Inexplicably, backgammon aficionados (who own a PS4) have been handed a gift in the form of VooFoo Studios’ “Backgammon Blitz”. With virtually no offerings (currently) available when it comes to card and tabletop games, it’s somewhat surprising that a game like this would suddenly emerge. Clearly it’s not a title designed for everyone, although it is a game that nearly anyone could easily pick up and learn to play. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran and expert or someone who’s only recently discovered this most ancient diversion, the PlayStation 4 is an excellent platform for hosting matches. In fact, one might even argue that the game of backgammon shines even brighter in its digitized form. This isn’t to say that it’s easy to master of course, the inherent challenge of the game itself is still there, which is why we’ve put together handy little guide to help you improve your odds (and earn some trophies)…
Earning trophies (with some helpful hints)
Probably the most immediate thing that a lot of players are going to want to do (aside from simply exploring what the game has to offer) is to earn most of the available trophies. They’re more or less set up to follow your expectations here – with specific achievements corresponding to the classic tropes of the game itself (rolling doubles or winning by gammon). Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the more notable trophies you can get…
Backgammon (Win by Backgammon)
As you probably already know, to achieve this kind of win you need to get all of your pieces into the home zone and your opponent needs to have not borne off a checker and still have one or more pieces in their home area (or bar). Naturally, this is the win you want because of its greater point value, among other things.
If you really want to learn to become an adept player, capable of easily pulling of a backgammon win you should study some of the available literature concerning “opening theory”. In essence, you have 15 different possible opening rolls and the corresponding available moves that go with them. If you understand this your overall approach to the game should improve dramatically.
Gammon (Win by a Gammon)
Typically speaking, a “Gammon” win is considered to be the standard, de facto type. For most people, this particular trophy will likely be one of the first they receive as pulling off a backgammon win might be out of their reach.
There have been volumes written by backgammon specialists who have developed entire statistical systems around vying for the gammon win (check this out for reference). To be honest, if you want to master the game, it’s vital that you understand these kinds of odds in relation to how checker play is affected.
Underdog (Win an online game against a player with a higher rank)
This one isn’t so much vital to improve your overall comprehension as it is to boost your self-esteem. However, once you finally do achieve it, one might say that it’s a clear indication that your overall skill level is improving and you might be ready for more intense challenges.
Full House (Use every Power-Up at least once)
You get the “Full House” trophy by using every available power-up in the game at least once, which is only possible in “blitz mode”. Here is a list containing each one, how to activate it and what some of them do:
- Bodyguard (auto unlocked) – protects a blot for 1 turn, used to prevent it from being taken
- One Die (2 games or 150 Bullion) – reduces your opponents next roll to only one die
- Switch (4 games or 400 Bullion) – allows you to exchange one of your nips for that of your opponents
- Knockout (8 games or 900 Bullion)
- Frozen (16 games or 1650 Bullions)
- Overload (32 games or 2650 Bullion)
- The Joker (64 games or 3900 Bullion)
- On Fire (128 games or 5400 Bullion)
While the standard mode is certainly fine (a recreation of the classic form), it is the blitz mode that many are going to want to explore. Quite simply, these power-ups are vital to your success when playing the blitz mode and actually greatly enhance the overall action as well as strategic element inherent in the game. All in all it adds an entirely new dimension to the game that’s wholly satisfying.
Mixing it Up (Win a game on all 4 Backgammon sets)
While this trophy is largely aesthetic in value, but is an indication of your basic skills nonetheless. Each board, Wooden, Workshop, Leather, and Stone possesses its own unique feel and seems to add a certain unique atmosphere to a match (even though there are no core differences).
Triple Winner (Win 3 online games in a row)
To get this trophy you only need to win 3 games in a row while playing online. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, it CAN be a challenge if you’re a beginner and it’s recommended that you simply improve and refine your approach until you can unlock it.
However, there is another way to get it which involves the help of an online friend: You only need to start a game, set a 15 point limit and then have the prearranged winner select the double stake increase. Conversely, the one who’s allowing themselves to be defeated, should forfeit. As expected, it’s only necessary to do this 3 times to unlock the trophy and the process can obviously be reversed so as to allow the other person to get it as well.
Backgammon Blitz is a really great, fun experience for the individual who likes board / casino games. At the same time, the way it faithfully recreates the classic experience while also expanding upon it with the awesome “blitz mode” makes it something special. It should be noted that there aren't currently any other options available on the PS4 for bored / casino games, if you want to experience bored / casino games and have a PC or smartphone then you might want to check out how-to create a free Royal Vegas account - which gives you access to a variety of games similar to Backgammon such as poker, Blackjack, slots, roulette and many more.
For those who really want to master the game it’s recommended that you take the time to study some of the well-known strategies.