Monday, May 29, 2023

Leveling Up: Exciting Improvements And Changes to Cribbage Pro

Cribbage Pro Just Got Even Better!

Cribbage Pro has been bringing joy to countless players for many years, and now it's even better with a range of amazing new features and improvements! Here are some of the highlights of what's new in Cribbage Pro that you're sure to love:

New Logo/Icon:

The game icon has received a subtle but significant update. It now boasts an overall brighter color, showcases more of the cards, and makes it easier to recognize at a glance. This way, you can be confident that you're playing the same fantastic game every time you come across the Cribbage Pro icon. Here's a glimpse of what you can expect to see across all platforms where you can find Cribbage Pro:

Cribbage Pro

Hand Grades: The game now features a "Hand Grade" for you AND your opponent's hands!

Now, with the Hand Grade feature, you can access a detailed breakdown of how your discard choice compares to the alternatives whenever you finish a round (the calculation process is explained below). Simply select the "Grade Details" button to review the specific factors that contributed to the hand's final grade:

Cribbage Pro Hand Grade

Selecting "Grade Details" shows the potential scores and ranking for each possible discard:
Cribbage Pro Hand Grade Details
  • The top line shows whether it was your hand, or your opponent's, and the calculated grade.
  • The second line shows all of the cards dealt for that hand, and who is the dealer with the crib.
  • If you want to learn more about how the crib average and total is calculated, you can select the "?" button.
  • Every possible discard to the crib is shown in each section that follows, sorted from the highest grade to lowest. The discard that was chosen/used is highlighted with a yellow border.
  • To better understand the scoring breakdown in each section, take note of the following information provided:
    • The resulting 4-card hand is displayed, along with the calculated minimum, maximum, and average scores for that hand.
    • An estimated crib average is also displayed, which is either added or subtracted to show the final number on the right side of the section.
    • If the other player has the crib, the crib values will be subtracted from the average score. On the other hand, if the player has the crib, the crib values will be added to the average score.
    • For instance, in the example above, the "Avg - Crib" shows the estimated average score with the crib values subtracted. However, if it were the player's crib, it would show "Avg + Crib" instead.
This amazing tool can turbocharge your gameplay, providing you with invaluable insights to make those all-important discard decisions. But, let's not forget, this is just a general guide, so feel free to mix things up and try some creative strategies to outsmart your opponents! Whether you're going all-out for the highest hand grade, or adopting a defensive playstyle, there's always room for some good old-fashioned fun. Remember, this tool is just one piece of the puzzle, and when you're up against some advanced players, you may need to throw in some well planned board-position-based tactics to emerge victorious! Still, like many of the other features in the game, if this is not for you, you can simply hide the Hand Grade in the game settings at any time.

Round Summary: See a summary of scoring for each round of play!

We're thrilled to introduce the new Round Summary feature, which displays the scores for both players across all scoring types at the end of each round of play. Once the crib is scored, simply take a quick peek at the game board to see this awesome new addition in action:

Cribbage Pro Round Summary
Let's break it down: Cut card points are only earned when the Jack is cut, commonly known as "two for his heels".Therefore, it's common to see a zero score in this category. Meanwhile, "Pegg." refers to the points earned during the pegging/play phase, while Hand and Crib are pretty self-explanatory. You can use this feature to keep a pulse on how you are doing in each round relative to your opponent. If the Round Summary is distracting you for any reason, don't fret! You can easily disable it in the game settings.

New "Auto-Deal", "Auto-Go" & Animation Speed Options

Get ready to take your game customization to the next level with some awesome new options! We're talking about auto-deal, auto-go, and animation speed features that allow you to tailor the game to your preferred playstyle. With auto-deal, the game automatically deals the cards without any button pressing required. Similarly, auto-go automatically processes the go, when it's time to "say go". And as for the animation speed option, you now have the power to select your preferred sliding value, ranging from 0 to 100 percent of the possible animation speed (which is also the computer's play/discard speed). A value of "0" means a slow and steady pace, while "100" is lightning fast! Choose whatever speed feels just right for you and your style of play. You can always adjust these settings at any time, without affecting any saved game progress.

New Options to Mark Board Progress, Highlighting "Par Holes" & More

We've added a bunch of exciting new options, so don't forget to take a moment to explore them all in the game. Here are a couple more that we think are particularly noteworthy: First up, you can now mark your board progress with filled holes, making it easier to keep track of your score on the game board as the game progresses. By default, the holes are filled in as the front peg progresses for each player, allowing for a quick glance at the board to see the score.

You can now also adjust the size of the playing cards shown during the game as well. If you have a device that is wider than it is tall, if it has an unusual screen size, or maybe just because you like to see more of the game table and less of the cards, you can adjust the Playing Card Size any time you want. You can choose any percentage from the very small 50% to the full usual 100%.

If you're looking to up your game even further, the "Par Holes" feature shows the ideal score progression on the game board during gameplay, based on the cribbage "Theory of 26". This is all about helping you with your board position strategy, and was discussed in more detail in our blog post titled Cribbage Strategy and Board Position. If you're new to the world of "Par Holes," the "Theory of 26," or playing based on board position, don't worry! We've got you covered. Check out the  previously linked article for an introduction to these concepts, and then follow some of the links provided at the bottom of the article for further study. But, if you're already a seasoned player and ready to take your game to the next level, then enable the "par holes" option as a guide along your journey to improve your strategy. With this feature enabled, each of the par holes is highlighted on the game board, along with information on who was the first dealer to start the game and the current round of play. (Take a look at the board image below for an example.) This option isn't enabled by default, but we highly recommend giving it a try - it could make a huge difference in your game! So, when you're ready to up your cribbage game, give the "par holes" option a shot and see how much it can help.

New Game Board & Peg Design

You might have already noticed the sleek and stylish new game board that comes with Cribbage Pro's latest update. The old square tracks have been replaced with rounded corners that offer a more traditional and easy-to-read look. The pegs have been refined, too, with better angles and smoother animations that make them even more enjoyable to use (make sure to keep an eye on them when you score that winning point!) Here is the new game board with the "Par Holes" and "Mark Board Progress" options enabled:

Cribbage Pro Game Board

New End of Game Summary

We've also updated the end game screen to provide you with more details on your performance compared to your opponent. In addition to showing the last cards played in the game, you can now see a detailed breakdown of the final score. This will give you a better understanding of how you and your opponent performed in each scoring category, including points for hand, crib, pegging, and the Hand Grade! Take a closer look and use this information to fine-tune your strategy and improve your game:

Cribbage Pro Game Summary

New Account Management Options

Looking to protect your account or just play a quick game without creating an account? We've got you covered! It is now much easier to log out of your account entirely if you want, as well as use a new "Guest" mode of play where you don't need an account at all to enjoy a quick single player game. This means it is now easier to manage your account security, and particularly if you need to switch to a different account or want to make sure nobody else can change your account if you use a shared device to play. It also makes it clear if you are a "Guest" playing, and what can/can't be saved in that mode.

UPDATE: Now Set Your Avatar to Any Image!

You can now set your avatar to any image you like! You no longer need to use Facebook to have a custom image or photo for your avatar. Just go to the game settings, and under the account section you can now choose an image directly. Note that there is a review process with any image submitted, and if the system detects that your image may be inappropriate in any way, it must then go through a full audit before it can be approved. So, keep it clean and family friendly, and you should be good to go!

Other Improvements/Changes

We've made countless improvements and changes in this update, from the way messages and input prompts are displayed to the size and positioning of various elements throughout the game. The game itself has remained relatively unchanged (aside from the features mentioned already), so the basic layout is all the same as before.

New Unified System for All Platforms

If you are a fan of Cribbage Pro, you may have noticed some differences in how the game looked on different devices. But with this latest update, we have unified the game under one system, which means that everyone now has access to the same features and game engine. This is great news for players, as it means that we can roll out new updates and features to everyone simultaneously, regardless of the device they use to play.

This update also allows us to explore new and exciting ways to bring the game to even more devices in the future, which we are really excited about! And for players who are new to Cribbage Pro, these changes make the game more approachable and easier to learn, while still providing the same immersive and customizable experience that fans of the game have come to expect.

So why not give the latest update a try and experience Cribbage Pro for yourself? Whether you are a seasoned player or just starting out, we are confident that you will find the game more enjoyable and fun to play than ever before. Get the update, and play Cribbage Pro today!

** Note that the update to the latest version of Cribbage Pro on mobile devices requires Android version 7.0 or higher, and Apple iOS/iPadOS 12.5 or higher.

Friday, March 31, 2023

Cribbage Competitive Matchmaking - Active Times of Day

I was recently asked, and have been asked in various ways before, about what times of the day are most active in Cribbage Competitive Matchmaking. The goal here is to provide some insight into that question, and to help people find the best times to look for a match, particularly if you have a more flexible schedule and just want to know when is best to log in and play.

First, a few important notes. All times are in UTC, so you will need to convert to your local time and consider things like Daylight Saving Time if that happens in your part of the world. Second, I realize that in sharing this information it could make the busy times even busier and the less active times even harder to find a match. However, I hope that in the end this is beneficial to everyone.

Here is the current activity for Spring 2023, by hour of the day (again, in UTC).

As the chart shows, this is just so far this season, which has only been a few weeks. Still, I think it is pretty accurate. The reason for that is, this was the same season last year, as seen below for Spring 2022:

To add a little more color, here was the previous season, Winter 2023:

Some brief thoughts on this. Note that the 9th hour UTC in the winter (no DST) is 1am PST (4am EST), while the 8th hour in "spring" is still 1am in Pacific time, but that is in PDT (due to DST). You subtract 8 from UTC time to get PST, and subtract 7 to get PDT. So things don't really change much from season to season. That said, around the 14th hour through to about the 3rd hour (the next day) UTC time, there is the highest amount of activity in the matchmaking system. To do the math for you, that would be from 7am PDT (10am EDT) to 8pm PDT (11pm EDT) as the most active. The highest points are really from around 21/22 to 2, if you are looking for the height of activity.

Lastly, with respect to the day of the week, as I'm sure you are all thinking of that as your next question, things are surprisingly "flat". Saturday, Sunday and Monday see maybe just a slight increase overall for the entire season, and sometimes Wednesday does as well. So Tuesday would be the "worst" of the days, but not by a lot. I have no idea why Wednesday sees a spike from time to time, but, it does, and then often climbs a little through Thursday and Friday into the weekend. If I wanted to play when most everyone else is, I would not worry about the day of the week so much, but then try for a time around 2pm to 7pm Pacific time, 5pm to 10pm Eastern.

Again, I hope this information is helpful, and can be used to bring more people together to find the best challenging, and fun matches!