Downloading and installing GNU Backgammon on MS-Windows

Downloading and installing GNU Backgammon on a computer with Microsoft Windows is fearly easy. This article will show you how to do this.

Update July 2006: This atricle of this install is a bit outdated. You should rather use Max Maini install files, found here.


First you should download the installation archive.

Click here to start downloading (7.2 MB)

Save the file somewhere on your hard disk or open the file directly if your browser allows that. If you want to make sure the transfer was correct and that nobody has tricked you with anything, you can check the md5 checksum of the file. It should be ff6105618d914db4bfc8e717ca820468. In addition you can check the detached signature against my, Řystein Johansen <>, PGP public key.

This installation archive contains a binary build of GNU Backgammon based on the cvs sources from Wednesday March 2nd 2005. This archive has also updated libraries compared to any other installation archive. You should get this!

For Python users: This build is linked to Python 2.3.


You simply open the installation archive you downloaded. If everything goes right you will the welcome screen shown in the figure below.

image of installation welcome screen

Enjoy the image on the left side, and press the button labeled "Next" to continue your installation. The next screen you will see is this:

image of installation screen License agreement.

This is the license agreement for GNU Backgammon. The program is developed under the GNU General Public License, and is something really good for the end user. First of all it's free to use. The usage is totally unlimited in time. You also have the right to distribute copies of the program. If you're a programmer you're also allowed to make changes to the program and the source code is available. (The source code is not included in the installation package though.) You're even allowed to redistribute the program if you make some modifications to it, however if you do, you have to include the source code of your modifications. If you want to learn more about the GNU Project, the General Public License and Free Software Foundation, you should visit the Free Software Foundation web site.

As you may understand, the GNU General Public License is something good for computer users, so you should accept the agreement by clicking the radio button labeled "I accept the agreement" and then press "Next >".

You should now see the installation window like this:

image of installation screen. Destination directory .

In this dialog you can control which directory or hard disk your GNU Backgammon will be installed. The default will usually be c:\Program Files\gnubg. You can of course select another destination directory if you want.

When you have selected your destination directory, or if you're satisfied with the default destination directory, you can click on the button labeled "Next >".

The next page in the installer will look something like this:

image of installation screen. Start Menu Folder.

In this page you can select the name of the Start Menu Folder that the installation will create for you. The default name is GNU Backgammon for Windows. You can of course change this if you want. Click "Next >".

image of installation screen. Select additional Tasks.

In the next page you will be asked if you want any additional icons that can click start GNU Backgammon. If you want an icon on your Desktop, you select a checkmark in the option labeled Create desktop icon. If you want a Quick Launch icon in the task bar, you select a checkmark in the option labeled Create Quick Launch icon. Then click "Next >".

image of installation screen. Ready to install.

The next page is a last check before the installation starts. Click "Install" and the files in the archive will be installed on your computer. You will see a progress bar running on the install page while the files in the archive is extracted to your computer. The extracting is completed, you will see this page appearing:

image of installation screen. Bearoff databases.

GNU Backgammon uses bearoff databases to evaluate bearoff positions (endgame positions). There are two such databases. There is a one-sided database for positions with bearoff probabilities for all 15 checkers left. Then there is also a two-sided bearoff database, which handles position with 6 or less checkers left, but considering both sides. If you are a real student of backgammon you would like these databases. However, these databases are not included in the installation archive. In this page of the installation program, you can select whenever you want to download these databases now, or if you want the installation program to generate the databases at your computer now.

If you want to download the database files, you can check the Download from Internet now option. If you then click "Next >" the installation program will download the databases from the net. The download size is about 6.6 MB. This method of obtaining the bearoff databases is recommended if you have a good internet connection. It is not recommended if you're connected to the internet through a dial up modem or an ISDN connection. It's of course not possible to download the databases if your computer is not connected to internet.

Note: The download uses normal FTP for downloading, and if the FTP server ask you about a username and a password, which may happen if your system isn't properly configured, you can use 'anonymous' as you username, and your email address as password.

If you have a modern computer you ca also make the installation program build the databases now. Since building the databases is a rather complicated calculation, the building process can take some time. On a 2 GHz machine it will typically take about 3-4 minutes. Select the Generate the databases now option and click "Next >" if you want to generate the databases.

If you select Skip the installation of the bearoff databases the installation will continue with out the installation of these databases. You will still be able to enjoy GNU Backgammon, and it will still evaluate bearoff position. However, GNU Backgammon will generate a heuristic bearoff database at every startup.

Note: The installation program checks to see if it can find the bearoff databases before it proceeds. If you do not get the dialog above, the installation program has probably already found the bearoff databases.

image of installation screen. Bearoff databases.

When the databases are completely downloaded or completely generated you will see the finishing page of the installation.

image of installation screen. Finish.

Click "Finish" to complete the installation of GNU Backgammon for Windows.
posted at 00:39:51 on 10/08/04 by oystein - Category: General


Adrian Wright (ithakus) wrote:

I have already installed 0.14.3 devel with the patches to 6 Sept from the other site.

Is this a later version? If so can this be installed on top or will I have to replace things (like the updated file with the bad move colouring)?
10/11/04 14:14:49

oystein wrote:

This is a new package. The binary is built on the 29. Sept. In addition the coloring of moves should be fixed. It's also built and linked agains other (newer) DLL libraries.

I therefore suggest you install this build instead of the one you got.

1. You can make a backup of your old settings file, .gnubgautorc.

2. Uninstall the gnubg installation you got. (I guess you won't need to uninstall the previous installation, but if you don't you will have some unnecessarry files on you disc.)

3. Install this one.

4. Copy the backuped .gnubgautorc file back to install directory.

Good luck,
10/11/04 16:17:33

coupe3_0 wrote:

Looks great, and it works too!

Will there still be a link from the webpage to a source for nightly (periodic) builds of the .exe with latest changes? I couldn't find one on this new page.
10/11/04 16:50:46

Pierre Labbé wrote:

Hello oystein,

As an old fan of GNU backgammon I would like to congratulate you for the nice improvements on this latest version of GNU backgammon. I follow the site to see the new release when they come.

I noticed that if you install version 0.14.3 over previous version it hangs while generating the board. However I stop the program, uninstalled it and the older one and reinstalled it. It is working great.

What I like the most about this version is that you set the game record to be visible by default. If I am not mistaken you also add colour coding to spot errors in it. With a little practice I got the hang of it.

Backgammon is an easy game to learn, but a difficult one to master. I use it often to perform analysis of match I play on the internet (winning or loosing) to see what I did right and mostly wrong.

From version to version you seem to put some efforts to make this software easier to use and understand, this is the greatest asset. I used to talk of GNU backgammon to people that I knew, had a good knowledge of backgammon. This latest version is so simple to use that I will talk of it to players having less experience in backgammon.

Keep up the good work.
10/12/04 21:54:50

Renzo wrote:

"If you want to download the database files, you can check the Download form internet now option. If you then click "Next >" [cut]

The server ask for username and pwd
I' ve tryed guest guest but it ask me again

10/18/04 01:08:04

webadmin wrote:

Hi Renzo!

The downloading protocol is normal ftp. Does it work with username 'anonymous' and password ''?

10/18/04 04:13:33

smiley wrote:

no comment
10/19/04 03:56:42

juul wrote:

Mayor bug: After a clean install, when I try to set "worldclass" predefined settings i get lots og "temporary debug"-errors.

Minor bug: On the install splash it says "launch gnubg fo windows" not "for windows" :)
10/20/04 19:57:13

Diane Varner wrote:

I've gone through this several times with the same problems... I uninstall GNU then go to the new build here. Download and save everything as detailed above. Then when GNU initializes, I get a notepad like box with:

gnugb.eye 1680 gdk-warning gdk_win32 pixnap_new depts: 16 doesn't match . . . . 15 something. If I x out the program crashes. If I minimize this window, I can play a match.

Another time I tried to download it the program failed to initialize saying the exe files were corrupted. boo hoo
10/22/04 03:02:40

PhilipC wrote:

Had difficulty with's backgammon game so i searched for this one and have been pleased since.
10/28/04 01:58:36

eduardo braham wrote:

i like to play this game..
10/28/04 23:28:04

Ric Gerace wrote:

Hey! The 29 October version won't do English. It's doing Czech or Hungarian or something (I haven't a clue but it looks like one of those). Tried changing it in Options but didn't work. C'mon, no fair!!! ;-)

10/29/04 01:18:04

Steve Herzfeld wrote:

It has downloaded in Russian or Polish (neither of which I understand).

How do I get to English (USA)

10/29/04 15:08:28

Peace wrote:

The last two versions display the panels quite badly...
I.e. the analysis panel shows some wide colums in this order: Rank - Type - Equity - ...
If I should be able to see just some of my board, I need to keep the panels quite narrow, and then I can only see the two first colums, Rank and Type... And that's not much good...
I can't resize the colums...
Pretty annoying...
This must be a bug?
11/01/04 22:11:51

Pierre wrote:

Hello -Řystein,

Just downloaded and installed this latest version. Good thing I kept a copy of the Version 0.14-devel (build Sep 29 2004)...

Some bugs that I saw are...

1) Menus items are in French even though I didn't download the French patch for menus

2) Boards settings are bad, no dimention in the checkers when checkers are available.

3)Analysis of match imported form NetGammon does not work. Don't show the colour coding in the match board, for instance. Previous version where working great with NG match (imported in a .mat format)

As in baseball I uninstealled the version after 3 strikes :-)
11/02/04 16:06:29

Angela wrote:

After the 4th step of downloading instructions, dling "setup", I was not able to open or run it. Window came up saying "files were corrupted". What now?
11/02/04 18:57:07

Ric Gerace wrote:

I have the same problem as Peace about the width of the equity column. Jon Kinsey fixed this but his fix doesn't seem to have made it into the current build.
11/03/04 15:35:12

onur wrote:

thanks to people who create and improve this program.
and also thanks for free distribution without money.
i was used to earlier version of gnu but dont know which one and i learnt most of the functions what means.
then i downloaded the last version 2 weeks ago and realize that much of things have been changed
it seems greater but with some problems :(
1) i couldnt change anything on the settings. players, analyse etc..
it says temprorary bug...
you should count....
like these words not remember exactly
so i must play with the initial values.
ply, modify, noise..
couldnt change and save anything

someone also ask this problem above but the answer is not enough and cant be understandable
can someone explain the problem and help to right it with understandable words :) sorry for my beginner english :(

2)when i start the gnu also command prompt windows appears
it nervous me ://()
i dont want to see it
is there a method that dont open this window?

and another question;
as being a neural net program
when install the gnu
is there anyting in the gnu brain?
or it learns when i play with it?
is this knowledge loaded when it created
and there is no much need to play with it anymore?
i ask because my pc and some folders have problems so i uninstall gnu several times and re install it
if it is, this mean reset the knowledge and play play many game to make it stronger player

i am new to gnu and also dont know many functions. i realize this web site new and be grateful for helps
thanks for helps..
11/04/04 01:17:21

Barbara Smith wrote:

I am new to gnu,and i'm not very good at this and could use all the help you could spare
11/04/04 04:06:41

onur wrote:

i download the latest gnu from this site and saw that
there is no temprorary debug message when change the settings,
and also no command prompt window :)
i think this version is for me :)
but now there is another problem
i made the player strength 2 ply and modify something else
but when i played with gnu
realize that gnu played too worse :((
like joking
i closed and open it some hours later
this time i saw thet it played better but also sometimes make too bad move
and after another game it again played too bad
what can be the problem?
does gnu effect from pc speed memort or etc?
or when another program is working?
or will it be stronger when i play it millions of game :)
help pls
11/04/04 14:13:19

Ric Gerace wrote:

Thanks Oystein. Good job. :^)
11/05/04 01:07:28

Febs wrote:

You R00leZ
11/07/04 09:46:30

Torno Subito wrote:

A little suggestion: please give the installer a more meaningful name than "setup". Something like "gnubg-0.14-setup.exe" would be far way better.
Thank you very much for your job.
Let's do some nice marketing and let's crush all the other backgammon programs out of this world.
11/07/04 10:21:06

hokahey222 wrote:

backgammon online
11/21/04 18:29:16

phil shockley wrote:

I enjoy your backgammon download. It gives me hours or relaxing and stimulating enjoyment.
11/21/04 23:16:56

Philippe UpperEast2 wrote:

The size of the police is rather small. I 'm used to check my moves with the hint function and in comparison with the previous version I've difficulties to read it (1024x768). What about to include in the setting the police size ? I know guys that you worked a lot for providing a powerful engine and a soft with many functions. My comment may be pointless but this problem leads me to continue with the old version...I thank you for this soft but I'm sorry that such a triviality hampers to appreciate the performed job.
12/09/04 00:16:19

oystein wrote:

Philippe: You can set the size of your fonts in the file called gnubg.gtkrc.

Change the line:
font = "-unknown-tahoma-normal-r-normal-*-*-90-*-*-p-*-iso8859-1"

set in a different number than 90 and restart GNU Backgammon.

12/10/04 14:41:16

DebbiW wrote:

Having new GNUbg problem, after a few weeks of great play. The game is crashing for no reason. I uninstalled and did a new download, and same thing happens. It's not the dancing bug, it's a different one, as it hapens whenever... I get an Abort, Retry, Ignore message, but Retry always closes it up. I'm on Windows 98, if that heps any. I love this program, and I hope an answer is found for me. Thanks.
12/20/04 05:06:56

karkia wrote:

What happend to "gnubg.weights" file, is it needed any more ?
Analysis gives slightly differed statistics
if you have it (gnubg.weights.0.14).
I also think that gnubg plays slightly poorer without it and gives some "strange" hints in some positions...
12/28/04 09:53:52

Natianna wrote:

hi everybody,
can anyone tell me how to play with real player and not just with myself or computer?
02/07/05 00:33:45

kiki61 wrote:

when i send to my computer to install the specific program my antivrus tell me that program it is infected from virus look that please
11/10/05 09:31:29

levraibezout wrote:

when control time will be implemented?
Greetings from jacques from Reunion island.
12/31/05 08:24:09

gadwoire wrote:

Why can't I download the 20060524 windows version---it states I need the adminastraters permision?
05/24/06 16:52:16

mihri wrote:

this is a pencil
07/01/06 00:45:25

gamelover wrote:

This is a usless peice of software as far as the human player is concerned. You get what you pay for. I would rather buy or even make a physical board rather than use this peice of software. I am sure there is some great work behind the sceans, but mostly software is to be used by humans and needs to have as much thought about that as the engine. Would you buy a car that felt unatural to drive did unexpected things and when you turned to the manual found that it was incomplete, uninituiative and effectivly usless.

All i wanted was to play a game i love with other humans over the net and get a better more satisfying experiance than XP's backgammon. The posibility to have a bit of a better dialogue with your opponent, decide if you want to play a match higher than 3 points, and even develop relationships with other players and basic compertitions.

finaly sorry for any spelling, i'm dyslexic, i'm sure your all intelegent enough to work them out.
09/24/06 20:58:17

gamelover wrote:

feels better to have uninstalled it now. if there isn't already it might be an idea to put a userdefinable delay plus a random delay on to the computer players moves to make it more realistic. If it is ther already then make it slower by default. Very of putting for the opponent to be so fast, almost can't see what was moved, feel like your playing superman.
An easy and obvious way to play another remote user would be good too.

09/24/06 21:20:28

Jonathan wrote:

Tutor Mode is a Torture Device

I'm disappointed with the new Version 0.16-mingw (build Mar 6 2007) because the developers don’t fixed the problem in gnubg TUTOR mode.

After the torture mode appoint one error, if you click hint to see the best move, when you try return to the game, gnu repeat the same evaluation, torturing efficiently you, and wasting precious time.

In spite of the developers are experienced and good programers, that foolishness had survived update after update.


03/28/07 04:57:19

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I have no doubt that GNU Backgammon 2-ply would show a positive result if given enough time vs. any human player in match play.
--Neil Kazaross


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