Back when I was working at Transmeta, a couple of coworkers introduced me to a terrific play-by-email game called Firetop Mountain. It’s a fun game of intrigue, of magical duels, of predicting your opponent’s moves while obfuscating your own, of reverse- and reverse-reverse-psychology. Your mage casts spells by making sequences of gestures (there are six possible gestures) between his two hands. Most spells only require the use of one hand, so one can be working on two spells at once; though some spells require a little cooperation between the hands.
By combining these simple gestures, mages can cast magic missles or fireballs, blind their opponents or make themselves invisible, cause injury or fatal illness to their opponents, summon one of six different types of monsters, cast storms of fire or ice, take possession of an opponent’s monsters, and even manipulate their opponents’ minds, or time itself. Naturally, there are also a variety of defensive spells, which mages can use to thwart their opponents’ attempts at gaining the upper hand. Mages are also each equipped with a dagger, for inflicting damage the good old-fashioned way. 🙂
Normally, once having joined the Firetop Mountain server, the server will automatically notify users when a new open challenge has been made (you can also challenge specific mages). However, the Firetop Mountain mailing list seems to be down currently, so it’s necessary to manually check the current challenges to see what’s available. Fortunately, I have a friend or two that I can simply keep challenging again after every duel.
If anyone who reads this decides to check it out, my user name there is “Sillig” (an interesting Middle English word that originally meant “holy” or “saintly”, but whose meaning and spelling later changed to become our modern word, “silly”). As you can see from the challenges link above, I have a couple mages waiting with open challenges (at the time of this writing, natch).