Vincent Brévart

Vincent Brévart

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What's new in Bel Atout 5.70

September 15th, 2018
_________

Improvements in the playing level

  • Count signal in the trump suit

    In the rule preferences at the Signaling page, there is now a new option called Count signal in the trump suit. To make this signal, the player must be following suit while his partner is winning the trick in the trump suit. This one is declarer and probably has the 2 top trumps. The principle is then to always play the lowest card first when holding a minimum of 3 trumps. So, with 2 low trumps, you follow suit with the highest as usual. But with for example 10-Queen-7, you follow suit with the 7 first, without trying to give any point. On the second round of trumps, you'll play the Queen, then showing a minimum of 3 trumps at the beginning of the deal. In many cases, this kind of signal will help partner to locate the last trump and avoid playing a third round of trumps. Some capots will therefore become much more easier to make.

    This preference is unchecked by default. You can enable it in the rule preferences at the Strategy page. You'll also find some examples of this signal in deals N°10 to 13 in the last corrections file (accessible by the Examples menu).

  • Some mistakes have been corrected

    More mistakes in the playing have also been corrected. You can find them in the last corrections file (accessible by the Examples menu). For those who like the beautiful play, have a look at deal N°6 sent by a very experienced user, and at deal N°7 on the same topic, and finally at deal N°8 where the new technique of discard before a squeeze is reserved for level 4, since I personally wouldn't have found the right discard!

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Improvements in the interface

  • Changing the current deal

    Some users often interrupt their games because a specific deal is not good for them or they find it uninteresting. On this subject, I remind you that you can give an advantage to North-South during the dealing, by the Preferences menu or the Shift+A shortcut key. Interrupting a game can be done by the Play menu or the F8 key or even by a right click on the top right button (see below). But I've added for these users another possibility which consists in having the cards dealt again without interrupting the game. You can change the current deal by the Play menu or the Ctrl+F8 key or even by a right click on the top right button while holding the Control key. You'll just have to confirm before changing the deal. However, this one cannot be dealt again if you have played it to the end.

     or  A right click on this button (even if disabled) allows you to interrupt a game (like F8). When pressing and holding the Control key, you can now deal the cards again without interrupting the current game.

  • Make computer replay the deal with the bidding

    For users who don't enable the comparison on the bidding and the playing (unlike what I deeply recommend), there was already a button to make the computer replay the deal quickly, but only for the card play (see below). Now, by clicking this button while holding the Control key, or with a right click on this button, you can make the computer replay the whole deal starting from the first bid. This will allow you from time to time to know if the computer in South would have done as well as you, including during the bidding, which is not always so easy.

    Clicking this button makes the computer replay the deal quickly, as far as the card play is concerned. By pressing and holding the Control key, or by a right click on this button, you can now make the computer replay the deal from the first bid.

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  • Choosing your belote level on startup

    There are still too many users who play at level 1 (the lowest) without enabling any signal, thinking that the playing level of the machine players is not adjustable. Hence their complain messages when their partner plays badly or doesn't see their signals. In the first versions of Bel Atout, I had put the highest level by default, with all the signal techniques enabled. But many beginners could no longer win. So, more than ten years ago now, I put the lowest level by default, while opening the rule preferences on startup, to encourage users to change their settings. But it doesn't seem to be enough. So, I've added a new window on startup, allowing to choose the belote level or at least to realize that some settings are needed to make the most of the program.

    This window will open on the first time you launch this new version, even if it is an update. If you have already set your strategy preferences, check that the description of the four levels corresponds more or less to your choices, and close the window by the Cancel button, so as not to change your settings. If not, click the button corresponding to the level at which you want to play. The page showing the strategy preferences will then open, allowing you to refine your settings as you like. You will always be able to go back to this window by the File / Choose your belote level menu (or the Ctrl+B shortcut key), and change your strategy preferences by the Preferences / Rule preferences menu (or the Ctrl+R shortcut key).

Thanks to all those who proposed these enhancements.

Best wishes
Vincent