Competitive games that require memory work and decoding
June 2, 2019 9:18 PM   Subscribe

Youngest needs to work on decoding and memory work for her dyslexia. She has a very high memorised vocabulary and is competitive so we need something that works on speed so not Scrabble-type apps. I'm getting Zingo, what else would work? I would love physical games, not apps. Games she can play with a parent where luck is dominant or the other player can be handicapped to make the game equitable are better. She has a stack of math-skill games already.
posted by dorothyisunderwood to Shopping (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
posted by wowenthusiast at 9:25 PM on June 2, 2019

Kid level escape games often contain both of these elements.
posted by unstrungharp at 9:26 PM on June 2, 2019

Best answer: Codenames is a great game that might fit your description -- it's not timed by default, but to play the game you have to hold all the words on the board in your head at once and think about them.
posted by value of information at 9:37 PM on June 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Bananagrams might fit your bill, it's physical and frantic and you can handicap yourself.

App-wise, if you end up thinking one might be useful in a waiting room or something, there's something called Alphabear 2 that isn't too microtransaction riddled and has timed levels.
posted by foxfirefey at 10:25 PM on June 2, 2019

This is an app but otherwise I think it could possibly serve well. It's based on the British game show Countdown, and you're given 30 second to make the longest words you can from a bunch of letters. You get to choose how many are consonants and how many are vowels. Fun and addictive. They have a math version too. The pretty lady off to the side is one of the presenters and she's some kind of crazy polymath genius.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:55 AM on June 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

Second Bananagrams - it's speed-Scrabble except you can rearrange letters/words at will and there's no inherent bonus for using particular letters/long words, you just have to use all your tiles.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:11 AM on June 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

Boggle sounds great to me; each game is quick, a race against time, and there is an end-of-game score-tally so you could devise a handicap so she can compete with parents, then when she gets ten wins (or five consecutive wins or whatever works) she could achieve a Level Up (a point off the handicap).
posted by anonymisc at 11:20 AM on June 3, 2019

Two card games to check out:
Word-Around - disc-shaped round card, words of 6-10 letters are arranged in a circle, no scrambling of the letters it's readable in order you just have to figure out where to start, first to read the word collects the card, collect 10 cards. Fast, but they're not easy words; no easy way for adults to handicap except to just not shout out the moment you see it, but it's low-overhead easy to learn the game, so I'd give it a shot.

Quiddler is a Scrabble-meets-rummy card game, no time limits and no handicaps, but the nice thing is that you work up from 3-letter words to longer words as each round gets one more card in your hand. Luck won't help if you don't have the vocabulary to back it up, but adults getting bad luck does handicap some.
posted by aimedwander at 12:05 PM on June 3, 2019

Response by poster: She loves Codenames Duet so much, we've played it a ton. Banangrams is great, I'm waiting for our set to arrive on order. We played at the local gaming cafe and sadly for my reputation there as a parent, I answered her question "Can I play any word?" with yes, and her first choice was 'fucker' and it devolved from there. She did get in "queereyes" and was given a gold crown to wear as a reward for the rest of the afternoon by one of the staff for being so cute, also a JVN fan.

I'm introducing games every two weeks or so from a long list and rotating so she has time for the novelty to wear off and then come back. I have Word-Around on order, and Quiddler for later.

Other big successes so far: Sleeping Queens was great for introducing just straightforward card playing and is now her simple card game that she plays with her friends. We have learned to play Crazy Eights with regular cards and introducing little variations and she's having fun with that.

Pop for sight words is good, but only with a friend at similar reading speed where they get to go fast and shriek at each other. I used a toothbrushing timer for speed dashes, but it was still less fun. Same goes for Sight Word Swat - way more fun with a friend at the same level. Definitely would be great in a classroom. I bought a Cat-opoloy set as a treat and that has actually turned out better than expected. 'Real' monopoly was too dull for her, but somehow turn them into cats with the same game mechanics and rules, and she's willing to read the cards and plan the letterboxes and fish bones and count money. A game will last 45-70min.

She also likes a DK The Best Maths Games book that I got which is just math-themed board games. They are pretty basic, but seem to be at the K2-Gr2 level variably - you can make them more or less complex and she will still pull them out. The other big non-words winner but great for concentration and strategy is Kingdomino. The extension/variation is Queendomino. She's getting her own copy next, after we played it all afternoon at the cafe. You sort of build a set of 5x5 tiles in turn trying to maximise your points but the little kingdom tiles are super cute with tiny sheep and sea monsters and you get to annoy the other player by snatching the forest they wanted. I also love our ancient copy of Klutz's the 15 greatest Board games - out of print, but I think still the best of their collections.

I also have one called Rhyme Out which looks really good, but she's been so cat-opoly obsessed. And I will say since I cleared out the shelves for the gaming sets and the coffee table next to it, and made it a rule that she plays games before any TV etc, she has taken to playing card or board games almost every single day and now checks to see I have a pack of cards in my bag when we go out.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 11:30 PM on July 12, 2019

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