Checkers is one of my favorite games because it is relatively simple and easy to learn.  So, I was excited to see it available on the Kindle.

The Kindle edition of Checkers has a good set up.  It uses the keyboard’s letters to navigate the board.  The only downside to this, is that the Kindle’s keyboard is really small.  It was a bit awkward at first, but it makes sense, because you can avoid using the 5-way toggle button.  I’ve heard of players who wear out their 5-way toggle from playing games like these.  You can play against the Kindle, or a friend via Pass ‘N Play mode.

There are 10 levels of difficulty.  I started out with the easy mode, obviously, and ended up with a game of cat and mouse with the Kindle opponent.  Either I am really bad at checkers, or this game, even at the easiest levels is a worthy challenge for all ages.  If you get tired of moving back and forth while trapping the opponent, you can go for a draw.  That is an option on the bottom of the screen.

Checkers is such a simple game to learn, and considering this game is only about a dollar, I was surprised to see that there were 10 levels of difficulty.  That seems like a lot!  More for your money I suppose.

The graphics are about as good as they can get for a Kindle.  Maybe future versions can make the pieces 3D.  3D pieces would make the kings easier to see.  White and black pieces are obviously the best choices for colors.

Before you start, check out the Help page to get the gist of how to play the game.  It is really well written.  It tells you exactly how to access options throughout the game, such as hints, draw, etc.

This reviewer makes a good point.  You really do have a lot of customizations that most computer checker games don’t give you.  You can choose whether you want to play more relaxed games, or more competitive “forced jump” ones.  You can choose who plays first, the level of difficulty, type kindle or friend, etc.

will c. settle

“i have played other video checker games and this game is one of the best. alot of video checkers do not allow you to decide who starts first nor do they allow you to pass up on a jump. this one is fully customizable and a winner…”


Scrabble for Kindle

Scrabble has been a real hit for Kindle users since its release on September 23.  It includes a lot of cool features to help you improve your playing strategy..

The Kindle edition of Scrabble includes both solo and multi player versions.  In the solo game, you’ll play against a computer with a choice of three difficulty level settings.  The Best Word feature provides you with the best word options that would make the most out of the double and triple word scores for a turn.  Too bad you don’t have that hint with the regular board game. I’m sure many people will make good use of this feature.

Statistics tracking is included to help you strive to improve your game each time you play.  You can also take a look at past moves that both you and your opponent have made throughout the game.  It looks like the players are going to have to get a lot more secretive about the way they play strategically.

The reviews for the Kindle edition of Scrabble are great, and one reviewer pointed out that the Kindle’s five way controller makes playing the game really easy.

Another reviewer noted that the graphics are well done, and the game has just enough complexities to justify the higher price of $4.99.  This is about the same price as the best games on the iPad and iPod touch.  So you get what you pay for in most cases.  When I think of paying $5 for this game versus $30 or more for a Nintendo DS game, it puts things into perspective.

The full board on the regular Kindle is quite small, but the new and improved graphics on the latest generation allows it to remain crisp and easy to see.  The Kindle DX certainly provides more board room on its bigger screen if you have one.

As for the game itself, Scrabble is a challenge.  It is fun to come up with creative or crazy words.  I get a real kick out of beating the “unbeatable” experienced players.  Now, with the game available on my Kindle, I can take it anywhere and play it while I wait for the bus, the doctor’s office or at home on a rainy afternoon.

For more information about Scrabble, check out this Kindle Scrabble review on Kindle Review Blog.

Kindle Checkers

Kindle Checkers is another app that is likely to emerge quickly. I’t pretty much the same deal as with chess. Being able to play against Kindle CPU if you are beginner or against web-service. Controlling the game with 5-way controller is even easier since there are only 32 squares to choose from as opposed to 64. Also because the game is not as complex Kindle CPU would be able to provide more of a challenge to a human player.

Kindle Chess

Kindle Chess
Kindle Chess

Kindle Chess is very likely to be among the first released apps. There are many ways to implement this game on Kindle platform.

The game will likely take advantage of Kindle’s free 3G Internet connectivity since onboard CPU isn’t doesn’t have enough computing power to challenge anyone except for very novice players. Experienced players will have to test their skill against server somewhere on the web or against their home PC that can use 100% of its computing power and memory to challenge the human player.

Another scenario would be human vs. human play. Kindle owners would be able to engage in either fast paced blitz tournament style games or take it easy and enjoy slow play-by-mail type matches at one turn a day or even a week. Since chess is social and highly competitive game I wouldn’t be surprised if some Kindle Chess application would also have social networking features.

If I were the owner of one of the online chess websites or existing PC chess games I would start working hard on creating a Kindle version and add value to the whole services by making it available on Kindle.

Implementing chess on Kindle isn’t likely to present a major ergonomic challenge since 64 squares on the board can easily be navigated with 5-way controller or player can just type their moves on the keyboard (e2e4)

Kindle Sudoku

Kindle Sudoku
Kindle Sudoku

Update: As of November 19, 2010 Electronic Arts has released a Kindle version of Sudoku on Amazon marketplace. You can download it here an start playing right away.

Since little is known right now about KDK and the way it will integrate with Kindle software I can only speculate about which Kindle apps will be available. And this is precisely what I’m going to do.

Kindle Sudoku is likely to the among the first application to appear in fact I believe that there will be multiple versions of it by several companies. Sudoku is a very popular game, it doesn’t require fast screen refresh, colors and any computing power or memory. On top of that it’s not encumbered by trademarks or copyrights so everyone is free to implement it in any way they like. Kindle keyboard and 5-way controller are good enough for playing Sudoku (I have to admit that touchscreen with a stylus would have been the most perfect).

In fact if you look at Amazon’s official KDK page, one sample app that is displayed on Kindle there is Sudoku.