Welcome to the website for George Crawshay!
Hi! Welcome to this site of computerised board games. In it you'll find
a random selection of games ranging from the 1960's through to the present
day, spanning a period which, thanks largely to the explosion of inventive
talent in Germany, can truly be described as a golden age for the enthusiastic
You won't find classics such as Chess, Draughts, Backgammon, Othello/Reversi
etc. here. These are all available on many other sites, probably better
made than I could ever aspire to equal.
Nor will you find sophisticated techniques involving sound effects,
3-D perspectives and other similar bells and whistles. Sadly you won't
even be able to use a mouse to press buttons or drag things around on
the screen. The reason for this is that although the games have been compiled
for usage with Windows, all the original programming has been done in
what modern programmers probably call "old steam QBasic". Nevertheless
the programs, which have all been made purely as a hobby, have been enjoyed
by a good number of enthusiasts over the years and I therefore felt it
worthwhile to gather them together in one place.
Most of the programs are for solitaire play against computer opponents.
The exceptions are (a) the deduction games (Black Box, Code 777 and Sleuth)
where you try to beat your own best previous score, (b) the I.Q.Test which
is just what it says and (c) Executive Decision, which is an aid to simplify
- and ensure accuracy in - the rather tedious process of record-keeping
and calculation involved in the play of the game by ordinary humans.
Some of the programs have the rules built in, others haven't, often owing
to the length of the rules. Where possible I provide a short summary which
should be enough for those who don't know them. Otherwise, the excellent
website - amongst others - can usually provide the rules.
So, here is a list and brief descriptions of the games I have computerised
so far. You can download them and see screenshots from the menu on the
This is a fun card game, which in our gaming group we tend to put under the general heading "End-of-Evening games".
The classic by the legendary American inventor Sid Sackson, was my first game computerisation and has been enjoyed by so many gamers that I have lost count. Game rules can be found on several internet websites - and the instructions which you will definitely need for playing the computer version are contained in the short program AINSTRX2. (download the instructions file)
By Eric Solomon, is an engrossing deduction game which I present as either a solitaire exercise or a 2-player. Full rules are given in the program BBXINS.
By John Harrington of Fiendish Games, is an excellent cycle-racing game where you play against up to five contestants. Rules for - and comments/ reviews on - this can be found at several websites; just enter < "Breaking Away" + games > in Google. I am particularly proud of the A.I. in this program as I am usually beaten, which either proves that it's good or that I'm a pretty weak player!
Instructions on the computer version are contained in BWINSTRX.
Also by Sid Sackson, which won a Game of the Year award "way back when", can be played either 1-on-1 against the computer or with human opponents. Rules can be found on the usual Net sites.
(Sackson again) first appeared in his classic book Gamut of Games and bears a close relationship to Can't Stop in the usage of odds against throwing dice totals. This can be played in any combination of up to four human/computer players. This is another of (IMHO) my more successful A.I. efforts. Rules should be available on the Net, but if not I would be happy to oblige if anyone cares to contact me.
By Robert Abbott, is a clever and elegant deduction game for four players, each of whom can see a "code" of three numbers in various colours in front of the three other players, but none of whom can see their own code. The object is to be the first to deduce one's own code from a series of questions and answers. In this computer solitaire version you take the part of the South player and try to work out your code - from answers given in turn by West, North and East - in as few rounds as possible.
This is a rather mind-blowing game of positioning and moving six differently coloured pegs on a circular board according to numbers thrown on six similarly coloured dice. Points are earned by getting pegs grouped together as much as possible, which needs careful attention to initial placement and movement order within a short time limit. Note: not advisable at the end of a hard day. Full instructions are included in the program.
This was invented and produced by St. Laurent Games from California, and was way ahead of its time in its clever simulation of oil market mechanics. Word has it that the two inventors never produced any other games and that they have proved impossible to trace, but this seems odd as some years ago the game was republished in an entirely new format (but with unchanged rules) as McMulti. For lovers of business games this is an absolute must.
David & Goliath
Invented by Reinhard Staupe, is a trick-taking card game with an original twist. There are five suits and players must follow suit if they can. The winner of each trick is the highest card played, regardless of suit. The winner gets all the cards from the trick except the card he won it with. That card is given to the player that played the lowest card (again, regardless of suit). In the case of two highest or lowest cards of equal value, the last of the cards played is the one that counts. At the end of the round players score the face value of the cards in the suits of which they collected only one or two cards, but only one point per card for suits with more than two. The player with the most points after a number of hands wins the game.
A player aid, this Sid Sackson game is one of the best market simulations (IMHO) ever devised, but it does need scrupulous record- keeping and calculation which can be tedious, and any mistakes made during play can ruin a game. With one player or a willing spectator inputting the data supplied by the players, the resultant output in large print on the screen keeps all players informed and saves a lot of time.
A 2-player game of whose origins I'm ignorant, played on any squared grid such as a chess board. It is also known as Critical Mass, as I discovered from a Google search, where it appears in the form of an examination question for aspiring AI programmers. I have played it on a board, but would not recommend that method as it involves an enormous amount of addition and removal of pieces which becomes remarkably tedious! As such, it is ideally suited to the computer. It's a neat idea, anyway.
By Walter Müller is a light horse-racing game for 3 to 5 players with an intriguing moving and betting system combining fun and suspense which I thoroughly recommend. The rules are included in the program.
A stockmarket simulation game of my own invention. My idea was to create a scenario where share prices are driven, as in the real world, by a mixture of rumours and information gathered by the players in the course of the game. Full rules are supplied in the Word document Investor instrux.
Just that, a timed intelligence test - the IQ results are based on the Cattell scale which is probably considered old-fashioned nowadays, but it's still fun to do.
By Alex Randolph is a neat end-of-evening type game in which each player repeatedly races his counter round a 21-space course to pick up a scoring card. Movement depends on throwing up to 3 ordinary dice, and the more dice you throw the faster (exponentially) you move, but if the total of the dice exceeds 7 your counter goes back to the start. Also, if you can make your counter land on another player's, you hitch a free ride in that player's turn. Full rules are in the Word document Kangaroo instrux.
Sid Sackson again, is an abstract card game which has an elegant and clever mathematical symmetry that demands respect and admiration. For a fuller description there is the site http://www.webnoir.com/bob/sid/monad.htm and the precise rules can be found on various sites available on the Net.
A motor racing game from Piatnik, invented by Austrian Gerhard Kodys, which takes place on a race track which is sown randomly with hazards at the start. Every player has three cars and a set of cards marked with the numbers 1 to 9. Each round consists of the players choosing one card simultaneously and then in their turn deciding which of their cars will move. Points are awarded to each car depending on its final position in the race. The effect of the various coloured hazards is described on the screen.
Sometimes described as the forerunner of Acquire, is yet another one from Sid Sackson, published in 1995 in an expanded commercial version by Piatnik called New York. The original rules, which are very simple, can be found in Sid's book Gamut of Games.
Another invention of mine, an abstract game of territorial conquest played against 3, 4 or 5 computer opponents. An 8 x 8 board is filled with an assortment of designs in four shapes and colours, in such a way that each 16-square quadrant has exactly one of each shape in each colour. By judicious use of position cards and battle cards - helped occasionally by a little luck - the object is to gain control of a target number of squares to achieve which you will first need to control enough of one category (a shape, colour or quadrant) to earn the bonus of winning all the remaining squares of that category. Full rules are provided.
A simple family card game for three to six players in which all the cards of an ordinary pack are dealt out and the object is to get rid of all the cards in one's hand as quickly as possible. Failure to play a card costs payment of one unit into a central pot, which is taken by the first player to void his hand. The ultimate winner is the richest player after an agreed number of rounds. Full rules are supplied.
Invented by Jean Vanaise and published first in 1987 by Flying Turtle and subsequently by others, is a share-trading game for 3 to 6 players which bears some close similarities to the seminal Acquire system. Full rules are available on the Boardgame Geek site. N.B. Observant players will note the age of this program as I completely forgot to alter the phrase "computerised for the Amiga….."!
A card game, again from the Sid Sackson repertoire, is in my opinion one of the best deduction games ever invented. The cards represent jewels of four different colours, three different types and three different sizes (i.e. 36 in all). At the start of the game one card is removed from the pack and set aside, unseen by any player. This is the stolen jewel, and through a process of questions and answers the object is to be the first to discover its precise identity. As in the case of Code 777, the computer players do not compete in this one - their function is merely to provide information for the human player to deduce the answer in as few rounds as possible.
I enjoyed Acquire so much that I wanted to explore the possibility of expanding the tableau by a multiple of more-or-less two. So here it is - about twice the number of squares and twice the hotel chains in five levels of luxury rather than three. I've also incorporated a variant which I felt should have been part of the original game, namely that starting cash depends on the total number of players.
With real players and equipment this enlarged game could well be rather tedious, but on the computer it works fine. Anyway, that's what I think!
Take It Easy.
I used to enjoy a party pencil-and-paper game where each player draws a 5 x 5 grid and in turn names a letter of the alphabet which all players have to insert somewhere in their grid. The object is to make 3- 4- or 5-letter words across and down with points awarded according to the number and length of the words. This brilliant game, by Peter Burley and published by F.X.Schmidt, uses the basis of this system, but with numbers on hexagonal tiles and grid. Full rules are included.
Finally, a word about Crude/McMulti. Crude was invented and produced
by St. Laurent Games from California, and was way ahead of its time in
its clever simulation of oil market mechanics. Word has it that the two
inventors never produced any other games and that they have proved impossible
to trace, but this seems odd as some years ago the game was republished
in an entirely new format (but with unchanged rules) as McMulti. For lovers
of business games this is an absolute must. Sadly, I haven't been able
to compile my Qbasic program for this game (perhaps too long and complex?),
but in case anyone is still able to run the raw Qbasic without compilation
I have included it anyway.