I discovered in the old forum posts about this game - Fantasy Hex Wars. Its correspondance based and free to play. If you're into graphics then its not for you - but figure most people on this site are above that. Seems like a great game - but could do with more players joining in. If you are after a little chess break, why not give it a look?
I've copied the 'game' philoshopy off the site. Thinks it sums it up better than I could.
I created this game because I wanted to create an online game which was primarily focused on strategy; too many online 'strategy' games are essentially about other things. Most commonly they are heavily biased towards players who spend more real-life cash, or who have more free time to play. I wanted a game where skill was the most important factor.
I also wanted a game that was engrossing, yet could be played on a limited amount of time per day. Not everyone can sit in front of a computer all day long, and respond to events as they happen, therefore this game is turn-based. The advantage of this is that you play the game at the times to suit you. You don't have to worry about being attacked while you are at work, or in the middle of the night. I believe that good games shouldn't become a chore to play, and definitely shouldn't take over all your free time.
Lastly, I wanted to create a friendly and mature community, where players could come together and play competitive games with mutual respect.
I hope I have achieved all three goals. The game is 100% free to play, so why not join the fun and judge for yourself?
Heres the link with the screenshots to give you a better idea too