Review Copyright Chad Martin 2000
NetMECCG is an adaptation of the Middle Earth Collectible Card Game that allows people to play the game over the internet. Developed by Mike Collins, the program is relatively small, can be run on most PCs, and has all the capabilities to perform any action one would normally do in a face-to-face game. Currently, there exists a fairly large internet player base, some of which participate in the NetMECCG League, an informal organization to rank active players, and to provide new players with a resource for learning the program. NetMECCG uses a "virtual table" interface to keep track of everything. The game knows few of the rules of the standard card game, which adds to its flexibility.
The main screen is split up into a few different fields: The upper left hand field shows your opponents companies and the resources they are carrying. The upper right hand card is constantly updated with the card description of the currently selected card. There is a center window dedicated to chatting with your opponent during the game. On the bottom of the screen, there are fields for your hand and your companies. The company and hand fields are simply lists of the names of the cards. The names are color-coded based on whether they are resources, hazards, characters, etc. Right clicking on any given card brings up a menu of all the available actions on that card, including the keyboard shortcuts for each action. A good rule of thumb while playing is that if you want to do something, right click.
NetMECCG Main Window
The menus at the top of the screen provide other functions that arent card specific. For example, one can look at their opponents hand, with his permission, for cards like Rolled Down to the Sea and Secret News. Other of the more commonly used functions like rolling and sending basic messages are available in the menus, but also have toolbar buttons.
NetMECCG Moving Companies
NetMECCG comes packaged with two particularly useful programs: DeckMECCG and a Sealed Deck Generator. The former is a utility for building decks for use with NetMECCG. It has fields for resources, hazards, sideboard, starting company cards, and Anti-Fallen Wizard sideboard. There also exists a convenient card search function that allows you to look at the text of a card without finding it in a list. This function also exists in NetMECCG. The Sealed Deck Generator allows you to specify what packs to build a sealed deck out of, and writes the list of cards to a file that can be opened in DeckMECCG.
Sealed Deck Generator
Another indispensable program for any NetMECCG player is ICQ. Most players have ICQ, and its a wonderful way of finding somebody to play a game on the spur of the moment, or to just chat with fellow MECCG enthusiasts.
NetMECCG is a must for the online MECCG player for several reasons. The first and foremost is that you have the chance to play against many skilled players from all around the world. The second advantage is that you no longer have to be limited by the number of cards you own. If you want three copies of The Lidless Eye in that minion deck, you can do it. Its also a great way to test out weird and thematic decks, either with other players or using the built in solitaire mode. Lastly, NetMECCG is quite easy to use for most games. Many veterans to the game find that they can play games quicker using NetMECCG than they can play a face-to-face game.
NetMECCG requires Windows 95, 98 or NT, and screen resolution of 800x600 or greater. It can be downloaded at the NetMECCG Homepage at http://er4www.eng.ohio-state.edu/~mcollins/netmetw.html. The download is 4.51 MB split up into four files designed to fit on 1.44 MB floppy disks. The downloads need to be unzipped with a file zipping utility like WinZip (http://www.winzip.com). You can either unzip them all into one temporary directory, or onto floppies, then run setup.exe. You should also download ICQ (http://www.icq.com) and set it up. ICQ numbers for active players can be found on the NetMECCG League Homepage (http://www.tc.umn.edu/~mart0312/) or at Chris Cables page (http://www.feinus.com/~chscable/). As mentioned above, the League is a great place to play games with some experienced players, and learn the program. Most of the League members are friendly, and willing to show a new player the ropes.
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