Spectrum, Color, and Colorblindness

Since color is an essential mechanical element in the Spectrum system, it bears thinking about how the system might accommodate those who have difficulty distinguishing colors. The answer is: more readily than you might think.

Among the rules tweaks being added to the new Spectrum Prime document is a sidebar addressing these concerns. The most direct of them is actually the easiest to deal with. There’s nothing intrinsic about “yellow” that says “infiltration, stealth, and information gathering,” for instance. The colors can readily be remapped by players who have trouble with one or more of the extant colors on the action chart. So long as all players at the table are clear on which colors correspond to what roles, it’s not a problem: the column headers on the action chart are left blank in order to allow specific campaigns to rename them with setting- or genre-appropriate labels, and a quick color notation can handily be added in this space as well.

Notation of dice has received a slight adjustment, both to streamline rules discussion and to distinguish dice from different columns: instead of the traditional D (for die) present in the abbreviation, use R, Y, G, B, or P when talking about dice of specific columns. While at first this might seem to contradict the previous point about reassigning colors to the five roles, the standardization of these color codes to the columns facilitates communication about what types of die you mean. No matter what color or name you’re using for “fighting stuff” in your specific game, you know that 2R8 always means using two eight-sided dice for those actions.