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Hoyle Classic Board Games


Ages 7 to adult

Rating Scale
5 = great,    1 = poor
Educational Value
Kid Appeal
Ease of Use

Hoyle Classic Board Games Screen Shot System Requirements

PC / Mac Price Survey

Product Support

This program features 10 time-tested board games, adapted for computer play. Included are classic versions of Backgammon, Battling Ships (more commonly known as “Battleship”), Checkers, Chess, Chinese Checkers, Dominoes, Pachisi (also known as “Parcheesi”, “Sorry” and “Trouble”), Snakes and Ladders (“Shoots and Ladders”), Yacht (“Yahtzee”) and Zen Bones (a simplification of Mah Jongg). Users can also choose to install “Hearts” and “Solitaire”, a preview of the Hoyle Classic Card Games program.

Each game can be played with friends, or alone, against one of 12 animated opponents. Options allow users to choose which adversary to face and whether said character will be silent or add a bit of levity to the game with constant commentary. Users also choose to play games at beginning, intermediate or advanced levels.

Educational Value
Planning, problem solving and critical thinking skills are used in each game included on this CD-ROM. Depending on the game and the level of play, utilization of these skills can range anywhere from slight to great. For example, beginning chess players may be content to move their pieces in the proper ways, while advanced players will rely on studied techniques in their attempts to outwit their opponents.

Unfortunately, some skills reinforced in board game versions of popular games can be lost when converted for computer play. An example of this is found in the “Battling Ships” game. When played on a board, children must call out bingo-like, latitude and longitude coordinates in their attempts to locate and sink their opponent's ships. In this computer version however, players simply click on a grid, never needing to use the grid for graphing coordinate pairs.

Kid Appeal
Although our kid testers were eager to tackle the games included in this program, all agreed that they prefer playing the games away from the computer. “I would definitely use this program if I didn’t have anyone to play the board game with,” was one teen user’s comment, “but I prefer touching and moving the game pieces to clicking and dragging them.” Another complained, “I can’t blow on my dice for luck!”

As might be expected, some of the included games are more easily adapted for computer use than others. Testers especially liked Yacht, a version of the dice game “Yahtzee”. “I liked that the computer kept track of the scores for me,” was one young user’s observation.

Ease of Use / Install
This program installed without difficulty on Windows 95. Our Windows 3.1 testers reported some intermittent problems with the sound dropping out -- but no help was available for this problem on Sierra's website.

The accompanying guide includes game rules and gives a brief history of each of the included games. A help file for each game is contained on the CD, also explaining game play and rules. Despite this, our reviewers complained they were sometimes confused about the game interface. They also noted that game pieces were occasionally unresponsive, a fact that they found extremely frustrating.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
With Hoyle Classic Board Games, kids of all ages can enjoy 10 classic board games with or without human competitors. It also works well for players who seek the opportunity to hone specific skills and develop unique strategies.

See SuperKids' comparisons with other problem solving software titles, and the Buyers Guide for current market prices of this PC-only program.

System Requirements
PC: Windows 95, Windows 3.1, 486/66 or faster cpu, 8 MB RAM, SVGA 640x480, 256 color display, Double-speed or faster CD-ROM.

Reviewed on:

  • Pentium166 with 24MB and 12XCD
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