Alphas are, generally speaking, not particularly enjoyable bits of gaming code. Yes, they can show all the promise in the world and maybe even hint at greatness, but, unless I'm playtesting something for a close friend, I do tend to avoid them. And I rarely suggest people try them out.
Unless, that is, we are speaking of the (currently Windows only) alpha of Pike & Shot by James Edward Smith, which I frankly believe is worth everyone's time. It's still little more than a decent looking prototype mind you, but the core gameplay mechanics that have been implemented so far are way too enjoyable to ignore. You get to directly command a unit consisting of pike-men and musketeers in a tactical arcade game pitting you against all sorts of enemies, each requiring a different approach.
Moving around the battlefield and choosing when to shoot and when to protect your missile troops is both satisfying and an impressive evolution of the North & South battle mechanics; a fine reflexes/strategy balancing act. A balancing act I seem to keep repeating over and over apparently.
And as Pike & Shot already looks pretty much okay with its cute pixel-men and there are a ton of things that can be added and/or fine-tuned, I know I'll be keeping an eye out for it. Hopes are high!
Related @ Gnome's Lair: