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Publisher: Freeverse    Genre: Board & Card
Min OS X: 10.3    Hard Disk: 20 MB

Big Bang Board Games
August 29, 2005 | Michael Phillips

Click to enlarge
It's multiplayer mode that truly makes Big Bang Board Games worthwhile. Setting up a multiplayer game is quick and painless via any of built-in multiplayer modes. For GameSmith, one simply has to register an account and login. There are always plenty of friendly GameSmith users about, ever willing to play a game or twelve. GameSmith also features a player ranking system for each game, allowing players to see just how hardcore they rock (that's how it is for me anyway).

Big Bang Board Games is also seamlessly integrated with iChat to make finding an opponent as simple as sending an instant message. Upon launching any of the games, players are presented with a radial menu of all their currently online buddies; one simply has to scroll around the dial to invite their desired game pal to play. Upon clicking the invite button, an instant message is automatically sent inviting said person to play, as well as sending a small "game key" file. The invitee then downloads the key via iChat and opens it, which launches the appropriate game and connects them to their opponent. No fuss, no muss.

For those times when one isn't able to play an entire game in one sitting, Big Bang Board Games offers an amazingly simple play-by-email (PBEM) mode. The user simply makes one click in any of the games' radial menus, which brings up the PBEM window. The player then titles their game, enters their email address along with their opponent's address, and another click later the selected game fires up Mail and composes an email to the invitee. Attached to each email is a game file for each turn. One need only double-click this file and make their move. The game then automatically directs Mail to create a reply email for the next turn. BANG! It's just that easy. This is an excellent option for Tic-Tac-Toe, as I find that I rarely have time to concentrate on an entire match in just one day.

Graphics: Award Winning Pedigree
Last year at Apple's World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) Big Bang Chess dominated the Apple Design Awards by winning top honors for "Best Mac OS Mac OS X Technology" and "Best Mac OS X Product". All of the Big Bang Board Games are based on the original Big Bang Chess, so needless to say they're each visually beautiful and easy to navigate. The board and piece sets are rendered in OpenGL, complete with shiny surfaces and soft reflections. Each game boasts mythological pieces, such as Pegasus shaped Knights and bow-wielding Pawns. There is also a traditional wooden piece sets, with pointy-headed Bishops and whatnot.

The game backgrounds are a unique sun and moon motif that changes depending on which player is winning. For instance, if black is winning, the sun is pushed aside by the moon. BBBG also offers nice UI elements, like arrows that highlight legal moves, or previously made moves. Of course, we hardcore chess fanatics can disable these visual cues.

Sound: Not Bad
From an aural perspective, Big Bang Board Games won't rock anyone's socks, but who cares? These are classic board games, not Unreal Tournament 2004. The games' built-in music is rather Legend of Zelda-esque. While it is charming, it's nothing I want on my iPod. BBBG has integrated iTunes support, allowing users to pipe in their favorite playlists. Still, one could just launch iTunes, but I digress.

Conclusion: Buy Me
Big Bang Board Games is the pinnacle of classic gaming bliss. With such amazing multiplayer functionality, rich visuals and wide variety of game choices, this suite is definitely worth $24.95.

Now I leave with a bit of Simpsons three classic board games played on the Simpsons. The first person to answer correctly wins their very own copy of Big Bang Board Games. Please send all entries to

• Awesome UI
• Excellent Multiplayer Support
• OpenGL Visuals

• Tic-Tac-Toe is Pointless
• Not Enough Monkeys

Big Bang Board Games
Publisher: Freeverse
Download Big Bang Board Games Demo
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