|The Slacker's Guide To Shareware - Part 9|
February 5, 2004 | Tom Burns
Welcome, readers, to this latest installment of the Slacker's Guide.
Before we get to the games, I should note that covering the rules of all of these games is beyond the scope of this article. The games I have chosen all feature excellent internal documentation, and I encourage you to refer to it if you need help.
Now on with the games.
A little warmongering never hurt anybody, right?
This month I've picked war games as the theme. No, not that 80's movie, I'm talking classics baby! So step into the WayBack machine as we head back to 3000 B.C. to play our first game, Goban.
Goban (Freeware, available from Sen:te) is based on the ancient game Go, a predecessor to western Chess. For those uninitiated, I cannot hope to cover all of the rules, but I will attempt a summary: The game is played on a grid, and you place your pieces on the intersections of the lines. The object of the game is to surround your opponent’s pieces, removing them from the board. The game plays out on an epic scale, and each match normally lasts at least two hours.
Goban features Rendezvous and Internet play, making it easy to hold games with other people on your network and beyond. If single player is more your thing, the game features the GNU Go engine, an open source AI that is thought to be one of the best available. The interface is clean, which makes it easy to pick up and learn.
Next on the list is Aquataxx ($5 shareware, available from buzzlabs), an Aqua clone of the classic game Ataxx. In a way, Aquataxx is a faster version of Goban, with typical games lasting about thirty minutes. Instead of eliminating your opponents pieces, in Aquataxx you change them into yours, the object of the game being to control the majority of the board by the time it is entirely filled. This adds a fast-paced, more competitive feel to the game, making it extremely addictive when played online.