FAQ2020-09-01T18:43:45+10:00

Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find many of the questions our players have. If you have a question that is not listed below, please Contact us.

I am just a beginner. Can I still come along and play?2020-09-01T18:43:00+10:00

Beginners are most welcome.  Players of all skill levels play at the Victorian Backgammon Association.  We do use the doubling cube.  Read more on the doubling cube for beginners in our Backgammon rules section.

Does the Victorian Backgammon Association meet at a physical venue?2020-09-01T03:05:44+10:00

At the moment, we do not conduct in-person events, due to the pandemic restrictions in Melbourne.  We play online on the internet instead.

Does the Victorian Backgammon Association provide online tournaments on the internet?2020-09-02T20:10:29+10:00

Currently this is the way the VBA is continuing playing backgammon together.  We use the Safe Harbour Games site for game play, and the Jitsi video conferencing site for communications.  Please see the How To Play Online page for more details.

Does it cost any money to play?2020-09-01T13:38:07+10:00
For in-person play, you have the option of paying a tournament entry fee, and if you do pay you are eligible for prize money should you progress to the final 4 of the regular tournaments.
Free tournament entry is available.  Free entries are not eligible for prize money even if you win that tournament. Free entries are encouraged for those wishing to learn about tournament backgammon.
For online play, all entries are free – no tournament entry fees are payable.
How much does it cost?2020-09-01T13:40:34+10:00
Regular tournament entry is $5 with all moneys returned.  
VBA full and social memberships are available here.
You can always play for free. For in-person play, if you choose to pay, the current tournament entry fee is $5, which will cover all matches in a particular tournament. This will be a minimum of one match, and a maximum of four matches, depending on how many matches you win.
For online play, all entries are free.
Should I bring my own board?2020-09-01T13:44:55+10:00

If you can, that would be helpful, and reduce the risk of having to wait for a board to become available. Physical boards are not required for online play.

Do I have to come along every week?2020-09-01T13:50:27+10:00

No, you can come along just once, or just every now and then. If you have matches pending in a tournament that does not complete on the night, and you do not return for several weeks, you will eventually forfeit those pending matches, to be fair for other participants in the tournament.

What happens if I arrive late?2020-09-01T13:53:47+10:00

No stress! Matches start all through the evening, so you can still play even if you running a bit late. The latest you could arrive and still expect to play is 9:00pm.

Can I just watch others play?2020-09-01T13:59:53+10:00

Yes, you are most welcome to just watch. You can learn a lot by just watching others, and many people find this relaxing.

Is the venue suitable for children?2020-09-01T14:10:34+10:00
Yes. Backgammon at the Tower Hotel is played in a dedicated function room and the main family restaurant area, located toward the front-apex of the hotel.
As alcohol is served at the venue, children must always be accompanied by a responsible adult.
The Sports & Gaming rooms, at the rear of the venue are always open for bar-service and assistance.
For online play, the Safe Harbour Games site is suitable for older children, but they should always be supervised by a parent or guardian.
Do you meet on public holidays?2020-09-01T14:12:18+10:00

Usually yes. We love backgammon! Check the home page of this website for when we are next meeting.

What do you mean that a match is to 5 points?2020-09-01T14:13:34+10:00

Backgammon matches consist of one, but usually more, individual games of backgammon. Each game will award a minimum of one point to the winner, or possibly more than one point depending on the final value of the doubling cube and whether the game is won with a gammon or a backgammon.  The winner of the match is the first player to reach or exceed a predetermined number of points, known as the match-length. When we say a match is to 5 points, then the first player to reach or exceed 5 points wins the match. The maximum number of games in a 5 point match is nine. The minimum number of games in a 5 point match is one (and what a thrilling game it is when that happens). Matches at the Victorian Backgammon Association are typically either to 5 points, 7 points or 9 points.

Do I have to use the doubling cube?2020-09-01T18:41:00+10:00

Yes. All matches employ the doubling cube. If you do not know how to use the doubling cube, let everyone know so they can take you through how it all works. Read more about the doubling cube in the Backgammon rules section.

What is the Crawford Rule?2020-09-01T18:40:00+10:00

This is a very common rule in match play backgammon that states that when the leader reaches a score than is one less than that required to win the match, the doubling cube may not be used on the very next game. However should the trailer win that game, then the doubling cube can be used once again on all subsequent games. Should the leader win that game, they obviously win the match, and there are no subsequent games. The Victorian Backgammon Association uses the Crawford Rule in all matches.

What’s a rebuy?2020-09-01T14:19:15+10:00

If you lose a match, then you are out of that tournament. But not all slots in the tournament fill up at the beginning. Often there are still empty slots available. When this is the case, you can “rebuy” back into that same tournament, meaning you get to play again from round one in the same tournament. As with all regular tournaments, this can either be for free or you can pay the small tournament entry fee if you wish to be eligible for prize money. Even if you haven’t crashed out of a tournament, but your next opponent is unavailable or yet to be determined, you can buy back in (or rebuy) into that same tournament. This means you may have multiple live entries in a tournament, and that can mean you meet yourself in a particular round – you will obviously win that particular round without playing an actual match. If a paid “you” meets a free “you”, then we will deem the paid “you” to have won that round.

Can I win money playing backgammon at the Victorian Backgammon Association?2020-09-01T14:20:39+10:00
For in-person play, yes. If you elect to pay the small entry fee for a particular regular tournament, then you are eligible to win prize money should you come first, second or third in that tournament. The entry fee is $5, and the maximum first prize is $40, but may be less depending on how many entrants chose to enter for free. A payback schedule is available at the venue upon request.
When the quarterly tournaments are run, free entries are not permitted, and larger sums are available. The minimum first prize for a quarterly tournament is $300.
For online play, no prize money is available.
Is Backgammon gambling?2020-09-01T18:38:42+10:00

No, although you do have to take chances during the match. Skilful players will make decisions that reduce risks later on. Backgammon is a game of risk management. Better players tend to win more matches than novice players, although the presence of dice adds an element of randomness to the result.

Is Backgammon just luck?2020-09-06T15:11:10+10:00

Luck is only one element in Backgammon. The decisions you make will sway how badly you are impacted by unlucky rolls later on. Better players tend to win more matches, so it is not just luck. This integral combination of skill and luck is what makes playing Backgammon so fascinating.

Do I need to become a member of the Victorian Backgammon Association to play?2020-09-01T14:25:22+10:00

You do not need to be a member of the association to play.

Is there a code of conduct that I must follow?2020-09-01T14:26:51+10:00

Yes. If you participate in an event run by the Victorian Backgammon Association you agree to abide by the code of conduct, which involves being respectful towards all other members, guests and support personnel. Backgammon can be a very emotive game, so you also agree to be a good sport in both victory and defeat.

What is the Australian national ratings system?2020-09-01T14:28:22+10:00

The Australian Backgammon Federation runs a national ratings system that calculates a rating for each player based on match results. All match results from the Victorian Backgammon Association are entered into the national ratings system. By playing at the Victorian Backgammon Association you agree for your name and match results to be entered into this system. The benefit is you can see how you rank compared to all other nationally rated players. Many backgammon clubs around Australia contribute results to the national ratings system. Refer to the tournaments page on the ABF site.

What does my rating mean?2020-09-01T14:29:46+10:00

When you begin you receive a rating of 1500. When you win your rating goes up. When you lose your rating goes down. While the maths is complicated, if you win against someone more highly rated than you, your own rating will go up a lot. If you win against someone whose rating is lower than yours, your own rating will only go up a little. If your rating is lower than 1500, you are generally losing more matches than you win. If your rating is higher than 1500, you are generally winning more matches than you lose.

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