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In the past I had been searching for online games which I will enjoy and will come back there often. So far I found zone.com to be the right online game site for me. I played there as a guest once but unfortunately non members can't chat; they can only play games. Zone.com have several features which I will explain below. *Chat rooms *ZoneFriends *Rated Games *Kibitzing The chatroom I believe is unfiltered. There is no host which is not good especially for kids chatting there. The language can turn to be very vulgar sometimes. Kids should be very extra careful when chatting. Or kids, can choose the option of just being a guest and not be able to chat. As a special feature of zone.com you can add persons (usernames) to your ZoneFriends. When you add them you will know if they are online or not. When the name is bold it means they are online. You can also, send messages to your friends which is a plus. I have several friends that I play with and chat most of the time. Even though you are done playing any games, as long as you are still logged on to ZoneFriends, you can send messages to your buddies online that's if they are online. You can also view profiles of any members. The Options in ZoneFriends gives you: Show me as Online, Show me as Away, show me as Do Not Disturb, Privacy and Preferences. I played the rated games and I won some and lose some games. It basically tells you your rating and other user ratings. Playing rated is tough because you play for the points not for the enjoyment and when you loose you get frustrated. When you play any games you can kibitz which means you can watch the games which are currently played by any two users.
I have written about my current addiction to playing online backgammon, so I now I thought its time to share my opinion about the site where I normally play.
The Zone is Msn's games site and it provides a cornucopia of free games, covering puzzles, trivia, casino,card&board, sports, actions games.
*Card and Board.. 17 Free Games*I will start here as this is where most of my spare time is wasted, sorry used.
The games include Spades, cribbage, chess, hearts,checkers(draughts), bridge, reversi(othello), and of course my favourite backgammon.
You need to make a short free down load to play these games and then your off. There are many different rooms for each game offering casual, rated, ladder play, and competion rooms.You can try the casual play room as a guest, but you need to register and log in with a user name to play in rated and competition rooms.
There are also free tournaments to enter, they have several each day, to allow for people playing from different time zones.
If you want to learn a new game, or have forgotten the rules to an old favourite, there are rules and hints for playing as well as links to other sites for more specialist advice.
Most of the players are friendly towards new members and if you are unsure about anything to do with the games or the zone, they will help you.
*Word and Trivia.. 18 Free Games* A variety of word puzzles, mostly against the clock, my favourite here is a new game called bespelled, english and american spellings both seem to be accepted.
*Puzzle.. 32 Free games* These can also be quite addictive my choice here is atomica and alchemy a couple of strategy puzzles, Zuma a little frog that spits coloured balls is also fun.
*Casino... 14 Free Games* including blackjack,poker, bingo.
*Action Sports.. 25 free games* Examples are Isaniquarium and Feeding Frenzy.
*Pop Culture.. 11 Free games* Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, Outsmart Ice cube.
I have found that for the two player games there is never a shortage of opponents, whatever the time of day. It is busier at weekends and late evenings, but there always seem to be at least a couple of thousand opponents available in each game area.
You can play all these games as a guest, but to be able to chat and play in rated rooms and tournaments etc you will need a zone name.The first step to getting your zone name is making a .Net passport. You may already have one of these if you use MSN Messenger have an email address ending in hotmail or msn.com or use any other .Net passport sites. If not is quick and easy to create one and you can register any valid email address for a .Net passport. Once that is done you can chose a zone name .
*Zone Names* When you register, as with Dooyoo, you will pick a username, it may take several attempts as there are already so many in use. The zone will list close alternatives, if for example Daisy Duck is in use, it may suggest adding and underscore or a number to the end. You can change your name at anytime, but be careful , its not always a good idea to use your real name or part of it. If you do choose something like HotBiLady4U or slipperylips dont be surprised if you get propositioned all the time!
*Chatting* As a guest you cannot chat, but once you have joined you can chat to the room in general or just at your table. I find that in the competitive rooms, chat is friendly but minimal, just kept to comments on the game.
The casual play rooms are different and for that reason I keep my kids out of them. Here you will have guys talking to the room asking for a hot female to join him at table 69, and you may also find that once in what seems like a straightforward match, you will get hit on for a little cybersex. Having discussed this with my friends, it appears that the men get hit on just as much as the women. Just remember that the cybering is not compulsory and you can find plenty of opponents who are only interested in a good board game.
You can change the colour and type of font to suit you and chose whether or not to have emoticons turned on/off and you can also chose to filter out offensive language.
*Zone Friends*You can also keep a list of your favourite opponents and friends in your zone friends list, and keep track of when they are in the zone. Messages can also be sent when logged into zone friends. There is also a privacy facility to block anyone who is causing you any annoyance.Your zonefriends list will also let you create a profile and read those of your friends,it also records ratings and information about team memberships.
Plus members or sysops are found in most rooms, they monitor the main chat and can suspend (gag) anyone who is causing offence. They are also there to help anyone and arrange tournaments.
These are held regularly in the tournament rooms, any member can enter for free. One thing to note though, to qualify for any prizes offered you must be a resident of the USA or Canada.
If you play in the special rated rooms you will earn/lose points for winning/losing games. If you like serious competition and want some record of your prowess this may be the choice for you.The only problem I have encountered in 'rated' is that you come across a lot of sore losers.
*Leagues* There are many free to join leagues available for card and board games either as part of a team or individually, they advertise often in the rooms and I have found them fun and a great way to make friends or just be highly competitive.
So to sum up, the zone offers good quality free games, plenty of opponents of all standards, the chance to play and chat with people the world over, and to make lots of good friends that share a common interest.
The only real downside, at busy times you can find that games freeze, or that the server throws you out of the room. This is a bit annoying, but a good opponent will wait for you to return.
On the subject of good play, if you do need to leave a game, or if you are just not enjoying it, tell your opponent that you are going, dont just leave them, good manners cost nothing and will ensure that you can always find some one to play against in the future.
If you do want your children to play chess, backgammon, checkers etc, they are better playing as a guest and use the language filter I would also say keep an eye on them as there are some offensive people at the zone.
So if you like online games this one cost nothing and is worth a try, if you are going purely to chat, I would say just use a chatroom instead.
Most important have fun,