The first step is finding where the members of your Ladder meet to compete. Members usually gather in a designated chat room. Where are these chat rooms? This varies from game-to-game and Ladder-to-Ladder. It can range from web sites to gaming services to other methods. The most popular location of chat rooms for Internet games is via a gaming service. At the bottom of the page you will find a listing of some popular gaming services. A link to the exact location of the chat room used to play Ladder matches and/or Tournaments for your Ladder is usually located on the Ladder's main page or in the 'Rules' section.
Once you have found the appropriate chat room for your Ladder, you would then enter the chat room and ask if anyone would like to play a Case's Ladder match. You will see others doing the same. When someone accepts your challenge, you are halfway there!
PLAYING THE GAME
Now that you've found opponents to compete against, the next step is setting up the game. Again, this will vary from game-to-game, and is dependant upon which method of Internet-support the game provides.
Some games can be played only on third-party gaming services. A gaming service is a web site where people go to play games over the Internet. Generally, you will need to download some additional software and register a username in order to play a game at a gaming service. It is best to use the exact login name you have signed up for on Case's Ladder. The next step is to choose your game in the gaming service interface. You will then be taken to a chat room where people are meeting for that game (see above). Once you have found someone to play a match against, you will either start a game or join a game. If you start a game, then you usually control the game options/settings and someone will join your game. When the match is over, the loser will report the loss to the Ladder.
Many games have Internet-play and chat rooms built directly into the game itself. In this case, when you start the game there is usually an option to connect to a chat room. This chat room is usually hosted by the company that developed the game. In this scenario one person will generally host the game and others will join it. Usually the person hosting will start the game. When the match is over, the loser will report the loss to the Ladder.
Basically, Direct IP games work by directly connecting to another computer over the Internet. An IP address is a unique set of numbers assigned to you when you connect to the Internet. It will look something like the following: 126.96.36.199. To find your IP address using Windows, click 'Start', 'Run', and type "cmd" in the textbox. From the command prompt, type "ipconfig" and then press the 'Enter' key on your keyboard. When you are in the chat room, determine who will be the host of the game and write down that person's IP address. You will then launch the game you are playing, and look for the 'Multiplayer' or 'Internet' option, or something similar. If you are hosting the game, you will have to wait for the other players to join you. If you are joining the game, you will need to enter the hosting player's IP address. When the match is over, the loser will report the loss to the Ladder.
The following is a listing of popular gaming services where you can meet people to compete against in games over the Internet.
Yahoo! Games is a collection of free, Java-based games on the Web. Some of the games are multi-player games and can be played with anyone connected to the Internet, while other games are single player. All games require only a Java-enabled browser and a Yahoo! ID.
Pogo.com is a gaming service that is powered by Electronic Arts. The gaming service features dozens of free games, including basic card games and myriad board, casino, puzzle, and word games.