This section contains the general information about BrainKing, especially various access and login issues, a list of supported web browsers and known problems with the particular ones.
The entry also lists several internal specifications about our site - who is responsible for the whole creation, where our servers are actually located, etc.
1.1) What is BrainKing?
BrainKing is a web site that provides a big number of options how to play popular board games with players around the world. It is mostly based on a classic HTML interface which should guarantee a good compatibility among various web browsers and keep the interface as easy and understandable as possible.
Our goal is to make the site as live and exceptional as possible, to have it easily distinguished from the similar ones. The most obvious way to accomplish it is to keep the continuous development of BrainKing because a site which is not changing itself is a dead site - we add new features almost every week.
The full list of our features and advantages is presented in the next sections of this Help.
1.2) BrainKing staff
BrainKing is not a big company with hundreds of full-time employees, it is maintained by a small but effective group of experts. The current list can be found on the BrainKing Staff page which is accessible on the bottom of every page on BrainKing.
As you can see, there are two administrators who control the site in a technical way, and several global moderators who help to maintain the system of public discussion boards (which is not an easy job because people from many different countries and of various habits or religions discuss together). Important: Although BrainKing is an international site and is translated to many languages, English still remains as the main language for a communication with BrainKing staff (both administrators also speak Czech). If you have a question but you don't speak English or Czech, please find a discussion board in your language and post your question there, someone will help you or at least pass the translated question to us.
1.3) Technology background
BrainKing is located in Prague, Czech Republic and connected to a fast backbone line inside a serverhousing company with continuous 24/7 maintenance service (details). With unlimited data traffic and powerful hardware, BrainKing is accessible anytime for anyone from anywhere, currently generating more than 20 million page views and almost 500 GB of transferred data every month.
The BrainKing application itself is written entirely in Java with almost no third party products included (expect the mandatory ones, like database drivers). Since we are the authors of 99.99% of source code, we can easily improve the site structure and quickly fix any bugs without waiting for external contributors. BrainKing also contains its own built-in administrator and maintenance system which makes us independent on complicated admin consoles and allows us to fix certain kind of possible problems on the fly, without shutting down the site.
1.4) Supported browsers
BrainKing was tested with the following web browsers: ("x" can be substituted by any number for which the browser version exists)
Firefox 1.0.x (recommended)
MS Internet Explorer 6.x
Although WebTV browser is included in the list, we have no real experience with it (because we don't have a WebTV device) and we only know BrainKing works for many people using WebTV. However, we might not be able to solve all problems which can occur with BrainKing on this device.
2) Registration and logging in/out
This is a section which describes the process of registering on BrainKing and using your account parameters in the login/logout action. It also highlights differences between the guest mode and the user mode which is important if you create external links to some particular pages on BrainKing.
2.1) Entry point
It is recommended to use only http://BrainKing.com (or http://BrainKing.cz with default Czech language) as the entry point to the site. The reason is that URLs of other pages can be changed in the future but the mentioned root URL will always remain the same. Moreover, if you create a link to our site (e.g. from your personal web pages) and use only these URLs, it could help us to gain a better page rank in search engines which is a good way how to bring more new users to BrainKing and make the site even more popular.
The entry point page contains a list of small flags (at the top right corner) which represent all supported languages to display BrainKing pages in. If you want to change the language, click on the corresponding flag and the new language setting will be stored as a cookie and become the default BrainKing language in your computer.
There is also a possibility to set a default language directly in the URL by adding a language code suffix. For example, if you want to link to a French version of BrainKing, use this URL - http://BrainKing.com/fr - and everybody who clicks on this link, will come to BrainKing in the French translation without a need to click on the French flag. It can be useful if you want to add BrainKing to your local search engine or a web portal.
2.2) Guest mode
If a new visitor to BrainKing wants to explore its pages and structure without logging in or creating an account, it is possible to enter in the guest mode. It can be done by clicking on the link "Click here to enter in Guest Mode" at the entry point page.
Since no specific information is transferred in this mode from the client to the server, only public pages and public information can be accessed. For example, a guest can read public discussion boards but cannot write any posts, or can view public games but cannot read the in-game messages.
The main purpose of the guest mode is to enable BrainKing public pages to search engines for indexing, which can extend the set of keywords returning links to our site. There are other possible usages, of course - if you want to show a game to a friend who is not registered on BrainKing, you can give him the game URL and he'll be able to view the game without logging in. In other words, the guest mode allows visitors to get a basic picture of our site capability and features before deciding whether to create an account or not.
2.3) New user registration
A visitor who comes to the BrainKing for the first time, can create a new free account by clicking on "New User Registration" link in the "Unregistered Users" section of the entry point page. This action will show the registration form.
In order to make the registration process simple, the form is divided to two sections - "required" and "not required". It is mandatory to fill all required fields:
User Name - the name or nickname you want to use on BrainKing. It can contain only selected ASCII characters (A-Z, a-z, 0-9, space), cannot be longer than 15 characters and you must choose a unique name which is not used by another user yet.
Password - the password you want to use to log in. This form will mask it with asterisks to keep it secure. The password can contain only ASCII characters.
Password Again - write the same password as to the previous field, just to make sure you didn't make any typos.
E-mail - your e-mail address to send the confirmation of the successful registration to. It is recommended to write only a real and existing e-mail, otherwise the account request can be rejected. The e-mail address must be unique, it is not possible to create more accounts with the same e-mail.
Gender - select your gender (male or female).
Select this checkbox if you are using WebTV - if you select this option, BrainKing will set the row layout for your account which is better suited for WebTV browser (due to its small screen resolution) but does not look as nice as the classic column layout. It is possible to change the layout later on the Settings page.
After the form is successfully submitted, you will receive a confirmation e-mail and wait for the administrators to approve your request. The approval process does not exceed 24 hours (usually it is much faster) and when it is done, you will receive another confirmation e-mail and your account is ready to use.
All values of this form can be changed later on your Profile page and such modifications must be approved by administrators as well.
2.4) Logging in
In order to access your games and other features related to your BrainKing account, you must be logged in. The login form, containing two mandatory fields - user name and password - is located on the main entry page in the "Registered Users" section.
When you write your user name and password, after clicking on the Login button you will enter BrainKing as a registered user and your Main page containing started games and other private things will appear. If the login process fails (you write a wrong user name or password), you will be returned back to the login page and an error message would be displayed.
There is also one extra parameter Remember on this computer which can make this process easier to use. It can be set to one of the following values:
None - a default value, stores no information about the user to your computer.
User name only - if you select this option and successfully log in, your user ID will be stored in a cookie on your computer. When you open the BrainKing entry page next time, your user name will be automatically filled in the user name field.
User name and password - after logging in, your user ID will be stored in a cookie on your computer, along with a password flag. When you open the BrainKing entry page next time, your user ID and encrypted password will be automatically filled in the form, which allows you to click on the Login button without typing anything else.
Depending on your chosen level of security you can decide which option is the best for your convenience. For example, it wouldn't be wise to use "remember user name and password" on a public computer in an internet cafe but it can be the best choice for a home computer which is used only by you and nobody else.
There is also a small E-mail form which can be used if you forget your user name or password. In such case, type the e-mail address registered with your account and click on Send button, you will receive an e-mail with instructions how to set a new password.
2.5) Logging out
If you want to finish your BrainKing session and make sure nobody else can access your account after you leave the computer, click on the Logout link in the Menu section. You should be returned to the main entry point of the site and after that you are successfully logged out.
Since BrainKing never stores any permanent login information on your computer, you can also finish the session by closing the web browser. However, it is always safer to log out manually, using the Logout link.
3) Layout of pages
The convenience of our users is very important for us and we know every extra click you must do to get the information you want is displeasing. In order to avoid useless clicks, BrainKing tries to keep its pages simple but also containing as many information as possible in a well arranged form.
Each BrainKing page (except the entry point and the registration form) is composed of four main sections: Menu, Page, Status and Footer. The only exceptions are game pages and the Settings page which don't contain the Status section.
3.1) Layout options
BrainKing pages can be displayed in two basic layouts - columns and rows. These options differ only in the location of Menu and Status sections:
Columns - Menu is located at the left side column of a page and Status at the right one. It is the basic and recommented layout because BrainKing pages are better optimized for it.
Rows - Menu is located at the top row of a page and Status at the bottom one. This layout had been created for users of WebTV and similar devices with a low screen resolution which caused a deformation of game boards due to a lack of a visual space.
In case of using the column layout in Hebrew, Farsi or another languages with the right-to-left written form, the locations of the Menu and Status columns will be switched.
3.2) Menu section
3.3) Page section
3.4) Status section
3.5) Footer section
4.1) Player list
4.2) Online players
4.4) Blocked users
5.1) Message box
5.2) In-game messages
5.4) Contact us
6.1) New game
6.2) Waiting games
6.3) Game lists
6.4) How to play
6.5) Game editors
6.6) Time control
7.1) The BKR formula
7.2) BKR charts
7.3) BKR history
8) Tournaments and ponds
8.1) Tournament types
BrainKing tournaments are a great opportunity to compete with the rest of the community playing the same game type. The basic categories are Tournaments (for single players) and Team tournaments (for teams of more players). The following list contains all tournament types which are currently supported.
8.1.1) Round robin
This is the basic and most widely used type of tournament on BrainKing. The players are distributed to sections of max. 8 people (depending on the number of signed players and the tournament parameters) and each player plays one or two games with all other players of the same section. When all sections are finished and their winners are determined, the list of all winners will form the next round. A tournament is finished when the last round contains only one sections. Winners of this sections will win the tournament.
8.1.2) Single elimination
This tournament type is similar to "cup" or "playoff" sport events. The players are divided to pairs (based on their current BKRs) and a winner of each pair continues to the next round. The number of players is 4, 8, 16, 32, 64 or 128 which ensures that every round would contain an even number of players and the tournament can have only one winner.
In order to keep the system simple, the player who continues to the next round must be always exactly determined after the game is finished. In case of a draw, the following rules apply:
A tournament can be defined only with normal games, multi-win matches or matches with a doubling cube. Multi-game and multi-point matches are disabled because they could lead to many draws as a final result.
If a draw occurs due to the game rules or an agreement of the players, the player with lower BKR advances to the next round (in case of equal BKRs, the player who did not start the game - black player in most games).
8.1.3) Triple gammon
This is a special tournament type for backgammon games (and variants) only. The section system is the same as for round robin tournaments - everybody plays one game with every other player of the same section - but the backgammon scoring rules are used to determine the number of points to the game winners:
0 points for a loss
1 point for a normal win
3 points for a gammon win
5 points for a backgammon win
Please see the backgammon rules page for the gammon and backgammon explanations.
8.2) Pond types
8.3) How to sign up
8.4) How to create
8.5) Track tournaments
8.6) Special tournaments
8.6.1) Prize tournaments with no entry fee
8.6.2) Prize tournaments with an entry fee
This kind of a prize tournament is a good opportunity to get enough Brains to pay for a membership or renew the existing one. The basic idea is to collect an amount of Brains and to use them for prizes which would be given to the tournament winner (usually to players at the second and third final position as well).
When a tournament is created, the tournament page informs players what the entry fee is and how much Brains they would receive, according to the current amount of signed players.
Important note: In order to avoid possible problems, several special rules apply:
The tournament cannot be deleted if at least one player signs up (and pays the entry fee).
The tournament will not be started until the first prize reaches at least a double of the entry fee. Players are informed about this status on the tournament page.
If a player checks out of the tournament (before it is started), the entry fee would be returned to his/her Brains account. After the tournament is started, it is not possible to return the entry fee.
Example: Let us consider a tournament with 150 Brains as the entry fee. It means that everyone who wants to participate in this tournament, must have at least 150 Brains on his/her Brains account which would be deducted after signing up for the tournament. If the current status is 20 signed players, the total amount of collected Brains is 20 x 150 = 3000 Brains. The tournament is defined with these prizes: 25% to the winner, 10% to the second place and 5% to the third place. In the described situation, the prizes would be 750, 300 and 150 Brains. If more players sign up, the prizes would be bigger - if their number increases to 38, the winner would receive 1425 Brains, etc.
9) Discussion boards
10.1) How to create
10.2) How to invite members
10.3) How to join
10.6) Discussion boards
13) Information pages
14) Bugs and feedback
15) Paid membership
19) Card games
Online poker is the first real-time multiplayer game at BrainKing. The list of poker tables can be found at the left menu column of all pages, Poker tables link. This page contains all available poker tables and is refreshed every second, so it always reflects the current status of tables. This function should make easier to decide which poker table to join, regarding its parameters and number of free seats.
It is important to say that all poker games at BrainKing are played with chips which are given to every player for free, so there is no risk of gambling and everyone can enjoy this great and popular card game without losing any real money. The current amount of chips of each player can be found at their profile pages.
19.1.1) How to play
The poker table page consists of several sections:
Table and seats - this is where the game is actually played. It displays seated players, their amounts of chips, current bets and cards if the game status allows you to see them. New players can join the game clicking on a free seat and posting the required buy-in number of chips
List of observers - is located below the table and shows all BrainKing users who observe this table but do not play at any seat.
Chat box - players can communicate during the game play and write messages to other players using the chat box which is located next to the table (right side). This section also lists all system messages which can help to follow the game progress.
Control panel - this section contains control buttons and its structure depends of the game situation. For instance, if it is your turn to make an action, you should see buttons to place a bet, call the current bet, raise the bet, fold the cards etc.
If, for some reason, the poker table sections seem not to show the correct status of the game, the easiest help is to reload the web page (ctrl-f5 key combination on the most browsers). Then the page would load the current game data from the server and fix all possible visual problems.
19.1.2) Texas Hold'em
Texas Hold'em is undoubtedly the most popular form of poker. It is widely considered to have the most strategy of all poker games, although the rules are quite simple (which is exactly what makes it so attractive).
How to play
One player acts as the Dealer. This position is called the Button and it rotates clockwise after every hand. In read casinos and card rooms, the dealer does not play, but it is a usual practice in home games that the dealer participates in games as well.
The two players to the left of the dealer are called the Small Blind and the Big Blind. They are obliged to make "blind" bets before any cards are dealt.
Every player receives two cards from the Dealer, face down. These are called Hole Cards.
The first round of bets starts from the player sitting immediately to the left of the Big Blind, and continues clockwise to the Dealer.
When the first betting round is completed, three Community Cards are flipped face up on the table. This is called the Flop.
The second round of best begins with the first remaining player seated to the left of the button. The betting continues, clockwise again.
After the second round of best is completed, the Dealer flips the fourth community card face up on the table. This is called the Turn.
The third round of betting starts with the first remaining player sitting to the left of the button. The betting moves clockwise, with double bets in this turn.
When the third round of betting is over, the fifth community card is flipped face up on the table by the Dealer. This is called the River.
The fourth round of betting starts with the first remaining player seated to the left of the button (dealer). The betting continues to move clockwise.
How to determine the winner
Each player tries to make the best possible combination of five cards, out of 7 available ones (2 hole cards and 5 community cards). It is allowed to use both hole cards, one hole card or no hole card at all. The combination ranks are listed below (from the best to the worst one):
Royal flush (A-K-Q-J-10 of the same suit)
Straight flush (e.g. 9-8-7-6-5 of the same suit)
Four of a kind (e.g. K-K-K-K-9)
Full house (e.g. A-A-A-7-7)
Flush (e.g. K-J-8-7-5 of the same suit)
Straight (e.g. K-Q-J-10-9)
Three of a kind (e.g. A-A-A-9-2)
Two pairs (e.g. K-K-9-9-8)
One pair (e.g. Q-Q-9-4-2)
High card (e.g. K-J-7-3-2)
This is a reward system that allows all BrainKing users to earn points when they achieve certain goals - for instance, to win 100 games with different opponents, to purchase a paid membership, to win a pond game with 100 or more participants etc. It belongs to the statistical category of functions but also could be a beginning of new way of competition among players.
Each achievement is rated by 5-50 points, depending on how difficult it is to achieve. Every BrainKing user can find own achievements at Profile / Achievements page and it is also possible to browse achievements of other users at their respective profile pages.
The Achievements page contains a chart of users who earned the most achievement points, it provides a simple form to check how many users received the selected achievement, etc.