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Gammonsite vs Gridgammon vs SHG

Posted By: Michael Petch
Date: Saturday, 22 February 2014, at 11:38 p.m.

In Response To: Gammonsite vs Gridgammon vs SHG (MishyPoo)

If it was my server it would be all one set of dice. But it isn't my server, and having experience on SHG before the yellow (proper dice distribution), during the change to yellow dice and after (red and yellow dice) I can say that there is reason for their apparent madness.

At one time it was all red dice, and no one knew any better until Neil Robbins made a post here on BGO and Will Womack and I engaged in a dice study. First it didn't take long to conclude the dice didn't have the normal distribution of doubles. The dice seemed random when you looked at the number of times a 1,2,3,4,5,6 turned up, but when in combination 11,22,33,44,55,66 were appearing with significantly less frequency than what you'd expect..

People (including some well known world class players that frequent here) were oblivious to the problem before it was discovered. No one complained for almost 18 months.

When SHG was made aware of the problem they did in fact say they were using Meresenne Twister but they evened out the number of doubles (I don't know the exact algorithm). The net effect was that doublets appeared less frequently. After explaining to them that this wasn't representative of properly weighted 6 side dice, they actually changed the dice generation across all of Backgammon to be proper.

Interestingly enough the social players on the site (and there are a lot) especially in the social tournament rooms noticed a considerable change in the dice. They Hosts of the social tournaments complained quite loudly to SHG that their players were complaining that the dice were now bad (too many doubles) and that they would stop running events and go to another site. SHG compromised. They created two sets of dice. The original dice (red) and the proper dice (yellow). Tournament rooms were allowed to choose what they wanted. If you look at the rooms you may noticed that among the tournament rooms the number of rooms with red dice outnumbers the yellow. The reality is that social players see the dice as fairer with fewer doubles. The rated rooms are yellow.

SHG gave them what they wanted. Red dice rooms are Backgammon but just a different variant that seems to sit well with social players there.

I probably shouldn't be saying this, but some staff there have been discussing potentially going with all the same (proper yellow dice). Whether they do so or not, hard to say. They do understand the situation, and if it was a matter of a software developer deciding, I think it would change. But there is a larger social community who don't see it that way.

Although SHG gives the choice (one I wouldn't give personally) - I understand where they are coming from.

During our dice studies Will Womack and I took a lot of heat for "ruining the dice" on SHG - meaning they hated the new yellow dice. Some of that hatred had spilled onto the Will's Backgammon blog:


These comments are tame compared to some of the vitriol that was hurled our way. SHG itself had no issues with Will and I doing the studies (before and after the dice changed), and were supportive.

It was brought to my attention by a BGO(or ex) poster here that there is a mobile program that apparently has done the same thing for their product. I can see someone doing that because if you look in the appstores reviews they are filled with negative complaints about the bad dice. And ratings on applications matter if you want to get noticed.

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