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sam morrison
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Moveable Type is a word game where each player collects letters in order to form the highest-scoring word. I thought it was worth adding some thoughts here as myself and friends really rate the game and the second edition is on Kickstarter at time of writing.



Start of Rounds 1-4
The game is made up of Letter cards (a letter, and a points value) and Author cards - more on those later. It's played over five rounds, and at the start of each of the first four rounds each player is dealt five letter cards, whilst three go face-up on the table: the ‘common cards’. There's now a drafting process where a card is kept and the rest passed to your neighbor, until everyone is protesting with the same degree of indignation at their appallingly bad combination of letters.



Play
Your challenge is to use your hand – plus any (or none) of the common cards – 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. There may be muttering at this point. Players announce when they have a word and when everyone is ready, words are revealed. They can also, at this point, be challenged, so have a dictionary or suitable internety device handy, unless you're playing some special house-rule.



Scoring
The highest-scoring players (beginning with the winner) now chooses two cards from all those played, including the common letters, and place them face-down into their collection – for use in the fifth and final round of the game. The lower-scoring players only get to take a single card. You cannot look at these again until the final round, so remember what you pick!

The Final Round
In the last round, there is no drafting - players use whatever cards they have in their collection, plus of course the three common cards. The winner of this round wins the game!



And so
Throughout the previous four rounds you’re trying to ‘build’ a good collection for the final round – the balance being struck between the easy-to-use but low-scoring letters, and the trickier, higher-scoring ones. The additional challenge of remembering feels like it should be easy - you'll have a maximum of eight cards, often less - but when your brain is juggling the anagrammatic possibilities of eight different letters over four rounds, you can find yourself forgetting what you put aside for later.



Author Cards
Once you've played the basic game it's certainly worth mixing in the Author cards, four of which are displayed at the start of the game to be potentially won by meeting the claim requirement - beating another player's word by 5 points gets you Jules Verne, for instance - and most give you extra letters to play with come the fifth round face-off. One or two have an immediate effect, such as removing cards from each opponents' collection. Feel free to pick your own four and leave dastardly HP Lovecraft out though, if you hate that idea.

Why we love it
Myself and my regular game group enjoy word games a lot and Movable Type, as well as its obvious benefit of portability, is easy to teach, quick to play - with the caveat that you may want a timer for certain players (we tend to tap our cards on the edge of the table in order to be slightly irritating instead) - scratches the word-game itch in spades, and regularly springs surprises: it's quite possible to finish last in the first four rounds, but win the fifth (and hence the game) with a bit of luck in the common card deal. It's also possible - for me, at least - to regularly forget what letters you've taken already, and end up looking at your collection with an expression of bewildered horror.

It's a really lovely game.
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