Bicycle Limited Edition contains an excellent group of card games that the true card game enthusiast can appreciate. It offers Solitaire, Poker, Cribbage, and Bridge; each is run independently, but with the advantage of a simple, but well-rendered, common interface.
Each game has the same intuitive menu interface, and you can quickly pick up on how to change the various options and setting available to you. You use a point-and-click or drag-and-drop interface, depending on the game. The help system is wonderful; if you don't know how to play a game, or can't remember the rules, the help system can teach you what you need to know. Before playing Bicycle, I didn't even know how to play Bridge, but it taught me the rudiments well, and even suggested a good book to learn more.
The Solitaire game is fantastic. You can choose from 49 different games, and the program even groups them into categories from Easy to Hard to Favorites, so you can choose the type of game you want - easy to win or challenging and tricky. With all four programs in the series, you can control your background colors and sound. In some solitaire games, you can control options to the games, if the rules allow. All you have to do is check the Options section of the menu. The statistics are pretty complete, including information on number of games played and how well you are doing overall. You can even save games or game sessions in progress! About the only things I would have added would be an Autoplay feature once you know you have won, and some sort of notification once you had made a move that stalemates the game. Other than that, I really enjoyed these versions of solitaire.
The Poker game was equally well done. Each player brings different skills and habits to the table. The instructions are good for beginning poker players, so even novices like me can enjoy the game. However, it seems to be complex enough, with two poker game variations, to entertain even more skilled players. You can vary the wild cards, betting limits, and the players. Like all of the other games, you can also save games and sessions in progress, which is a feature I found really useful. You don't have to give up on that winning streak just because it's late at night.
The Cribbage game is a good version; and, unlike many versions, it offers two variations (duplicate cribbage and losing cribbage) for some variety. The great thing about playing versus the computer is that it keeps count of everything. When you are trying to learn to play, this can be a wonderful teaching mechanism. It also offers hints, which are usually pretty good, although experienced players might want to trust their hunches at times. The computer is a savvy player, which gives skilled players a challenge, while the hint system allows even beginners to have a chance to win.
Bridge turned out to be quite a bit more like Pinochle or Hearts than I had thought. I had never played Bridge before, but the game has good instructions, and it scores for you, as well as providing hints if necessary. If you are familiar with the hand play in Pinochle or Hearts, the basics of Bridge won't be that hard to learn. For experienced Bridge Players, it seems that you have access to the normal features of Contract Bridge, but you don't have to worry about the little details, like scoring, because the computer tracks it all for you. I found that trying to figure out the auction and scoring was difficult, but friends who know how to play Bridge assured me that these are also some of the hardest things to learn when playing Bridge with live opponents.
Each game was quite enjoyable to play. The game-playing interface was extremely well done. I had no problems at all with installation, running the programs, or learning how to play. All I had to do was sit down, choose a game, and play. It wasn't even as hard as hunting around the house to find a deck of cards. I didn't need to find an opponent, and I didn't have to shuffle or deal the cards! All in all, in Bicycle Limited Edition, SWFTE has produced a real winner in both playability and entertainment value.
Bicycle Limited Edition is a compilation of 4 Bicycle card games on one CD-Rom. Both the DOS and Windows versions run directly from the disc. The Windows version creates a program group on your computer with a link to each game. The games included are:
How to run this game on modern Windows PC?
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