Game Review – Deathground

Author: FreeVerse Software
Shareware: $29.95 + $3.00 S&H

Mike: The “big guns” of the shareware gaming scene have been flexing their muscles lately. Last month, we showed you Cythera from Ambrosia Software, and this month, we showcase Freeverse Software’s Deathground, a gangster strategy game based on the classic board game RISK.

Adam: Like Ambrosia, Freeverse Software has a wonderful reputation for high quality shareware games, and Deathground doesn’t disappoint. It shows the same all-around quality that we’ve come to expect from Freeverse. So what exactly is Deathground, Mike?

Mike: In Deathground, you play the role of a gangster who’s out to control as much territory as possible. You spend your turns attacking rival gangs to gain control of their territory, and then shuffling your troops around to fortify your areas. You gain money and resources for each territory you own, making it easier to “off” your opponents.

Adam: The more territories you own, the more troops you have to deploy, and the more fun the game becomes. Once you own all the territories on the map, you win the game.

Mike: The default map is New York City, which is divided up into boroughs. Each borough is divided up further into neighborhoods. You receive resources and cash for each ‘hood you control, but get big bonuses for controlling an entire borough. However, with the other players trying to do the same thing, it’s tough to keep total control of any one borough for too long!

Adam: Definitely true, Mike. And you really have to watch out for your enemies gaining ground, because they move fast once they’re in control, and you’ll be forced to surrender or face certain death.

Mike: FreeVerse went into a lot of detail to make the game more than just a computer re-creation of a game board. When you attack a territory, animated gangsters do battle with each other with tommy guns, and the game is full of FreeVerse’s trademark one-liners and comments by the players. The board also zooms in and out in real time, allowing you to see one borough up-close, or look at all of New York from a bird’s-eye view to see the whole scene.

Adam: FreeVerse has also included plenty of fine-tune controls so you can tailor your Macintosh to the game. If you have an older Mac, you might want to scale back on a few of the preferences. But if you have a G4, well, you know what to do!

Mike: The game can be played by up to seven players, and as many of those can be computer-controlled as necessary. There are also three maps to play, which enhances the replay value of the game, too. The downloadable demo limits you to three players and the map of New York, though. The full version comes on a CD-ROM–a first for FreeVerse–and can be bought directly from the company.

The demo requires System 7.6 or higher, 20 megabytes of hard drive space, and approximately 32 megs of free RAM. The Deathground Demo is available for download at the FreeVerse website,, or from any of the great Mac shareware libraries online such as The full version, featuring additional playing maps, more players, and more, comes only on a CD-ROM, and can be purchased directly from FreeVerse for a total of $32.95.

The Summary
Adam: Deathground is a quality shareware game that is both addicting and fun. Its different levels of gameplay allow you to play for hours on end, even if you’ve never played before. The price-to-performance ratio is top notch for this first-rate shareware game.

Mike: I agree, Adam. FreeVerse’s high reputation for making excellent card games and board games for the Mac is well-deserved, and they prove it once again with Deathground. If you like strategy games and want something that’s not quite as complex as StarCraft, or if you just want to see another great example of fine shareware gaming, take a look at Deathground. Highly Recommended by The Game Guys.

Mike Wallinga

Adam Karneboge

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