APART from chess, converted board games don't usually sit very happily on the home computer, partly due to the difficulties of squeezing the playing baord and other game paraphernalia on to a small screen and partly due to the problems of getting the computer to perform as a worthy opponent. Scrabble De Luxe is a notable exception.
Although Scrabble has appeared on a number of other micros, there is no doubt that the game board and pieces have never been better displayed than in the Amiga version. Board and tiles are large, clear and pleasant to look at - no squinting or reaching for the magnifying glass.
Two to four players, human or computer-
At lower skill levels, it is programmed to achieve around 150 points in a two-player game and will only access a sub-set of its dictionary. At the higher levels, it will search the whole dictionary and is tuned to reach an average of over 300 points.
Players can progress without any time limit, but you can make life harder for your opponents by setting the clock option. This will restrict the time allowed for each move, between 30 seconds to five minutes - the snag is that the limit also applies to you. When your time is almost up, the clock starts flashing an alert. There is no audible warning - indeed, there is no sound at all in this version.
You may elect to view the computer's thought process: This lets you see the word, value and possible position on the board currently under consideration by the computer.
At your discretion, the tile racks on the right hand side of the screen may be hidden so that only the current player's main rack will be displayed at the bottom of the screen. In this case, other players must avert their eyes - another drawback to converted boar games.
Options available during the game from pop-down menus - and, in a few cases, by keyboard command - include being able to obtain a hint from the computer, pass your turn by, juggle the letters in your rack, change tiles, force the computer to move , and display the tile distribution and the values of the tile set and premium squares.
One good feature is that uncompleted games can be saved for later resumption, but it is a pity that saves always have to be to the program disc: Try removing it during play and replacing it with a blank for saved games and the program crashes with an error.
Two other small criticisms of what is otherwise an excellent conversion: The mouse pointer seemed a mite sluggish for my taste and the options to see the computer thinking, hide the racks, set the clock on and off and change skill levels are only available at the start of a game and cannot be altered once you've begun.
The computer plays a mean game, particularly on the higher levels. I never knew there were such words as qua, zatis, zoeae, govim and filet. There is no doubt that the game's finest feature is the huge vocabulary of two to four letter words - and their extensions - and the program's speed of response.
Scrabble De Luxe is an attractively presented and stimulating program. Any word game aficionado will return to time after time. Playing a tough, ever-