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Deathground is a Risk-like game in which up to seven mobsters (in any mix of computer and human players) compete to dominate the selected battleground. Each battleground is divided into 'hoods (neighborhoods) which only one player can control. Each 'hood generates income which is a base amount plus a variable amount that depends on the length of time you have held that 'hood.
As in Risk, each player is allocated either one territory or an equal portion of the entire map. Allocation can be randomly assigned or players may select territories in turns. There are three maps available: New York City, the United States and the world but it is possible to create your own map — user-generated maps are expected to be available on the Internet.
The game is by Freeverse Software, programmers whose offbeat products include Hearts Deluxe, Burning Monkey Solitaire, Virtual Viagra, Sim Stapler and Jared, Butcher of Song. The sound effects of the computer players are particularly noteworthy. While Hearts Deluxe is famous for its animated computer players, voices in Deathground are designed to be a lot of fun. The developers have created some ludicrous histories for these animated characters.
Because gameplay and rules can be adjusted, any game can be slow, long, fast or furious depending on the options you choose. Game speed also depends on the map: the New York City map is the smallest, the world map is the largest and games are correspondingly different on each.
The strategy in the game involves generating income that you obtain in two ways. First, as you hold on to 'hoods you control, they generate more income each turn (up to a preset limit), and, second, groups of 'hoods, called boroughs, generate additional income. Finally, you can obtain "bullets" (random events) by capturing 'hoods that have bullets in them. At the start of the game, no 'hoods have bullets but as the game progresses, bullets appear in hoods owned by players. The amount of resources generated by the bullets is affected by the total number of wise guys in the game, so the more armies on the board, the more powerful the random events.
Another way to obtain resources is to take control of hospitals and police stations — each map has two of each. If you control both hospitals, you obtain extra armies at the beginning of each turn while if you control both hospitals, you can eliminate some of your opponents' armies at the beginning of each turn. The AI is intelligent enough to be a challenge and does not play every game the same way.
This is a memory-intensive game. With all features enabled, it can gobble up to 50MB of RAM but people with pre-iMac computers can adjust sound and graphics to use less memory. The manual includes a section for experienced computer users and is worth reading even if you are not an experienced computer user, as it explains in detail how the game works. If, on the other hand, you are an experienced computer user, you may use this information to alter the game as you choose.
Although there is no Windows version yet, one is expected. Macworld inducted this game into their Macworld 1999 Hall of Fame as Best Traditional Game. ~ Alexander Goldman, All Game Guide