An Introduction to Case's Backgammon Leagues
A few months ago, I was playing in a tournament in Yahoo organized by one of the free, all-volunteer Case's backgammon leagues. A particular match I played there perhaps subliminally sparked the idea for this blog.
Before I tell you about this match, let me explain what Case's is. If you are an avid online gamer, then Case's is a good place to find free tournaments for any game you like. Backgammon, chess, poker, pool, scrabble, and probably even tic tac toe...you name it and there are many free leagues for you to join. Anyone can start a new league there anytime for any reason for any game.
What's great about Case's is the statistics. There are statistics for everything. Top Skill Ratings, Top Ranked Players, Most Games Played Players, Top Win-Loss Percentages, Hotest Players, Coldest Players, Top 20 Ladder Players...and this is just scratching the surface of the stats.
Another good thing about Case's leagues is the "TDs" or Tournament Directors. These are the selfless volunteers that forego their own play to organize tournaments, congratulate and console their tourney players, and moderate squabbles between players. Playing in a Case league on such a public site as Yahoo keeps you are away from 99.9% of the psychopaths that you would normally encounter. TDs have the power to banish jerks from their leagues.
On each league's homepage is the schedule of daily tournaments. Also, there's usually links to future special tournaments for which you can register, such as Teams Tournaments, Battle Of The Sexes Tournaments, Battle Of The Champions Tournaments, Pro-Am Tournaments (I'm still not sure what these are since no top ranked world players I know of play in a Case league), and Multi-Day Swiss Tournaments.
If you have a taste for the exotic, try no-hit, first-hit, neckgammon, swiss, and others. Personally, I'm hopelessly addicted to double eliminations and team tournaments. Playing in these tournaments may well be what has kept me playing online for so long.
Some of the Case's backgammon leagues play at Yahoo; some play at MSN Zone or other free online sites. Some leagues allow matches played on multiple sites, including FIBS and GamesGrid, to qualify for their league statistcs. Check Case's out at: www.myleague.com .
I've played mostly in Case's Yahoo leagues because of Yahoo's user interface. It's the best I've seen of the free backgammon sites that partner with Case. I stay off of MSN Zone because I have the philosophy that the less dealings I have with Microsoft, the better off I and the world are.
Each of the Case leagues has a different flavor, a different ambience, to it. For instance, the Ace Point League plays in Yahoo's Advanced Avenue. This club takes its room name very, very seriously. Most of the players are very, very serious.
Ace Point is not a league where players dawdle over the board chatting about the architecture of Istanbul. Instead, silent abulutions are performed to the Yahell Dice Demons for favor with the lopsided dice. Focus, concentration, and Snowie is what it's all about. It is a bloody shame that all the serious energy of Ace Point is wasted using Yahoo dice. And all that ego, too.
Most Ace Point organizers and players don't consider themselves merely "advanced" players, but expert players. Some have even shown up at the Monte Carlo World Backgammon Championships. Granted, they may have lost in the first round, but they did think they were good enough to pay that huge entry fee and travel there.
Meanwhile, on the flipside in Yahoo's Tarantula Theater, the Cheers League simulates the Cheers bar of the famed TV sitcom. And they really want to know your name, too. And everything else they can find out about you.
Cheers is a touchy-feely league with lots of chatting up in the lounge and at the tables. Very friendly people, I am sure, but I really don't want to have to remember all their real names. "StumpyB", "HunnyBunny", "The Skunk" and "Underdog" work just fine for me. Plus, these reveal a lot more about the players than their real names possibly ever could.
If you play backgammon online as a preamble for making friends, then Cheers is for you. They will make sure you are not left out of the chatter in their home room...as much as you try otherwise. Like I said. Very friendly people. They may have the right attitude, though, for playing in Yahoo. Perhaps Yahoo backgammon should only be background noise for good converstaion.
There are plenty of other Case's leagues on Yahoo. Play in any Yahoo backgammon room and you'll see never-ending spam about joining the league that uses that room. You'll also be viscerated with spamming for about five to ten minutes before a tournament starts telling you what you already know--that the tournament is about to start. In the chattier leagues, you'll witness a lot of personal information given out freely for everyone in the room to see. Just try not to blush...or to steal it.