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Multi Draughts Review

Zaurus Software Reviews: Multi Draughts 1.1.8
By Steve Emms

Draughts is a game steeped in tradition. The first world champion of this game was James Wyllie , who held the title for 40 years in the late 19th century. Although this board game has never had the popularity and following of chess, it is a game where strategy and skill plays an enormous part.

Multi Draughts (referred to as MD) is appropriately named. This software from Banasiak plays three different types of draughts: International, American & Polish traditional. There's even an option to play Give Away draughts where the aim of the game is not to have a move available. This mode reminds me of loser's chess.

International draughts is played on a 10x10 board. You can see an example of a game being played under these rules in screenshot 1, and in MD this is the default rules mode. This version of draughts is played in most French speaking countries, in Holland and in Africa. Like american draughts (checkers) taking forward is compulsory. However, in International Draughts, taking backwards is also compulsory. Having only ever played the american variant before, it came as quite a shock when the Zaurus made it's first backwards capture.

I was more at home playing the American game rules. American rules are displayed in the second and third screenshots. You'll notice immediately that the board is only 8x8 squares, which makes for a quicker game than under International rules. Making backwards captures illegal (except for kings) also simplifies this game. Under American rules there's also no "most capture" rule. This rule states that if you have the choice of capturing 2 pieces or 1 king, you must capture the 2 pieces.

The third type of game rule that is available in MD is the Polish traditional. This is identical to Internantional except that captures are not mandatory.

Installation of MD was a breeze; the game happily installed to my CompactFlash card. Starting the game presents you with a 10x10 board under international rules. Clicking the settings button allows you to change the rules, the board size, the level, and the players. Besides the three different rules, there are four different board sizes available: 6x6 (for fun), 8x8 (checkers), 10x10 (international), and 12x12 (canadian). There are 8 different levels of play available: 2 easy levels, five levels where the Zaurus will think from 2 seconds a move to 1 minute a move, and also an infinite level, where the computer will think until you stop it. MD can play against a human, against itself or as a game board for 2 humans to play each other.

So, does MD play a good game? I've a very average draughts play and it made mincemeat of me at the 10 sec/move game. Fortunately, there's a good range of levels to suit most players. The custom engine that MD uses does play a very strong game. But when it was put against a PC checkers game (running on a Athlon 1800+) it faired much worse. This isn't suprising, as MD only has a 206MHz processor available to it.

There is room for improvement in the graphics department, although this doesn't detract too much from the game. The pieces could benefit from some shading. Additionally, the game currently lacks an opening book and an endgame book, although Banasiak are looking to add an opening book to a later release of this software.

MD makes an excellent addition to a gamers collection. The game has lots of options to keep your interest, plays a strong game and is remarkably cheap! A must have if you like draughts.

Product Details:

Name: Multi Draughts 1.1.8
Company: Banasiak
Price: .00
Pros: Custom engine, different game rules, strong opponent
Cons: Basic graphics, No opening/endgame books
Rating: 8/10

Back to Zaurus Software Reviews

Last Updated Friday, October 18 2002 @ 05:30 PM EDT

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