18 December 2008

Cool board games

... On FreeBSD, of course. There're many great games in ports of course. In the area of board games, gnuchess, gnugo, and gnubg have been around for a while and are all excellent. gnubg (backgammon) is a very tough opponent! Turns out computers are a lot (lot!) better at backgammon than they are at Go.

So, I like board games. I also like to play board games against humans because, well, I guess I'm not that good at them. :) If you've got your java web-plugin working, you've got a great variety of games you can play against other people on-line. Yahoo! games uses java and has a large user-base and selection of games.

Recently, though, I've discovered this website called BoardSpace. It also uses java and works great on FreeBSD. They have bots available for many games -- which is nice, it gives you a chance to learn the basics before playing against other people. And, they have a large variety of unusual games. They all (mostly?) are in the category of abstract strategy. The site has a modest user base. Very international,too. I guess I wanted to play Hex which I've heard alot about. (Be warned, the bot for Hex is pretty awful.) Then I noticed Hive, a newer game which I'd heard something about. I've tried out Lines of Action, too. It caught my eye because it's played with nothing but a standard checkerboard and pieces. It is a very complicated game, though!

Hive (as seen in the screen shot) is a very engrossing game. For a game with no actual board (beyond the pieces themselves), it is amazingly chess like. I won't bore you with the rules here, but it is cool! It has few enough rules and different pieces to be easy to learn, but still enough for great gameplay and strategy. I'm definitely hooked. If you like strategic board games, you've got to come give this a try.