In these days of the first person shooter, Titanium PowerBooks, and high speed Internet, almost everyone is looking for the latest and greatest in games and gadgets. Occasionally, though, some enjoy going back to the good, old-fashioned board game. With this in mind,
Sierra Attractions brings us Hoyle Board Games.
Sierra Attractions is the casual gaming division of Sierra Online, a company maligned by Mac users in recent years for the cancellation of several high-profile Mac games. Despite its parent company’s shortcomings in the eyes of hardcore Mac gamers, Sierra Attractions has published many general interest games on the Macintosh, even offering OS X support for a demo of their billiards title, “Maximum Pool.” Under
the Hoyle label, Sierra publishes Hoyle Card Games, Hoyle Casino, and Hoyle Word Games, to name just a few.
Hoyle Board Games is a collection of sixteen classic board games, augmented by rich multimedia and full color graphics. A wide range of games is included, from games of luck and chance, to games of pure skill. Included are favorites like Chess, Checkers, Chinese Checkers, Backgammon, Dominoes, Yacht — commonly known as Yahtzee — Mahjong, Pachisi, and Reversi. There are also more obscure titles, such as the Egyptian game Mancala and a derivative of the Turkish game Okey, called Rummy Squares. Younger players will delight in the inclusion of Battling Ships, Snakes and Ladders, and Line ‘Em Up — known to school children by the name “Connect Four.” The code-breaking game Master Match and an interesting adaptation of the arcade game “Breakout,” called “Placer Racer,” finish off the collection.
Playing Hoyle Board Games is simple and intuitive. Pointing, clicking, and dragging are the only skills needed to enjoy the games provided. Don’t know the rules to Reversi or Pachisi? That’s not a problem, as this collection also includes an excellent, interesting manual, both electronic and hard copy, detailing the rules and histories of all its games.
There are a wide variety of player portraits to choose from, ranging from business professionals to farm animals and monsters. There’s even a fun tool included to create original portraits, should those provided fail to strike one’s fancy.
Hoyle Board Games allows for multiple players to sit down at the keyboard to enjoy the multiplayer board game of their choice. For solitary players, artificial characters are included. Much less obnoxious than typical computer players, these characters are creatively voiced and often comment on specific action in the game currently in play. The option for Internet multiplay is advertised within the game, but is not mentioned in the manual. Clicking a button to play on the Internet did not launch a browser, and we could play no games at the URL provided.
Minimum System Requirements: PowerPC, System 7.5.3, 32 MB available RAM, 4x CD-ROM, display capable of resolutions at 640×480 at thousands of colors, and 90 MB disk space. Installation was quick and painless and we experienced no crashes whatever. One particularly refreshing feature is the collection’s flexibility with its CD-ROM. Hoyle Board Games can be enjoyed with or without its CD, although though playing without it comes at the cost of game animations and character voicing.
Hoyle Board Games is a job very well done. The recreation of these classics has been flawlessly achieved. Multimedia nicely compliments most aspects of play and is never so overdone as to become a nuisance. Players of all ages and skill levels will find something to enjoy in Hoyle Board Games. As an addition to the family computer or a gift to go with grandma’s new iMac, Hoyle Board Games is well worth its price of US$29.99.