i've noticed the use applets is often dismissed on the basis of browser war paranoia or other dubious reasons. but do non-applet/non-java alternatives really avoid the ongoing problems of dealing with diverse browser technologies? (ahem...rhetorical question)
here are two examples of purely java-driven, free strategy game sites that have worked reliably under netscape and ie for a long time. the first has been around a loooong time and is used by players all over the planet. it has remained essentially unchanged. the second is evolving very rapidly and is real-time, but i've never met anyone there outside the US:
turn based--challenge me to havannah, or pente or chess if u want:
real time--you can play against an AI opponent or other members logged in. too many other features too mention!
gamers have fun