Hoyle Classic Board Games

Sierra takes us back to the classics.

Some computer games cost millions to make but lack that inherent charm that board games always seem to have. It might be their intrinsic simplicity or sentimental value (everyone who’s played a real board game has done so with friends or familiy), but they’re all great fun all the same. Here you have quite a cool collection of such classics, all in one package, and with just the right amount of added glitz and polish to make them a permanent guest on your hard drive.


Parcheesi is one of several more exotic games, supporting a maximum of 4 players.

Though some of the games are renamed to avoid lawsuits, it’s obvious which board game each one imitates. Battling Ships replaces Battleship, Chutes and Ladders becomes Snakes & Ladders, and there’s always Yacht, also known as Yahtzee. Even though they don’t bear their original names, every game is perfectly modeled to the exact rules and restrictions. There’s a good mix between the average candidates for compilations of this type, like Backgammon, Chess, Checkers and Dominoes, and more obscure games such as Parcheesi or Chinese Checkers. Can’t remember how to play? No problem. The manual contains rulesets for each game.

The gorgeous backgrounds and effective animations add plenty of atmosphere to the basic games. Lots of extra touches keep this title a step above common. Even the main screen can be tailored to an old rustic cabin, a spaceship helm with holographic diagrams of every game, or a standard list. The neatest feature involves the widely varied characters pitted against gamers. Personalities range from the annoying Fran Drescher sound-alike to a chatty grizzly bear. The AI comes with adjustable difficulties and can easily hold its own if you don’t have a friend around to play against. These AI opponents throw barbs and witticisms constantly, though they can be toggled off if the insults become aggravating (they almost never do). Matter of fact, players have complete freedom to tailor almost every aspect of the games.

Lacking any glitches to lessen its shine, Hoyle Classic Board Games remains the most enjoyable game of its kind, whether playing solo or with friends. It’s a great rainy day distraction on your computer, and the cat can’t prance across these boards, knocking play pieces far and wide.

System Requirements: 486 Processor 66Mhz, 8 MB RAM, 10 MB Space, Win 95/98

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