This is a collection of questions we've received, and our ever-so-insightful answers to them not covered on other [ Info ] pages:
Table of Contents
- What is turn-based playing all about?
- How do I start a game?
- How do I join a game that was created for anyone to play? Where is the waiting room?
- How do the open invites work? Why don't I see my friends open invites?
- A game just appeared on my gamesheet, and I didn't even get a chance to decline the invitation. Why did that happen?
- How many prizes may I win each month in site contests?
- US Postal Rates and How Prizes are Affected
- When I try to play one of my games, it tells me I'm not a player in that game, even though I can see my name right there!
- In a game of backgammon, I got doubles five times in a row. Then my opponent got doubles six out of seven rolls. So doesn't that mean that your dice aren't random?
- My opponent didn't make a move, so why is it my turn again?
- Why did my opponent get to make two moves in a row?
- How can I avoid timeouts?
- The time ran out when it was my opponent's turn, and then it was reset to 24 hours. Is my opponent cheating somehow?
- How can I tell when my opponent is on vacation?
- I never received an email telling me it was my turn to play, but I still timed out on a game. What gives?
- Games like chess and backgammon are not supposed to have draw options. Why do we have them here?
- Can you undo a timeout?
- How can I find an opponent that isn't a beginner or so advanced I don't stand a chance?
- What are the gold tokens for and what do they mean?
- There is a cool board game that I want to play. Will you add it?
- Hey, I just thought of a cool feature to add to your site. When can you add it?
- I found a bug in a game, what now?
- How can you run this site for free?
- I am an old player who recently returned, can you reopen my account and credit me with my old games?
- Some players have a GoldToken email address. How do I get one?
- How does the GoldToken email work?
- Can I send email from my GoldToken email address?
- I tried to load a photo but it only loaded part way or didn't load at all.
- HELP, my text is too small/large!!
- Where is my password/game turn notice etc?
- One of my games disappeared...what happened to it?
- Are webtv users being left out of new site improvements and games to play?
- What's the difference between point games and match games?
- My game graphics are not where they belong!
- I am Silver and only have 42 games. Why can't I accept a game invite?
1. What is turn-based playing all about?
We have created an environment for turn-based play in order to facilitate people who enjoy playing classic board games, but who don't necessarily want to invest a large amount of time each day playing. In our system, both players don't have to be present at the same time to play. One player makes a move, the game is stored, and then the next player can make the next move the following day. By having the turns take place asynchronously, you don't have to dedicate an entire afternoon to be able to play a simple game. Instead, each player is free to make only one move at a time, leave the game, and then come back later to make another move.
For instance, if I'm playing a game of chess, and one move seems extra complicated, I can think about it as long as I want--even sleep on it--and then make the move when I'm ready. I don't have to be concerned about trying to finish the game before my appointment at the hairdresser.
Another advantage to this is that it gives you the ability to play against your friends without having to schedule a time when you are both available. In today's busy world, one of the main reasons people don't play board games is a lack of time.
2. How do I start a game?
You can start a game from here. First, select which game you'd like to play. Then select a few options about the game such as the timeout period and the number of players. When you are asked to type in the name of an opponent, you can just leave that blank if you want the game to be one which anyone interested can join. Finally, you can type a message that will be sent with the game invitation. When you finish this process, the game will not have started yet. All you have done is issue an invitation. The person you invited (if you typed in a name) is free to reject the invitation. If you didn't type in a name, then the game will start as soon as all the player spots are filled with volunteers.
3. How do I join a game that was created for anyone to play? Where is the waiting room?
We don't have a waiting room. We find that games are joined a lot faster if everyone can see the waiting games by default, instead of having to go look for them. When there is a game waiting for an opponent to join, you will see it in a box in the right-hand column of your Game Sheet. If you want to play it, go ahead and join. If you don't want to play it, just ignore it. It will disappear after someone joins.
4. How do the open invites work? Why don't I see my friends open invites?
Each time you load your game sheet, it randomly grabs an open invitation for each game type, if at least one invitation for that game type exists.
If one player sends out 100 open invitations, and another only sends out 1, each player will still have the same chance of showing up on another player's game sheet, since the code is set up to only grab one game from each player for each game type, no matter how many they have issued.
5. A game just appeared on my gamesheet, and I didn't even get a chance to decline the invitation. Why did that happen?
We get this question most of the time when a new player attempted to decline an invitation that was open for anybody to play. Since these invitations are not sent to players individually, but are simply available for any player to join, you cannot decline this invitation. Sending any kind of response to this type of invitation will sign you up to play the game.
Some of our clubs have a "club challenge" feature that allows one club member to challenge another to a game. Those club challenges are not subject to the same accept and decline rules as normal invitations.
One other way that you can end up with a game on your game sheet against a player you don't recognize is if one of your opponents decided to change his or her name.
6. How many prizes may I win each month in site contests?
While we don't limit how many times you can play, we do limit all players to one prize every 30 days in site contests, one tournament prize per player per year and a limit of one prize per household per month. This includes all game prizes given at GoldToken unless otherwise noted. This way we make sure everyone has a chance to win something cool!
7. US Postal Rates and How Prizes are Affected
Unfortunately, our shipping costs have risen substantially with the latest postage increase. And everything now has to go first class overseas. This has led us to have to require players pay the shipping costs for all prizes.
What does this mean for you?
This will mean all players have to pay the cost of shipping to receive their prizes. For shipping rates, please see the information posted in GoldToken Store
Is there any way I can prevent this?
While there is no way we can prevent the cost you must pay for each package, what we can do is allow you to 'save' your prizes. GoldToken Management will keep track of your prizes in a wiki, after you notify us of what was won. You can then choose to 'store' these up until such a time that you feel the postage reimbursement would be worth it. Be advised, if your 'stored' prizes do become larger than the size that will fit in one manila envelope we will have to mail these out to you with the required postage reimbursement.
How big is a two ounce package?
You can figure on about 5 heavy or 10 light pens, or 1 carabiner for each two ounces.
What if I do not want to pay the shipping costs?
You can also, at any time choose not to receive a specific prize. We will not force you to pay the postal fees, but if you choose not to, we will not be able to send the prize or give it to another player unless they pay for the shipping.
8. When I try to play one of my games, it tells me I'm not a player in that game, even though I can see my name right there!
If you are being told you're not a player, it's because you didn't get logged in properly, or something is not quite right with your computer's cookies. Please read our Login Problems, Slow Page Loads and Solutions page for more information.
9. In a game of backgammon, I got doubles five times in a row. Then my opponent got doubles six out of seven rolls. So doesn't that mean that your dice aren't random?
Quite the contrary. If that never happened, I'd be very surprised.
Look, I've seen a lot of dice rolls in real life, and runs like that just don't happen.
You obviously haven't seen enough dice rolls. Do us both a favor: go get a pair of dice, roll them 50,000 times, and record every roll. Then tell me how many runs of doubles you got. This is roughly the way our dice work. Remember, your backgammon game is not the only one out there, and the dice are randomly generating all over the site, all the time.
10. My opponent didn't make a move, so why is it my turn again?
Your opponent has run out of time and lost a turn. I know, I know, that's not the way you play the game at your house, but please read our Timeouts, Vacation Days, Days Off and Game Clock page to find out more.
11. Why did my opponent get to make two moves in a row?
Probably because you didn't complete your move in the allotted time limit. See our Timeouts, Vacation Days, Days Off and Game Clock for more information about timeouts.
12. How can I avoid timeouts?
First, only accept invitations for games that will give you an adequate amount of time to play each move. If you know you only use your computer twice a week, don't accept an invitation for a game with a one-day time limit.
Second, set up your Days Off to be the two days of the week that you are least likely to play your moves.
Third, tell us when you go on vacation by visiting the Vacations tab found in your Preferences and clicking on the "Start my vacation" link.
You won't timeout on any day that is marked as a day off or that you are on vacation.
13. The time ran out when it was my opponent's turn, and then it was reset to 24 hours. Is my opponent cheating somehow?
No, your opponent has used the Days Off or Vacation feature. No timeouts will occur during a day off or a vacation day.
14. How can I tell when my opponent is on vacation?
For each game you play there is some extended information below the game that tells the standard time limit for the game as well as the amount of time left before the next move is due. If the time left is well in excess of the standard time limit, your opponent is most likely using vacation days.
Or, you could just click on your opponent's name. Days off and Vacation info are listed on each player's profile.
15. I never received an email telling me it was my turn to play, but I still timed out on a game. What gives?
While our system attempts to send an email when it is your turn to play, sometimes that email is never delivered. First, the system checks to make sure you are not online before it sends an email. Sometimes a move is made just seconds before you log off the site, and so the system thinks you are aware that it is your turn, and doesn't send the email. In rare cases, even when the system attempts to send an email, delivery is not always successful. Due to the large volume of email that we handle, if a first attempt at delivery fails, we do not attempt to send the email again. Doing so could easily swamp the server if it got into an error loop.
In essence, you should treat the email notifications as a nice way to get back to your games as soon as they are ready, but you shouldn't depend upon them to keep you from timing out. Always select a timeout period that is longer than the maximum time you expect to stay away from the site, and then check back before that time limit expires.
If you find that our email is going to your SPAM folder, try adding gt-admin(at)goldtoken(dot)com to your contacts (be sure to replace the (at) and (dot) with the appropriate symbols so it works correctly). That way, your email system will see any turn notices as friendly, and be more apt to allow them.
16. Games like chess and backgammon are not supposed to have draw options. Why do we have them here?
Since this is a turn-based site, with timeouts ranging from a few days to a few weeks, it is entirely possible for a game to last for a long time. When that happens, it's possible that one player has something come up that they didn't expect when they started the game. If this would mean that they were going to lose the game, then they may want to chat with their opponent and request a draw.
For example: I start a game in January. In July it's still going, and I find out that I need to go to the hospital for cancer treatment. I've already used up all my vacation time, and I'll be in the hospital for three weeks. My timeout is set to 1 week. I'm currently winning the game, but will lose if I time out. I talk with my opponent and we together decide that a draw is the most fair option given the circumstances.
17. Can you undo a timeout?
No, so don't ask. We only reset timeouts if they occur when our site has been having problems that affect a lot of people. If your system has had a problem that has prevented you from getting in, we can not restore your game.
18. How can I find an opponent that isn't a beginner or so advanced I don't stand a chance?
Our system will give you some suggestions on who your opponents should be for the games you play. We employ a rating system that is also used by the US Chess Federation to keep track of all of our games. After you've played a few games you should find that the opponents suggested by the system are pretty much at the same skill level as you, and should provide for a good challenge without being impossible to beat.
19. What are the gold tokens for?
Simply a tangible way of telling you how many games you've won, drawn and lost. Here are the specifics:
20. There is a cool board game that I want to play. Will you add it?
- Platinum Tokens - awarded when you win a site sponsored tournament
- Onyx Tokens - awarded for winning a club tournament using the site system
- Gold Tokens - awarded for each game win
- Silver Tokens - awarded for every game draw
- Wood Tokens - awarded for each game loss
Maybe. Unfortunately, we can't just go about willy-nilly adding every cool-looking game to our site. Most of the games that you have played are protected by copyright. We would probably get in a lot of trouble if we put them up on our website. On the other hand, there are a lot of games that have been around for a very long time and either have no copyright, or the copyright has expired. You're more likely to see those games.
21. Hey, I just thought of a cool feature to add to your site. When can you add it?
This site is maintained by approximately 100 volunteers. We don't get paid for running this site, and we have a lot of other stuff to do. We enjoy getting ideas for the site, but unfortunately our copious spare time is not quite enough to add every feature. Even features that we are actively working on usually take a fairly long time before they are finished. While we would love to quit our day jobs and work on the site full-time, it's not very likely to happen. So, to answer your question, flip a coin. Heads: never. Tails: not very soon.
22. I found a bug in a game, what now?
Step on it? Report all game problems to Bug Reports Discussion Board. They will be looked into as soon as possible. Most bugs can be fixed pretty quickly, but remember, programming resources are mainly voluntary so there's no guarantee of how soon we can find time to fix it. Be patient. We will add time to any game on hold waiting for a fix.
23. How can you run this site for free?
Actually, we can't. It costs us a lot of money each month to use the servers and the bandwidth necessary to keep this site going. Some of that cost is offset by advertisers selling us banner advertisements, but not enough to keep us going. While clicking on banner ads that interest you certainly helps our site, we can't continue to exist without additional revenue. Please see our Membership Options page for more information about how you can help.
24. I am an old player who recently returned, can you reopen my account and credit me with my old games?
Reopening an old account depends on how long it has been closed. Please be prepared to verify you were the original player of the account and we will see what we can do. Past games from old accounts that have closed all go into a database file but do not re-credit the player should they return once the profile no longer shows the games.
25. Some players have a GoldToken email address. How do I get one?
Our Platinum memberships come with a GoldToken email address. Sign up today and get your own cool GoldToken email address! :-D
26. How does the GoldToken email work?
Your GoldToken email is forwarded to the email address you provide in your preferences. Our database takes about 24 hours once you become a Platinum member to activate it, so be patient.
27. Can I send email from my GoldToken email address?
Yes, you can if your email provider allows it by changing who the email is from in your email account. This is a simple procedure.
Go to your Options in your regular email account, under the Mail Accounts or similar link, you should be able to add or edit the email addresses from which you can send mail. This is often the same place you would set the information to retrieve mail from all your other (POP) accounts email box.
Your email provider will require you verify you "own" or have the right to use your GoldToken email address by sending the requested email a message that you reply to. Once done, you are able to send from your GoldToken email address by using a scroll down bar or even set it as your main email address. Most email providers including MSN and Yahoo allow this, so be sure to check it out!!!
If you want to use your GoldToken address in Outlook Express, go to Tools. Under the Accounts tab you can either add a new account or edit your existing account by selecting it in the list and choosing properties. If you add a new account you will need to specify, exactly the same SMTP (outgoing server) for your existing account, same account name, password, etc.... just specify the different email address that you want to use. You don't want to use this new account for receiving mail, so you can leave the pop3 (incoming) settings blank or use the same values, but remove the check mark from the option that says: Include this account when receiving mail or synchronizing.
28. I tried to load a photo but it only loaded part way or didn't load at all.
That happens when the photo is too large or your connection too slow to load it fully. Try a smaller picture or reduce it in size using a photo program. Anything under 600x600 and saved as a JPG and it should load fine. Another problem players have found are photos that have locks on them. This is done by the originating author in a photo program and prevents a picture from being downloaded online.
29. HELP, my text is too small/large!!
You can try pressing the Ctrl-(-) and Ctrl-(+) buttons on your keyboard to make the letters smaller or bigger.
(The above means: press and keep pressing CTRL and then press once the minus button (the letters will become smaller). Pressing the minus button once more will get them even smaller. CTRL and plus button will make them bigger again (or huge if you press many times)
You can also hold the CTRL key while using the scroll wheel on your mouse. Scrolling up will make letters larger and down will make them smaller.
30. Where is my password/game turn notice etc?
For sites that have little email service, you can likely retrieve a password very quickly. But GoldToken requires an email server to handle the tremendous amount of email we send out on a hourly basis. Retrieving your password from GoldToken can take anywhere from an hour to several hours depending on the server load at the time you request it. A considerable amount of time more than that might be the fault of your ISP, depending on their incoming email traffic. Well, it's not a fault really, but the way email traffic works.
Perhaps it might help to understand how passwords are sent out. GoldToken emails out an estimated hundred thousand verification emails, new game notices, your turn notices, passwords and invitation notices from our email server every day. Only one email can be sent at any given moment. With well over 1000 games generated each day and all the turns each game generates, new account sign ups etc, that adds up to thousands of emails at any given minute waiting to be sent. Much like traffic entering a freeway, each email ready to send, has to wait its turn in line. It can take up to four hours for an email to be sent depending on how many events like tourneys etc happen at any given time. If we had a site like Yahoo or MSN, then we would need a much larger email server to handle it. But as it is, we have the one we have because it is all we require at this time. I suppose we could always raise the rates to help pay for an additional server, but really, what we have works fine.
31. One of my games disappeared...what happened to it?
If the game was under 4 moves (4 moves for each player) and someone times out in the game, (be it consecutively 3 times in a row, or the once if no time outs are allowed). The database will automatically delete the game with no winner. This system was set in place to prevent those who in bad faith, only play new players knowing they are more likely to time out in those first four moves to boost their ratings unfairly.
32. I use webtv and can't play some of GoldToken's newer games. I have yet to try the newest games...will I be able to play them??? Are webtv users being left out on more games to play?
WebTV players are not being left out due to any fault of GoldToken's. Rather, the older web boxes are simply too far outdated to work with today's modern technology. These units do not support the features we need for these games to work. The newer web boxes can handle the new games just fine. PC's, as old as those old WebTV boxes, do not work on our newer games either and must be replaced if those who own them wish to play those very same games. They simply do not have the required memory to view the larger graphics needed for those games.
GoldToken stalled adding many new site improvements and games for years for this very reason, but then, we realized that could be likened to wearing the same pants one wore in high school 20 years later because they were still functional, even though they no longer fit like they once did. Our holding back from adding many games and features that old units are unable to use was punishing our users who were upgrading their equipment. Thus we decided it is better to have Hex here for those who can play it than not have it at all. Mathematically, this equates as 99.08% who can vs .02% who can't.
Regardless, we work hard to keep as much as possible working for these older units; but that's the thing, not all is possible if we wish to add some games like Hex and Chinese Checkers. This is at no small expense to GoldToken, as it takes a considerable amount of money to make games and website features function for this very small percentage of players who have not upgraded over the years. Less than 1/2% (.02 to be exact as noted above) of GoldToken's players are playing here on units dating back to the early 1990's. Yes, it is wonderful that these WebTV boxes were built so well they have stood the test of time and still function, however, there is a price to be paid...that of not being able to modernize the units to fully function on today's internet.
33. What's the difference between point games and match games?
Match games and point games are two different things.
Match games are always played in twos at the same time, thus 2, 4 and 6 game matches. With this set up, players can play up to 6 games of chess (or any game for that matter) at one time with both players having three of each, black and white, all played at the same time and not concurring. Each game produces one winner, so you technically can win up to 6 games or any mix thereof.
Point games are always played concurring in odd number games intended to help eliminate draws, and the winner of the most point games always wins the "point game" even if 9 games were played within the point game. Reworded: A 9 point gammon game will only issue one game at a time, starting a new game as part of a round in the whole game and the outcome is one winner for all 9 games. Game records don't show the individual games from the 9-point game (the 9-pointer is all a single game). The 9-pointers do count as 9 games as far as "played games count" is considered (for ratings and the like) however, the only way to see the individual games within a point game is to open the game itself and view the past moves.
34. My game graphics are not where they belong!
First, uncheck the classical game sheet view in your preferences, and the problem will most likely be solved.
If the problem persists, please be aware that this is a browser issue and not GoldToken's coding. Misaligned graphics are typical display problems when using IE8. If you have Vista SP2 or Windows7 you can upgrade to IE9 or you can use a browser that follows the Internet Standard for browsers such as FireFox, Safari, Chrome or even Opera. Or, you may also want to try clicking the compatibility option in your browser for Goldtoken.
If you are on a WebTV box, you may also have similar problems due to the WebTV's lack of memory. In this case, there isn't much anyone can do, except upgrade to a new unit that has RAM capacity.
35. I am Silver and only have 42 games. Why can't I accept a game invite?
That is due to the invitations timeout penalty. You cannot accept invitations that ask for a loss of turn timeout penalty if you have indicated in your Preferences that you do not want to play games with this type of penalty. If you wish to change that or accept the invite, go into your Preferences, and change that setting. You can always go back, and change it later, or after accepting the invite.
If you have another insightful question and answer to add to this list, please send it to GoldToken Support.