When we mentally think of a wishlist for Xbox Live Arcade titles, several board games flow through our heads including Monopoly, Scrabble and basically any other decent Hasbro title. Spyglass Board Games isn't a collection of Hasbro's greatest titles but a package including four classic board games; Chess, Checkers, Mancala and Reversi. Unfortunately, with poor presentation and brain dead computer opponents, this game is only really recommended to those who really want to play chess online against friends via their Xbox 360.
Let's run through the games, Chess is likely to be the game that most people feel familiar with. We're not going to run through the rules of every board game but if you're not familiar with Chess then Spyglass Board Games does comes with a detailed help file on Chess. If Chess isn't your thing then there may be a temptation to pick up this Xbox Live Arcade title for Checkers. Chess and Checkers really are the two standout titles in the package, but the addition of Mancala and Reversi does fill the compilation out a little more.
The single player options in Spyglass Board Games are average and this means the game is solely recommended to those who want to play multiplayer board games. The single player elements for all four games are weak, there is little customisation in any of the games and the package overall feels rushed out and plain. The help files for Checkers, Mancala and Reversi are basic and anyone who seriously wants to learn about the four board games would be best advised looking up the rules on the internet. The lack of options is seriously disappointing. In fact, all you can really do is change the colour of the game board, there are no game options at all which feels like an oversight. The computer puts up next to no challenge and anyone who is seriously good at any of the board games will beat the computer repeatedly and quickly.
One of the most unnecessary inclusions in Spyglass Board Games is Xbox Live Vision support. When playing a game online you can see exactly who you're playing against, which we suppose is so you can read your opponent's concentration level but overall just ends up feeling like a gimmick. You can select a few filter effects such as an underwater effect but the Xbox Live Vision support ends up feeling pointless.
Overall Spyglass Board Games is a tough title to recommend. The single player options are slim so anybody hoping for a challenging game of chess will be left disappointed. The only people we would recommend Spyglass Board Games to would be those who want to play a multiplayer game of chess via their Xbox 360. However, there are already plenty of free online chess games so we'd recommend those over Spyglass Board Games.