • Please add Backgammon Masters. They are also free: https://www.androidcentral.com/e?link=https2F2F...
  • Hello
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  • I enjoy playing live games and tournaments and think that Backgammon - Real Players app for Android phones and tablets is the best choice. Pleasant interface and hundreds of players. It's free: https://www.androidcentral.com/e?link=https2F2F...