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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

A:
A player with a Gold membership:
  • can play up to 300 simultaneous games.
  • A player with a Silver membership:
  • can play up to 100 simultaneous games.
  • A player with a free account:
  • can play up to 15 simultaneous games initially as long as their account is in good standing.
  • can increase the limit by 1 for every three wins in any rated games, up to a total maximum of 25 simultaneous games.
  • can only play up to 2 games at the same time if they have an unconfirmed or invalid email address, until they confirm or correct their e-mail address.
  • can only play 1 game, if their account is a guest account, until they sign up for a full account.
  • For a player participating in a Ladder, the maximum number of regular games is reduced by the maximum Ladder games preference set for their account. In other words, joining a Ladder reserves game slots specifically for the Ladder, but it does not reduce the number of overall games a player can play simultaneously.
    A: A gammon occurs when a game is over and the losing player still hasn't borne off (i.e. removed from the board) any of their chips.

    A backgammon occurs when the losing player hasn't borne off any chips and also has chips remaining in the winning player's home (inner) quadrant or on the bar.

    If the losing player has borne off at least one chip, the game ends normally (regular game) (see FAQ #14 for more about rating system).

    When a player resigns a game, or times out, the outcome of the game is determined based on the difference in the current situations for each side. I.e. each player's situation is classified separately, as if the other player's chips were no longer on the board (see above). For example, if the resigning player would lose by a backgammon and their opponent would lose by a gammon, the overall game is considered a gammon. If the resigning player has a better situation, they would still lose the game but no gammon or backgammon is awarded to the winning player.

    The outcome of the game can also be affected if the doubling cube is used. See FAQ #31 for more information.
    A: Our ratings system is not based on percentages, rather it is based on a statistical analysis that adjusts your rating relative to your opponent's rating. It is widely used by other backgammon and chess sites and organizations. Please refer to this FAQ article for additional information.
    A: Each point on the backgammon board is numbered from 1 to 24, with the numbering from the perspective of the player whose turn it is. Chips on the bar are labeled as 'bar', and chips that are borne off are labeled as 'off'.

    The notation for a complete turn consists of the dice rolled that turn, followed by the movement of the chips. For example: 21/17*, 11/5.

    Dice are represented by , where 4 is the value of the first die and 6 is the value of the second die.

    The notation for the movement of a single chip is 21/17, where 21 is the start point and 17 is the end point.

    If an opponent's chip is hit, an asterisk is used, and the notation would be 21/17*.

    If the same chip is used for more than one move, the intermediate point is omitted. For example, if the chip on 21 is moved to 17 and then moved to 11, the notation is 21/11. In the case of a hit, the intermediate point is included with an asterisk, as in 21/17*/11.

    If the dice are doubles and multiple chips are being moved from the same point, the number of chips moved is place in parenthesis after the move, as in 21/17* (3), 11/7.

    If the player has no available moves, (no play) is listed for the turn.

    The symbol 'ƒ' is listed next to forced turns. See FAQ about forced turns.
    A: Please become a subscriber. As you probably already noticed, free memberships are limited (for example, the limit on the number of games you can play at the same time). Not being able to share the same computer with other players is one of such limitations (due to the frequent abuse of our free accounts, unfortunately). By becoming a subscriber you will instantly gain full access to all features on ZooEscape.com.
    A: You can play for free on ZooEscape as long as you wish. We do not limit how long you can use your free account. However, there are a number of other limitations, such as the number of games you can play at the same time, banner advertising shown on all pages, only one account per computer, etc., which do not apply to subscribers.
    A: Rest assured that the software that "rolls" the dice is designed and implemented with the utmost care, considering how important it is to the game. The values of the dice are generated using a server-based random number generator utilizing a hardware issued seed number, so they are guaranteed to be random and cannot be altered or influenced by any user actions in any way.

    Here are some site statistics gathered as of June 2010:
    • Number of completed games (excluding canceled and short games): 194,870
    • Average number of rolls to complete a game: 49.74
    • Total number of times the dice have been rolled in those games: 9,692,035

    Visit the Backgammon Dice Statistics page for the must up-to-date site statistics.

    Randomness and probability can be very counter-intuitive, so it might seem like something that is supposed to be random is happening too often or not often enough when in fact it is to be expected based on statistics.

    For example, statistically, the chances of rolling any doubles is 1 in 6. Accordingly, the probability to roll two doubles in a row (e.g. double 5s followed by double 3s) is 1 in 6*6 and three doubles in a row is 1 in 6*6*6. Since the average a backgammon game takes 49 rolls of the dice to complete, rolling three doubles in a row happens approximately in 1 of every 4.4 games. As you can see, it is actually quite common despite what intuition might tell you.

    Moreover, the chances of rolling double 6s three times in a row is 36*36*36, which means double 6s are rolled three times in a row approximately in 1 of every 952 games. So even this is not that uncommon of an occurrence, and is far more likely than winning a lottery.
    A: If you need to postpone your games due to a vacation, or holidays, or an illness, you can do so by clicking on the link entitled "Postpone My Games" on the page with your active backgammon games, from the link on the "Settings" menu, or this link.
    A: A forced turn is when a move or moves are made automatically because there was only one possible way to move the chips. A player can enable/disable this option in their account settings.
    A: A player with 3 or more canceled games within a period of 3 days will not be allowed to start or join any new games for up to 3 days.
    A: A doubling cube is used in backgammon to increase the points received by the winner of the game. At the start of the game, the cube is set at '1'. If a player has possession of the cube, and it is their turn to move, and they have not yet rolled the dice, they can offer to double the current points. The opposing player can either accept the offer, at which point they take possession of the cube, or they must resign the game. At the beginning of the game, no one has possession of the cube so either player can initiate the offer. If the opponent accepts the doubling offer, the current points are doubled. If the opponent chooses to resign in response to the offer, the game ends with the points remaining unchanged (at the value before the offer was made). The highest possible value of the cube is 64.

    The value of the cube at the end of the game is multiplied by 2 in the case of a gammon or 3 in the case of a backgammon. The final points influence the participating players' ratings according to the rating formula. Please note that gammon/backgammon can only result from a game completing normally, or if your opponent resigns. If during a game with a doubling cube a player declines to double and the game ends, no gammon/backgammon will be awarded.
    A: A player will not likely see certain sequences of dice in 'real life', assuming 'real life' means playing on a board with another person because they will not come close to the 'volume' of dice rolls that one sees while playing against other players on a website. If a player has 20 active games and takes 5 turns per day, they will see 200 rolls of the dice in one day (remember that each 'round' has two rolls -- one for each player). If the probability of any three doubles in a row is 1 in 216, that player would expect to see three sets of doubles occur each day.

    See more on the statistics of the dice in FAQ #27.
    A: Check out our What's New page! It's updated whenever there are significant changes to the site.
    A: If a game ends normally, the outcome of the game is equal to 1 point. In the case of a gammon, the outcome is 2 points, and in the case of a backgammon, 3 points. If the doubling cube is used, the value of the cube at the end of the game is multiplied by the gammon/backgammon points. The final points influence the participating players' ratings according to the rating formula. So the Combined Score is the difference between the total points in the games you've won against that player less the total points in the games that player has won against you.
    A: Finished games older than 30 days are permanently deleted unless you have a subscription. In other words, all of your finished games are stored indefinitely, as long as you maintain your subscription.
    A: Nackgammon is essentially the same as Backgammon, except for a slightly different starting position. In Nackgammon each player starts with 4 back checkers rather than 2. The 2 checkers come from the player's midpoint and 6-point. All other rules are the same as in Backgammon. Read more about Nackgammon by clicking on this link.
    A: Acey-Deucey is similar to Backgammon but the roll of an ace and a deuce (1-2) gives the player extra turns. Read more about Acey-Deucey by clicking on this link.
    A: If you wish to retire from a Ladder, visit the Ladders page and click on the 'Resign' button for the Ladder and follow the steps listed there.
    A: You are able to rejoin the Ladder once all in-progress Ladder games at the time you were retired are finished.
    A: -> Internet Explorer: Go to Tools->Internet Options. Click on the 'Security' tab. Click the 'Custom Level' button. Scroll down to 'Scripting' and check the 'Enable' box for 'Active Scripting'.

    -> Firefox: Go to Tools->Options. Click on 'Content' and select the check box for 'Enable JavaScript'.

    -> Safari: Go to Edit->Preferences. Click on 'Security' and select the check box for 'Enable JavaScript'.
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