"Simply put, I like this game. It is a board game that plays like a cross between Chess and a shareware PC game I once played called Battle of the Elements. Two players take turns moving pieces which are represented as numbers 1 through 7. On a turn, a piece can move in a straight line a certain number of spaces. The number of spaces a piece can move is 8 minus that number. A piece cannot jump over another piece or over places where there is no tile underneath. A piece can split into two pieces during a turn (part of a number moves while the remainder stays put), and can meld into another piece yielding the sum of both numbers minus 1 (but can go no higher than 7). If a piece lands on a space occupied by an opponent's piece whose number is equal or smaller, the opponent's piece is captured. If a piece lands on a space occupied by an opponent's piece whose number is greater, that piece is sacrificed. The exception to the rule is that a 1 can reduce a 7 to a 6 (This move is called a 'dink.'). The object is to capture the opponent's castle.
"There are fifty boards to choose from and custom boards can be built. All boards are symmetrical along a diagonal and can have an odd or even number of spaces vertically and horizontally, and can have no disjoint spaces. Zero, one, or two people can play. There is a second game known as Speed Strike that can only be played two-player. Speed Strike plays similarly to traditional Mind Strike except the two players do not take turns, and the castle is not captured immediately when a piece lands on it, but has an 'energy level' which decreases while it is occupied by an opposing piece (Think Space Spartans and the starbases.) and is destroyed when that energy level is fully depleted.
"Both the green and white players are played by two AIs known as Max and Gus (if the computer plays one or both players). Max and Gus make moves using a two-pass routine. In the first pass, all legal moves are evaluated and all but the best moves are discarded. In the second pass, the few moves not discarded are carefully considered and are each assigned a value which is a summation of values assigned to factors pertaining to each move (Does it jeopardize the castle, will it capture an opposing piece, and so on). The beauty of this title is that the AIs can be 'reprogrammed' in a sense because the assigned values of each factor can be changed for each AI.
"The default AIs are a bit weak. I can beat the computer almost every time because it does not have a good defensive strategy; I take my strongest piece and 'storm the fort' which seems to take the AI by surprise. I have not spent any time reprogramming the AIs and I simply don't have the patience to do so. With two players, this game is great fun. Mind Strike alone is a lot of fun, and Speed Strike adds a whole new twist to the game. Designing custom boards is also a lot of fun. I have spent most of my time simply experimenting with different custom boards and watching the two AIs play against each other. The sound effects are actually somewhat pleasant, and the starfield background and pseudo-3-D effects are a nice touch. If you have an ECS, then get this game if you can find it. It will indeed provide many hours of enjoyment." Rating: 4/5 -- Mike Hayes