Ideally, everyone who loves Spades would have a local group with whom they could play, but sometimes Spades fans have to turn to Internet Spades. The good news is that even early in the history of the Internet, Spades sites were creeping up everywhere. Today, there are a whole host of Internet Spades sites offering fans of the games several different ways to play, whether it’s free online play, Spades on mobile devices, or Hardwood Spades, a mix of fantasy storytelling and card games.
Here are five sites that Internet Spades fans can check out to find these various types of games.
Arguably, there is no finer place to play Internet Spades than MSN Spades. It is probably the king of all Internet Spades sites, but it’s not a case of you paying for what you get. In fact, MSN Spades is 100% completely free to anyone that has an MSN/Hotmail account. For those who don’t have an MSN or Hotmail account (which you probably should since Windows now asks people to set them up when it is installed), you can simply go online and sign up for one for free.
Once you have your account, you have access to a sizable, active online Spades community just looking for a game. Of course, with that many people online at once, you are bound to find someone with your general skill level to challenge to a game, which is great if you are just starting out or if you are a very talented player. Even better, if you just want to log in and play, you can always challenge the computer to a rousing game as well.
Better than the community, MSN’s software is also some of the best for playing Internet Spades. The interface features wonderfully rendered tables which serve as the Internet game board. The features do not stop there. The software also has a match finder which will get you a seat at a table against opponents of your skill level with a single click. Also very cool is the fact that the software features four variants of Internet Spades: Short, Suicide, Mirror, and Whiz for a different play experience.
GameColony.com is another site that offers Internet Spades and a number of other games for freesort of. The site, which has been around since 1999, allows anyone to sign up for a free account, which only takes a matter of seconds. With your free account, you gain the ability to start playing Internet Spades or other free games of skill without having to pay a cent. You can play free games as long as you would like.
However, the fun with GameColony.com does not end with playing free games. That’s what sites like MSN Spades are for. Once you have proven to yourself that you know the game of Spades by playing the free Internet Spades game, you can then go and fund your account. Funding obviously costs money, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. The funding buys you tickets which can be cashed in for entry into fee tournaments. The fee tournaments are true games of skill which can earn you cash prizes if you are the winner which appears to be legal in the United States.
Spadester.com is a site like GameColony.com which offers free and cash games. However, Spadester.com is unique amongst all Internet Spades sites because it has a very feature-rich, downloadable client which is actually used by other sites in their Spades rooms. (See My Spades for an example of such a site.)
However, Spadester.com is more than just a site that offers Spades software. The site offers a number of different options for play, some free, some that require you funding your account. What you do with Spadester.com is up to you. The client is absolutely gorgeous and the network does not hurt for users (especially if you factor in the players from MySpades.) You can play free Spades for as long as you want. However, if you want an extra challenge, you can also fund your account and go against other players for real money in poker games and tournaments.
Spades Online at ILoveSpades.com is perhaps not the most attractive site and its client is good, but not on the same level as some of the other sites. The good news is that the site is trying to improve its software, but the results of those improvements remains to be seen. However, there is something that makes it very mentionable in a discussion of Internet spades: a mobile iPhone client. This iPhone client is completely Internet-enabled for those who install it on the iPhone or iPod touch. Special rooms have even been set up to support mobile players.
The last of the Internet Spades games is in a category all on its own. It is called Hardwood Spades and it is a unique version of the game created by Silver Creek Entertainment, the inventor of several different Hardwood games. Like those other Hardwood games, Hardwood Spades allows players to play the card game using a downloadable client, but enhances the standard card game Spades with what Silver Creek calls storytelling elements.
What they have created is a game that is almost like a massive multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) because it is character driven. While the characters in Hardwood aren’t quite as detailed as they are in MMORPGs, they are unique online virtual avatars that are personalized to each person. This avatar is selected from various fantasy/Medieval character images, backgrounds and colors to make it visually distinct in the game of Hardwood.
Once an avatar has been created, it is used to interact with the game world. The world of Hardwood Spades is a magical place where players can sit down to engage in the game of Spades and do some things that just aren’t possible or advised in real life. This includes doing supernatural things like tossing fireballs and shooting lightning bolts and more mundane, but sometimes risky things, like blowing kisses. Combined with some period music and Hardwood Spades is a great fantasy-based way to keep Internet Spades interesting without detracting from the game.
To its credit, Hardwood Spades has attracted a large number of players. Their site boasts that they have thousands of players online at a time playing Spades and other Hardwood games. There are also hundreds of different card tournaments each day.
The game is played via a downloadable client. The trial version is free while the fully-featured version is reasonably priced.
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