Moveable Type is a word game where each player collects letters in order to form the highest-scoring word.
The deck is made up of letter cards, and at the start of each round each player is dealt five letters, whilst three go face-up on the table – these three are the ‘common cards’. You look through your hand, choosing one card to keep and passing the rest on to your neighbour. This drafting process repeats, until everyone is handed a final card – the five cards they now have make up their hand.
Your challenge is to use the five – plus the three common cards in the centre of the table – to make the highest-scoring word you can. You’ll notice that different letters score different points, although the spread isn’t as wide as it is in Scrabble, with the card values varying between 1 and 5. The player who wins a round will add cards to their caché – letters they’ll use in the final round of the game. They take two cards of their choosing from all those played, including the common letters, and place them face-down. You can’t look at these again until the final round, so remember what you pick! The last player (or last two in a four player game) to pick up (ie the lowest-scoring this round) may only take a single card.
After four rounds being played out in this manner, in the fifth and final round players use whatever cards they have in their caché – plus of course the three common cards. This means that throughout the previous four rounds you’re trying to ‘build’ a good cache for the final round – the balance being struck between the easy-to-use but low-scoring letters, and the trickier, higher-scoring ones.
The game also comes with author cards – Oscar Wilde, Emily Bronte etc – that can be ‘won’ during the course of play by meeting certain criteria with your played words, that then give you some additional letters for your cache..
The player who scores the best word in the final round is the winner.
I’ve only played Moveable Type twice – and was roundly thrashed both times – but I’m keen to play it again. I love the fact you can have a couple of bad rounds but still pull off a winning hand on that last round, and as a crossword and Scrabble fan – albeit not hugely proficient at either – a game about word-making is always going to please me. Love it.
Moveable Type is a brilliantly simple take on the make-a-word card game.
The drafting works really well here, as you can try and gauge what cards your opponent might leave for you. With two players, you’ll end up with three of the five cards in your original hand, so you can (sort of) start planning from the get-go.The author cards are a neat strategic addition – you can deliberately forego winning around to instead fulfill an author card – but if your opponent has the same plan you might both lose out. As a word game fan, this totally hits the spot.
None to speak of.
It is a game with some pauses, and if you work out your word fairly quickly you need to be patient with others who have trickier letter combinations to deal with. Players can also agree to use a timer if everyone's amenable.
Definitely a game for the Scrabble players, as anagramming skills will give you a big advantage! But rules-wise, the brain-burning is entirely absent.
Cards ensure randomness and, for the right crowd, it's a game that we feel will continue to delight over multiple plays.