Magmic Backgammon Reviewed

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Magmic Backgammon
My problem is that reviewing a casual game is harder than it sounds. It really hurts me to say that my “sugar cookie tin with the names of all the games inside” method is very bad for the drive to write a review. Is there a reason why the development houses have their different versions of Blackjack, Poker, Chess, Checkers, and Solitaire? They seem to rival the amount of original games that they release.

Well, after playing some so-called casual games for a couple of weeks I’ve realized something. Backgammon, as well as a slew of other simple board games turned electronic, is by definition: the perfect mobile game. They’ve survived for generations in all manner of pubs, parlors, and kitchen tables. Now they’ll survive in the fifteen minutes of downtime that we get to playin’ em on our BlackBerry.


I like to play Backgammon in real life, and to me the experience is not lost on the BlackBerry. In fact, I find Magmic’s solid “jog-wheel only” interface to be a convenience boon in the market of mobile casual games. With the jog-wheel in one hand I can still eat a bowl of cereal, do Internet banking/gambling, pretend to work at the office, or catch the bus while giving the dice a roll. Sometimes I even have a full conversation with someone and keep the backgammon rolling all the while. Why not throw in some real risk/reward strategy decisions in with the morning office gossip—it can only make it better.

Though it lacks a network multiplayer mode, my duels with the AI makes Magmic’s Backgammon a classic timekiller. The kind of game that you play for just minutes a day hoping to beat the AI’s tireless onslaught. Magmic’s Backgammon is well done in that the graphics are just fine and the AI doesn’t make me want to make me have a stiff drink just to give it a chance. Actually, the AI was able to surprise me with its “gambling spirit”.

The other day I was commuting and I had a series of lucky high-doubles rolls that helped me out-peg the AI by a good margin. In a cunning move it had left a straggling piece behind so that I would be forced to jump it. I didn’t realize what was happening when I was moving my pieces out but it had advanced its pieces into perfect 2-deep rows in 7 consecutive points. The game kept juggling as it advanced its pieces in perfect formation, re-eating me as I got out of limbo over and over again. I tell you if a machine had gaming malice it would be my 7100.

I was impressed by the AI’s fly moves at backgammon so I looked up its technique. The particular strategy that it had used on me was called the blockade and the strategy that it used to get me into the blockade was called the backgame. I saw a movie about this called WarGames and a young Matthew Broderick (having nothing to do with Sex and the City’s Sarah Jessica Parker at the time) tried to score one for humanity against a military computer.

Good luck with that one Ferris, I for one welcome our new robot masters.

-Tony from QuicklyBored.com – The Mobile Gaming Website!

You can download a 3-day trial of Backgammon by pointing your Blackberry Browser to: http://bb.magmic.com

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