Freeverse: Axis and Allies-style strategy game in works

Independent Mac game developer and publisher Freeverse Software recently noted that it's working on a new game that may hold appeal for fans of strategy board games. Freeverse President Ian Lynch Smith likens the new game, called Solace, to Axis and Allies.

Freeverse recently partnered with Apple's .Mac online service to provide .Mac subscribers with a free version of its Deluxe Board Games release, a collection of eight multiplayer games based on classic board games like Checkers, Chess, Go and more. Freeverse has built its Mac game business on an irreverent sense of humor and unique design sensibility in games like the arcade-style WingNuts and its line of card games, including Burning Monkey Solitaire.

Solace will feature single player and online multiplayer gaming modes, along with a Play By E-Mail (PBEM) feature. Solace will support GameSmith, Freeverse's own game matching and ranking service, and it's coming to both Mac OS and Windows. Solace is a turn-based strategy game that features military confrontation -- no diplomacy here, according to Freeverse, just unbridled aggression. And unlike more massive turn-based strategy titles like Civilization, Solace is designed to be played in an evening, rather than over a period of days or weeks.

Solace takes place on a map divided into six different countries spread over three continents, islands, and seas. Each country, or player, is divided into two alliances that fight for control of the world. Each turn in the game involves "purchase," "attack" and "movement" phases.

Freeverse is still short on specific details about Solace -- their Web site has not been updated with information about the game. Freeverse has posted a tantalizing screenshot of Solace in their latest issue of MontyMail, their regular electronic newsletter sent to subscribers (and also available for review on the Web).

Smith also sent out word separately that Freeverse is looking for beta-testers for Solace. Qualified testers should have a relatively recent Mac, be interested in playing Solace and providing feedback and capable of downloading a 20MB+ file. If you're interested, drop Smith a line by e-mail and let him know.

Freeverse noted that Solace "is going to ship sooner than you think." The company said it will offer more details and screenshots of Solace in the next (May) issue of MontyMail, so presumably the game's release is at least a month away.

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