Longman Software
Trevor Green
1985
Educational
£9.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

32
Chris Bourne

At first sight Snaffle begs to be compared with ' Scrabble' so I shall. Both games use a store of letters from which the players draw a selection, the object being to form a word with the letters so drawn. With 'Scrabble' each player starts with seven letters and refills after a round of play but in the case of Snaffle the players can pick from a common pool of letters that is added to one letter at a time. When any one of the players spots a potential word he keys in his 'pick key' to tell the program that he is ready to make a word.

The main feature that Snaffle offers is the ability to take another player's word - I know that because that's what snaffle means (though not necessarily a word of course). That's not really so different from 'Scrabble' because you could always add your letters to another player's word and get his score as well but with Snaffle life is a little easier in so far that a player who uses another player's word really uses the letters of that word mixed up in any order. For example if a one player has a word such as 'cat' and the letters 'T,O,N,E,M,P,L,' are in the pool, a lesser player may decide to draw the letters from the pool to make the word 'temple' but a really mean player would immediately notice that the letters in the pool would combine with his opponent's 'cat' to make.... 'contemplate' . One word of warning to the meanies among you, the rules state that a player can only snaffle another player' s word if the new word has a different base, in other words it's not done simply to append a chaps word with -s or -ed. The tasks the computer has to perform are to shuffle the letters to be presented and display them. It will judge an entered word in a much as it checks to see if the letters used are in either the pool or in another player's corner. When it has found the letters it will transfer them from the pool (and/or another players corner) and add them to the appropriate comer.

The machine then gives the other players an opportunity to allow or reject a word. On the scoring side marks are awarded according to the length of the word formed, bonus points are given if a word is made by snaffling another player's word. If one person enters a word that the other players decide is not kosher then the offender will lose points and this is also the case should an over-eager player enter his 'pick ' code and then realise that he can' t make a word after alt.

CRITICISM

'Certainly Snaffle can be considered as a good wholesome family game, there still aren't thousands of those about for computers. 'Scrabble' has certainly marked out a patch as one of the most popular board games so I can see no reason why Snaffle shouldn't find equivalent appeal. The games are very similar except that the facility to use another player's words, mean as it is, does add that little something. My main concern is that I found the game very easy to cheat at, especially if you are playing against non-computer experts, like the dog. I kept rejecting Poddy's words and he finished with a score of -10, it all happened so fast he hadn't a clue where his words where going. Seriously though, the problem with using the system adopted of allowing the players to pull letters from a common pool, is that a player is forced to make short three letter words before the next player does. Good solid words can only be formed by snaffling other players' words, with my family that would end in tears. I realise that a spelling checker would be out of the question on the Spectrum but it was a pity that the computer couldn't be left to judge the legitimacy of the words. The input system and the graphics worked well but there's nothing flash or clever about either.

COMMENTS
Control keys: as allocated to players
Keyboard play: responsive
Use of colour: minimal
Graphics: adequate
Sound: not lavish but useful
Skill levels: 1
General Rating: A similar game to 'Scrabble' that has been transferred well to the computer.

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