Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Review: Typecrush

Typecrush, available at, is sure to appeal to word lovers.  When I was thinking about how to describe this game, my first thought was it is similar to Hangman, but more colorful and perhaps more challenging.  Then I thought perhaps it even had elements Scrabble or Wheel of Fortune mixed in. In the end, Typecrush really is what you make of it.  While it has some play suggestions and one simple rule, this game is really about connection and communication.

Typecrush is based on letter frequency analysis.  There are 98, color-coded, 2" diameter circle playing pieces, each with a letter on one side.  Each color represents a level of letter frequency.  For example, the most frequently used letters - E, T, A, O, and N - are blue.  Two 3 1/2" x 5 1/4" cards with the colors and corresponding letters are provided for players to reference.

I always get frustrated with complicated rules and appreciated the simplicity of the How to Play instructions.
1) Spell a word.  Make sure no one sees!
2) Flip the circles to hide your word.
3) Use the letter frequency chart and solve.
The single rule of the game is that whoever solves the word first get to choose the next word.

Typecrush is intended for ages 7 and up; the difficultly is dependent upon the complexity of the word and how you play.  The first time my son and I tried the game, we played it as described in the guidelines. Because my son is a struggling speller, I choose a fairly simply word to start. We eventually modified it by flipping over correctly guessed letters as we went along.  This allowed him to build upon a known letter rather than try numerous letter combinations in his head, which greatly reduced his guessing and increased his confidence.  Then it was my turn. It was much more difficult than one might think! I could see that some changes were necessary in order for this to be fun.

A suggestion given is to choose words from a certain category, e.g. animals or states. You could easily tie the categories with topics your students are currently studying or with vocabulary and/or spelling words. Since we are still on summer break here, we just used fun and random words. (Star Wars theme, anyone?)

One way my son liked to play was as a traditional Hangman style.  The color-coded pieces actually made it easier than regular Hangman, but he liked that each color narrowed down his choices.  While doing it this way may seem too easy for some, it helped him with letter and word analysis, which should be helpful with spelling skills.  For example, if the first letter is B and the next one is a purple letter (R, I, S, H, D), some thinking it through will reveal that R or I really are the only choices.  It is a good way to slow down kids who tend to spelled visually or by whole word, rather than break it down.
Can you guess this Star Wars word?

The game pieces could also be used to build words Scrabble style, perhaps taking turns creating words off of existing solved ones. Or, if you are up for a real challenge, have multiple-word puzzles. How you play is really up to you, since the focus is not about playing the game "right", but interacting with words and each other. 

Worth noting is that Typecrush is handcrafted in the USA and made from 100% recycled material.  While the pieces are made of cardboard, they have a nice feel and weight to them. The canister is small enough to throw into a bag for some easily transportable word fun.

Word-lovers will find Typecrush an interesting spin on some old favorites. and teachers and parents will appreciate it as an adaptable learning tool.  Typecrush can be purchased at for $25.  Each order comes with free shipping and a money-back guarantee.

Read more reviews on Typecrush at Mosaic Reviews!