Crazy Nick's Software Picks: Laura Bow's Parlor Games
Crazy Nick's Software Picks: Laura Bow's Parlor Games is a strategy video game developed and published by Sierra On-Line in 1992 for MS-DOS. It was part of the Crazy Nick's Software Picks series of budget computer games, as well as the Laura Bow series. This particular title includes a rendition of 28-tile dominoes and yacht (essentially Yahtzee). Each features a few game play variants. It was created using the Sierra Creative Interpreter engine.
I wasn't aware of this game when it came out, but I was familiar with Crazy Nick's Software Picks: King Graham's Board Game Challenge because it was included with the King's Quest: Collector's Edition my cousin got in 1994. Years later, while looking through old DOS game collections, I learned there was a series of games like this, but I wasn't very interested in them since they seemed to just be renditions of games I was already familiar with. In May of 2020, after downloading a collection of SCUMMVM games, I decided to try out some of the titles I never had a chance to play just to see what they were like. I started playing this one first since I hadn't played dominoes in a long time, and I wanted to learn more about the Laura Bow series. I first played dominoes on beginner difficulty and beat the AI on my first try. I jumped directly to expert and beat it on my first try as well! Then, I tried yacht, which I assumed was going to be a card game, but it turned out to just be a rendition of Yahtzee. I started at expert difficulty and, due to the random nature of the rolls, and the fact that I'm not as familiar with the game, it took me about five tries before I beat the AI on 2020-05-29.
I don't own this game, but I have beaten it.
Best Version: DOS
— This section contains spoilers! —
- The game competently enforces the rules for the games, and also includes variants which you can adjust in the settings.
- I like how Laura Bow emotes how she's feeling during particularly good or bad moves.
- The AI isn't particularly bright. I'm not a very good domino or Yahtzee player, but I was able to beat the expert difficulty AI in both games without much trouble.
- Although the games have a couple tunes and sound effects, it would have been nicer if there were proper background music.
- I would have appreciated a little customization to the game play. Perhaps different types of dominoes and dice as well as alternate backgrounds.
- The yacht background is pretty hideous.
- Although it would have been trivial to implement, the game doesn't support two-player mode.
The box art is about what you would expect from a budget release: garish. It has some basic drawings of dice and dominoes, a couple screenshots, and bright eye-catching text.