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Subject: Spectra Review, written on its public release rss

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Eamon Bloomfield
23569 Lübeck
Schleswig Holstein
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SPECTRA is an ingenious abstract game for two to four players. The board, four spaces by four, is of transparent plastic and so are the 16 pieces which are round discs. One is colourless, five are yellow, five blue and five red. The pieces will stack on top of each other, though the rules forbid piles of more than two. A pile of two pieces therefore can be, in addition to the colours already mentioned, green, orange or purple. For example, a blue piece on top of a yellow makes green.

The board is initially empty, and players take turns to place two pieces on the board. They may be placed on empty spaces or on top of pieces already placed. This play continues until all sixteen pieces have been placed onto the board. Play thereafter is by moving two pieces per turn, remembering that pieces cannot be stacked more than two high.

The object of the game is achieved when one player at the end of his turn has either four of the same colour in a vertical line, in a horizontal line or in a small square.

The Spectra rules I have do not allow stacking of pieces until all sixteen pieces have been played. Unfortunately, this allows a forced win for the second player in the two player game. It is hoped that the rules have now been changed to allow stacking at any time. I suspect that with good play. Spectra should be a draw, with two, three or four players, but in practice there are an enormous number of pos-sibilities and it is difficult to look ahead and see more than a few of them. The constantly changing colours, as pieces are stacked and unstacked, are very attractive, and will appeal especially to children, while adults will appreciate the simplicity and elegance of the game. (The use of the one colourless piece is especially neat—it doesn't change colour itself, but when stacked it makes it more difficult for an opponent to change colours.) Nice one, Airfix.
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