Your Sinclair1st January 1988
Published in Your Sinclair #25
A Question Of Scruples
It's got to be the best board game of the past year or two (at least since Triv), but does Scruples cut it on the Speccy? And does it matter anyway?
I've spent many a happy evening arguing over Scruples with similarly loudmouthed and opinionated friends. It's really a great game for people who love the sound of their own voice, and who love whiling away an evening arguing fiercely with someone in the reasonably secure knowledge that no-one's going to stick a glass in their face at the end of it. It's based around a series of 'moral dilemmas', questions of choice which you try and answer as unpredictably as possible in order to spark off rows and win the game. For instance you could answer a quezzy like 'A good friend is "in love" and introduces you to his/her lover. You find there is a strong mutual attraction. Do you repress your feelings?' in various ways, from 'Good Lord I wouldn't dream of such a thing' to (in my case) 'WALLOP!' It's all part of the fun and violence in A Question Of Scruples.
This Speccy version has been programmed by Sentient Software and it's really a masterpiece of design. You can play with up to 10 'people', of whom any number can be run by the computer. You have 64 preset characters to choose from, or if you're playing yourself you can take one of the faces and define a character to go with it. As usual the idea is to see if people are lying when they give their answers, and all the original features of the game have been faithfully reproduced. If you want you can even have 10 computerised characters, and just watch them get on with it - although I found that as gripping as watching yogurt go off.
I'm not sure, though, that I really see the point of it all. Though clever and accurate it's still just a computerised version of a board game that doesn't really need computerising. I found it quite hard to remember the characters of the computer's characters I was playing with, so I guessed all the time, challenged endlessly and still won (it's called skill, I believe). Of course, this might just be the game that everybody's been waiting for. It's beautifully done, and reasonable fun in its own right. But for me, I'll stick to the original.
A well thought-out conversion of YS's fave board game of recent years. But do we really need it?