I talked a couple of weeks ago about winning strategies and about being a better player. I think the best way to do that is with repeated plays, especially if you can get the same group of people together. That’s something I’ve been doing with Egizia. I’m still the worst Egizia player in the world, but I am better than I was before.
One of the easiest ways to practice a game is through a gaming portal like Yucata.de, which is my favorite play-by-web gaming site. All games are played against other human players. There are no AI opponents. Games are usually played over a number of days, since not all players are online at the same time. You can request a fast game where everyone stays online and takes their turns, but I think that is the exception and not the rule. I usually have a few games going at any particular time, and I try to take my turns as soon as I get a notification. If you are going to be offline for a more than a day, it’s a good idea to let the other players know that there will be a delay in the game.
Some of the games are easier to adapt to online play than others, but you can usually get the hang of online play fairly quickly, if you bother to read the rules they provide. I’m notorious for skipping this step. You can establish a profile and create a buddy list of players. You can set up games with random people from around the world, but I usually like playing with folks I know. There is an in-game chat feature, so you can still trash talk.
There are currently more than 80 games available for play on Yucata. Some of my favorites are Stone Age, Egizia, Thurn and Taxis, and Firenze. It is totally free and there are no ads. Seriously. Give it a try. They are adding games all of the time. They just added a version of To Court the King, which is one of my favorite dice games.