Hardwood Euchre is the creation of a company called Silver Creek Entertainment, which produces several “Hardwood” versions of popular card games including Spades, Backgammon, and Hardwood Euchre. For those not familiar with the game, Hardwood Euchre is a mix of (according to Silver Creek Entertainment’s website) the Euchre card playing and story telling/adventuring game. The combination may sound different, but it’s a fun way to add extra dimensions to the game.
Basically, Hardwood Euchre borrows a lot from massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs) to enhance the Euchre card playing experience. After downloading the client, which is free for a partial version, though the full version costs money, you log in and can create a character. This character becomes your alter ego in the game of Hardwood Euchre as you navigate through the world.
Hardwood Euchre Options
The options available to you when creating your character are choosing a portrait, choosing a background, and choosing a color. The nice thing about Hardwood Euchre is that you have many different portraits to choose from of both male and female genders. They are also not necessarily human as you can choose to play fairy folk as well as plain old humans. Once you have a portrait, you can select the background against which your portrait is shown and you can select a general color scheme.
The options for your character are not quite as detailed as those you’d find in a role playing game, though they do let you create a personalized avatar that uniquely represents you. It is certainly enough that your friends (and those you’ve bested at Euchre) will recognize you.
After creating your online alter ego, you can begin navigating through the world. While playing Hardwood Euchre, you can meet others, make friends, find partners and play the game of Euchre against players of all different skill levels. The board on which you play the game and the deck of cards you use are all beautifully rendered and really add something to the overall ambiance of the game. This should come as no surprise as Silver Creek Entertainment has had a tradition of making graphically stunning games ever since their first game, Hardwood Solitaire, which was the first card game ever to have a sixteen million color palette.
The textures used in the game, the shading, and the animation effects really belong in a true massively multiplayer online role playing game, not just a game of cards. The Medieval music playing in the background also adds a very nice ambiance more suited to computer games than card games.
However, the appeal of playing Euchre in Hardwood Euchre goes beyond just pretty pictures and fancy graphics. The interface in the game also adds something to the play experience. It has a lot of features that make Euchre easier to master for players who are just starting like shading cards that cannot be played because you have to follow suit. The game also has a number of online tutorials that are available to those learning the game or players who just need a refresher on how the game is played. All of them are accessible from the interface.
In addition, the user interface in Hardwood Euchre allows you to do things in the game that you can’t (or in some cases just should not) do in real life. This includes things like throwing fireballs and lightning bolts at your partner during the middle of the game if he makes a terrible gaffe and blowing kisses to your partner should they do something well. This obviously means that players get to interact while at the table (no table talk, though, it’s still cheating!) and many times, players at the table will do so in character to further enhance the storytelling/role playing aspects.
All of these touches make the game interesting to play and add elements of metagame to Hardwood Euchre. Still, the strongest part of Hardwood Euchre is its online user community. Quite frankly, one of the biggest issues with many online Euchre sites is their lack of players. A few sites, namely Yahoo!, have a decent user base and more than a few tournaments, but they cannot come close to the number of users and tournaments being played every day on Hardwood Euchre.
In fact, according to Silver Creek Entertainment�s website, the entire Hardwood games site hosts more than one thousand players at any given time. That means that, for the most part, there should be a Euchre game going on somewhere in the Hardwood environment and, more likely than not, you just will not have to wait very long (or at all) for a seat to open up so that you can play.
Hardwood Euchre Tournaments
This is especially true because of the over one hundred tournaments that are sponsored everyday on the site. Although the tournaments cover the range of Hardwood games (from spades to backgammon to Euchre), there should be a Euchre tournament at regular enough intervals that you can enter one and get your Euchre fix. For this reason alone, Hardwood Euchre is worth checking out and perhaps paying the full price for a download. Few other sites come anywhere close to having the number of opportunities to play Euchre and what’s the point of frequenting a site, signing up for an account, and then not being able to play Euchre?
Is Hardwood Euchre for You?
Ultimately, though, Hardwood Euchre may not be for everyone. While some will really get into character and enjoy having an electronic alter ego with which they can explore a virtual world, others will find it silly, pointless, or distracting. For instance, while things like being able to throw fireballs at opponents during a game sounds like fun at first, there is a potential for it get annoying, especially if your partner starts to throw fireballs at the smallest provocation.
However, with all that said, Hardwood Euchre really does offer a unique play experience. The visuals are nothing short of stunning and the ability to log in and easily find a partner and then sit down at a table and start playing make it a very attractive way to play online Euchre.