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If you're the sort of person who prefers games that let you blast your enemies to smithereens with a rocket launcher, you probably wouldn't be too interested in a rousing game of Chinese checkers.
Like all Sierra games bearing the Hoyle name, Hoyle Board Games runs nearly as well on an old beater desktop or laptop as it does on a graphically accelerated top-of-the-line computer.
In fact, when you consider its undemanding system requirements and its subject matter, the game is ideally suited to those quick breaks during the day when you don't have the time or the computing horsepower to embark upon a long episode with a more complex game. Sierra has added two more games to last year's list for a grand total of 18, including age-old favorites such as chess, checkers, backgammon, and dominoes; more recent games such as battling ships (Sierra's virtual adaptation of Battleship) and mahjong tiles; and electronic-only affairs such as gravity tiles.
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Although everyone will inevitably find certain favorites, the game works so well because very few of its games are anything but solid.
Chinese checkers, for example, translates very well to the computer screen, as do chess and checkers.
Upon loading Hoyle Board Games, you're initially asked to create a character. Sierra has brought back its patented "facemaker," which lets you custom-tailor your own personality by mixing and matching eyes, noses, mouths, hairdos, and skin tones to produce some truly odd-looking characters.
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Battling ships, wherein animated cannons fire volleys over a wall and tiny ships explode and burn, is far more fun on the PC than it ever was with a pen and paper.
Gravity tiles, a hybrid of mahjong tiles and Tetris, is always good for a quick cranial workout.
The only real drawback is that if you're not new to the Hoyle Board Game series, you may not find much reason to upgrade to this version.