Practice to become a grandmaster from anywhere using this third-party game. Take your skills online and compete with other players.
Another winner from Magmic Games (http://www.magmic.com) is Medieval Kings Chess 2. The graphics and quality of the Magmic games are impressive, and this one is no different. Medieval Kings Chess 2 lets you play chess on your BlackBerry from anywhere. Once you've honed your skills, you can take your game online to compete against other BlackBerry users.
The program can be installed from Magmic's download page just follow the same installation instructions as Texas Hold 'Em King 2 [Hack #32].
3.3.1. Start Playing
Like Magmic's Texas Hold 'Em King 2, this program comes with a seven-day trial. After the seven days have elapsed, you can purchase a key at Magmic's web site for $9.95. To play an offline game against the AI that's built into the software, choose New Game from the main menu. The Create New Game window appears (see Figure 3-4), and you can choose from various settings for your game. You can select the game mode (Player vs. CPU or Player vs. Player), piece color, your opponent's skill level, and the piece set and board type.
Figure 3-4. Create New Game screen
The options for the difficulty of the game range from Beginner (King Arthur) to Very Hard (Will the Conqueror) all the way to Master (Genghis Kahn). The Beginner level, as you'd expect, is quite easy to beat although it didn't take long for the Master level to dash my hopes of glory!
Use your trackwheel to scroll between settings and the Enter key (or click the trackwheel) to toggle between the values for a particular setting. When you're ready to play, scroll down to Begin Game and plan your attack!
Once the game begins, your pieces will be on the bottom and your opponents will be on the top. The clever controls make this game surprisingly simple to move your pieces. When it's your turn to move, use the trackwheel to scroll between your pieces and use the Enter key (or click the trackwheel) to select one to move. The piece will be highlighted, indicating it is selected. When a piece is selected, the trackwheel is then used to scroll between all the possible moves it is able to make, given the position of the other pieces on the board. In Figure 3-5, I've selected the knight in position B1 and am using the trackwheel to toggle between the two possible moves.
Figure 3-5. The knight in B1 is selected
3.3.2. Online Play
Magmic has built some excellent online features into the game. You can play a random online opponent or set up a private game with a password so you can coordinate a game with a friend. You can also upload your record against the built-in AI to Magmic's online leader boards to compare against other players (http://www.magmic.com/commons.php?direct=highscores).
Figure 3-6 shows the online menu you'll see after you log in with your Magmic account and password. You can create an account in the game or on Magmic's web site (http://www.magmic.com). You can join and play up to 15 online games simultaneously (I can't imagine anyone complaining that that number is too low!). However, the game state is stored on Magmic's game servers, so you can start a game that lasts for days and only make a couple moves a day as your time permits.
Figure 3-6. The online menu
At the time of the writing of this book, the game has only recently been released and the online action is somewhat sporadic, so don't cancel your Xbox Live account just yet. I would expect this game to gain momentum quickly, given the online gaming features and the low price point.