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The Slacker's Guide To Shareware - Part 9
February 5, 2004 | Tom Burns

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If you’re sick of all these grids and game pieces, Solace ( $19.95 shareware, available from Freeverse Software) is your game. A world-domination war-game similar to Risk or Axis & Allies, Solace will have you deploying catapults and cavalry in no time. After learning the ropes in the detailed tutorial, you take the helm of one of six fictional nations and wage war. The game is playable on GameSmith, the online play engine that Freeverse uses in all of their games. It is also cross-platform, so your PeeCee-using friends can get in on the fun too.

Had enough?
After the three games above, I was ready to give peace a chance. If you want online competition without warfare, the following titles may perk your interest: If you need 3D graphics in order to consider an application to be a “real game,” Quarto ($15 shareware, available from Spectral Class) may be the solution to your problems. An OpenGL-based version of the game board that shares its name, Quarto is a quick game with simple rules. Quarto is played an a four by four board with sixteen pieces. Pieces are either black or white, small or tall, round or square, and solid or hollow. The goal of the game is to have four pieces on a row (horizontally, vertically or diagonally) such that they all have one of the four properties in common, e.g. four tall pieces. An additional twist is that the pieces that you place are chosen by your opponent, making this a game of timing. The game supports Rendezvous, though no internet service is available at this time.

Last for this month is the game that I’m still addicted to: X-Words Deluxe ($19.95 shareware, available from Freeverse Software). X-Words is a high-quality crossword board game in the tradition of Scrabble. It features numerous game boards which add variety to play, and it is compatible with GameSmith, which means that there will always be someone to play with. The rules are highly configurable, which allows you to play with some of the “house rules” that you probably grew up with.

I hope that you enjoy the games I’ve picked out, and look for the next issue in about a month, when I’ll be covering the open source gaming scene. As always, if you have any suggestions, you can contact me at

Related Links
Freeverse Software
Sen:te Software
Spectral Class



Archives  Features  The Slacker's Guide To Shareware - Part 9