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Site map > Getting started

Getting started

What is FIBS?

FIBS is the First Internet Backgammon Server, it allows Internet users to play backgammon in real-time against real people (and even some bots). There are players of every conceivable ability logging onto FIBS, from absolute beginners to serious backgammon champion contenders.

If you are familiar with telnet and don't mind an ASCII board you can connect immediately telnet://fibs.com:4321. However, most Fibsters today use a graphical interface to allow the easy 'point and click' approach, see the connecting to FIBS page.

How do you play backgammon?

Backgammon Galore has the standard international rules of backgammon and a backgammon glossary.

FIBS follows these usual international rules. However, there are many local and informal variations so please have a read if you've never played either online or at a national tournament. The default for FIBS tournament games has the Crawford Rule.

In matches of unlimited length, FIBS also implements many rule variants commonly used in money play (automatic doubles, beavers, raccoons) except for the Jacoby rule.

If you're unsure of anything then try asking in the public chat/shouts. There are often many Fibsters who are happy to help out new players.

First time connecting

Username and password

All players need a username (nick) and password to play. The name must be 3-20 letters only (no numbers) and underscore (_) is the only punctuation allowed, also remember that it is case-sensitive ('A' and 'a' are different).

Please, please, please do not forget your password. There is currently no way for the FIBS administrators to retrieve this information. If you forget your password then you must start again under a new username.

Follow the help section of your interface for specifics on registering a new user account with your software. Or use this online registration tool to create your new account.

Player status

The status of all players currently logged on will be shown in your interface's players window (telnet command who). You can invite any player listed as 'ready' to a match. If this is your first time you may wish to watch others before diving straight into a game.

You can also see other players ratings and experience in the player window of your interface. Experience points are the sum total of all games played by match length (unlimited matches do not affect the experience level).

Please change your setting to 'not ready' when you are not waiting for a game. This saves others from pointlessly inviting you.

FIBS community


You can chat with your opponents and other players in a variety of ways. Some players prefer to remain silent, this is OK too. Though a 'hi' at the start and 'thanks' at the end are always appreciated.

If you don't speak much English you can try using the public chat/shouts to find players who also speak your language, and there is also a FIBS international phrase dictionary.

Respect others

Racist and abusive players will not be tolerated. Firstly, you can gag any other player to stop from hearing them. Then you can make a complaint to RepBot so others can be warned (don't forget you can vouch for players too!). In serious cases you should report the player to Patti (use FIBS message), warnings will be given and repeat offenders will be banned.


Please complete all matches. Players who intentionally disconnect losing games to avoid the fall in ratings are called droppers. Before accepting a new match you can use the Web to check the Saved Games page and the Dropper's Hall of Shame. Or more conveniently you can 'tell' RepBot 'ask [username]' and the number in brackets indicates the number of saved games (it gathers information from the Saved Games page at regular intervals).

Also remember that unstable connections and computer crashes are frequently to blame for unexpectedly having your opponent disconnect. Your match will become a saved game and can be resumed when your opponent returns.

Brief history of FIBS

The First Internet Backgammon Server, FIBS, is the earliest online backgammon community. Created by Andreas (marvin) Schneider, FIBS has been in operation since July 19, 1992.

Early Fibsters played backgammon using a simple command line interface known as telnet (telnet is still the underlying protocol of FIBS, see the Connecting page for more information).

The first graphical interfaces to FIBS appeared in 1994, with FIBS/W for Windows users and MacFIBS for Macintosh users. Today, FIBS players can choose from a number of excellent graphical interfaces, making FIBS backgammon a more natural and enjoyable experience.

Originally located in Germany, the FIBS server moved to Sweden in 1993, and moved again in 1996 to its present location in California, where it runs on a Linux system managed by Patti Beadles.

Although now abandoned by its creator, FIBS continues to develop through the work of volunteers. All the interfaces, RepBot, TourneyBot, FIBS Board and this website you're currently reading are all the works of others independently contributing towards the FIBS community.

The FIBS archive has the original announcement for the launch of FIBS plus other bits and pieces.