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Subject: Typo Review rss

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Mitch Willis
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Kathleen
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Overview
Typo is a card game for 2 to 6 players that I can best describe as a cross between 6 Nimmt! and Scrabble. It was designed by Corné van Moorsel and is published by Cwali. In this game, you try to play cards from your hand, forming potential words, while avoiding taking cards as a penalty. Each letter card has a point value assigned to it which counts against you if taken when penalized. The player with the least amount of penalty points wins the game.

Out of the Box
The game comes in a plasic card container with 64 cards (representing each letter of the alphabet from A to Z) and a small rulebook. Play time is listed as at 30 minutes; our games thus far have lasted a little longer. The artwork on the cards is functional and informational. There is no theme.

Set Up
Set up is quick and simple. Deal out 12 cards, face down, to each player. Then deal 4 cards face up, forming a display of 4 rows in the middle of the table; each face up card begins as the first card in its respective row. A dictionary needs to be handy; initially, the person randomly chosen to start the game will be given the dictionary.

Game Play
During a turn, players will select one of the letter cards from their hand and place it face down in front of themselves. Once this is done, all players flip up their cards, revealing them simultaneously. Players then play their cards against one of the face up card rows. This is done alphabetically to begin with; players playing an ‘A’ would play their card before players with a ‘C’. Card play alternates in the second round; for example, a player with a ‘Z’ card would play before a player with an ‘S’. If two people play the same letter, the person sitting closer (clockwise) to the keeper of the dictionary plays first.

When playing a card against a row, you must play your letter either at the beginning of the row or at the end, and pronounce a word beginning with those letters; if you can do this successfully, the added letter stays on that row for the next round. For example, say you played an ‘A’ and the cards in the four rows were ‘APP’, ‘GAI’, ‘ADO’, and ‘ZER’. You’d have at least two valid plays; you could either place your ‘A’ after the ‘APP’ and say “APPARITION” or you could play it before the ‘GAI’ and pronounce “AGAIN.” If you have a card that won’t form a potential word in any row, you have to take every card in the longest row, with each card’s point value counting against you as penalty points. The card you could not play will now be the first card in the row you just cleared. When a player is forced to take a row, the dictionary is passed to that player.

As in Scrabble, you can challenge a word; the keeper of the dictionary will look it up and if it’s not listed, that person must clear the longest row and take an additional 2 penalty points on top of that. However, if it is listed, then the challenged player gets 2 positive points. Once each player has played all cards, that round is over. All penalty points are totaled and recorded. All cards (except for the ones in the display rows) are shuffled and dealt out for the next round. The game ends after the second round, and the player with the lowest number of penalty points over the 2 rounds is the winner.

Strategy
While Typo can be a very random and chaotic game, there are a couple of things you can do to increase your chances somewhat. When possible, try holding on to letters that are more commonly used (‘S’, ‘E’, ‘A’, etc.) until later in the round, since they should be easier to place. Try getting rid of rare letters (‘Z’, ‘Q’, ‘X’, etc.) as early as possible, as they could be disastrous to use later in the round when the display rows will be longer. Even if they don’t play, if you get rid of ‘em early, the rows you're forced to take will be shorter. Also if the rows are getting longer, and there’s only a one or two that you can play against, try to use a letter that will let you play before your opponents. For example, say it’s the first round and your only play is off of a row that reads “APPL,” however you have two cards that’ll play, an ‘E’ (APPLE) or a ‘Y’ (APPLY). You’d want to play the ‘E’ since that would increase your chances. If you played the ‘Y’ and one of your opponents, looking at the same row, played an ‘I’ (APPLICATION), then he/she would get to play before you and you’d get stuck having to take a row; but playing the ‘E’ would allow you to move first in that situation.

Conclusions
While I find Typo to be an interesting and worthwhile card game, especially if you like word games, I still prefer 6 Nimmt!. I always feel like I at least have a chance of avoiding a lot of points while playing 6 Nimmt!, but there are situations in Typo that can often happen when I know I’m going to take it in the shorts. The game is also slanted towards people who have a broad vocabulary, so beware of playing this with English majors. Even so, the game is educational (you’ll learn new words), has some tough decisions to make, and has its fun moments as well. It might go down a point with further play, but since my wife likes word games and will play this one with me, I currently rate Typo a 6.
 
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Dave Wilson
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Pleasanton
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Just a quick comment: This review is of the Cwali Games edition of Typo. It's useful to point out that these rules are different from the University Games edition of Typo.

I wish I knew why the rules were changed.
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Mitch Willis
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Kathleen
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daw65 wrote:
Just a quick comment: This review is of the Cwali Games edition of Typo. It's useful to point out that these rules are different from the University Games edition of Typo.

I wish I knew why the rules were changed.


Thanks for pointing that out. Can you expand upon the rule changes???
 
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Dave Wilson
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The University Games rules were covered in this review
 
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