Spades Deluxe 1.0
Company: Freeverse Software
Mike: Freeverse Software has been making
quality games for the Macintosh for a long time,
but for much of that time its flagship product,
Hearts Deluxe, was the only one anybody knew
about. Recently, Freeverse has hit several home runs (although not quite as many as Mark McGwire), turning out games such as the poker/Scrabble combination CrossCards, and their own entertaining version of Klondike, Burning Monkey Solitaire. Freeverse has hit another long ball with Spades Deluxe, which promises to do for the game of spades what Hearts Deluxe did for hearts.
Adam: Long time readers of Game Guys will know that I am not a card player, and usually don’t consider playing cads as entertainment. Long time readers will also know that Mike and I are big fans of Freeverse Software’s games, which always seem to capture the card player in me, and get me addicted to a game that I never before considered playing.
Mike: Spades is a card game that requires a lot of thought and strategy, because you are playing as a team with another player, against another team of two players. After each hand is dealt, all four players must say how many tricks they intend to take in that hand. Each team is responsible for collecting the sum of the bids of the two players. For example, if you bid four tricks, and your partner bids three, your team is responsible for taking seven of the thirteen tricks in that hand.
Adam: Taking a trick in spades is the same as in Hearts, where the highest card in the highest suit on the table takes the trick. Of course, in the game of Spades, the trump suit is spades, which means that any spade, no matter what value, will override any other suit on the table. If there is more than one spade on the table, the highest value spade will take the trick.
Mike: The scoring in Spades is based upon the number of tricks you and your partner take in each hand. If you meet or exceed your bids, you get a lot of points. If you don’t meet your bids, you lose points. The amount of points gained or lost is also proportional to the number of tricks that you bid, so being gutsy in your bidding can really make things interesting. If you bid high and make it, you can build a big lead quickly. If you make a steep bid and fail to reach it, however, you can dig yourself a hole that can be tough to climb out of! On the other hand, if you bid low the entire time, you probably won’t lose many points, but your score won’t increase very fast, either.
Adam: Even though the concept of “the highest card wins” is pretty straightforward, it can be a challenge to learn how to play cooperatively with your partner, making good bids at the same time. Once you get the hang of it, though, Spades becomes a lot of fun to play, and it’s even more fun when both you and your partner are doing well.
Mike: In my opinion, the most amazing thing about Spades Deluxe is the job that Freeverse has done with the computer intelligence. To make a game in which the computer opponents react to situations as well as they do in Spades Deluxe is really impressive. This is especially true since one of the computer opponents is a teammate of yours, and the other two have to work together against you, unlike a game such as Hearts where it is everyone for themselves. The opposing computer team will really test your strategy, and your partner is often smarter than you are (at least he was a lot smarter than me!). To top things off, you can choose the type of playing style you want each computer player to have–either aggressive, conservative, or down the middle. Amazing!
Adam: I agree, Mike. You can also set the skill level of the players, the game room, scenery, and much more. And there are always those little humorous features that we have come to expect from Freeverse, including the famous “Boss Coming” feature.
No requirements for Spades Deluxe were given, but it runs without hitch on all three of my Power Macs, a 6100, a 6400, and a PowerBook G3/250.
Mike: The game features everything we’ve come to expect from Freeverse games. Anyone familiar with the interface and graphics in Hearts Deluxe will feel right at home, and the game is full of sound bites and comments from the other players–if you make a dumb move, look for your partner to chastise you!
All in all, Spades Deluxe is an outstanding addition to the Freeverse lineup of quality strategy-oriented games for the Macintosh. Anyone who likes card games should definitely give this one a try.
Adam: The fact that Spades Deluxe is so good comes as no surprise to me–I would expect nothing less from Freeverse Software. I have enjoyed playing Spades Deluxe very much, and that’s coming from a guy who normally thinks that playing cards is a waste of time. I highly recommend Spades Deluxe to card fans and non-card fans alike.
Download Spades Deluxe 1.5