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A word boardgame with lettered tiles

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It'll Drive You Bananas!

  • Dec 28, 2009
  • by
I’m obsessed with this game. If you haven’t heard of it or played it, you probably live under a giant yellow rock! Bananagrams is basically scrabble minus the board, pencil, paper, and points.  After I got it, I found out that the game has been massively popular throughout the country, winning award after award as “the best game” around. Not only is it a fun word game, but it’s cleverly marketed and packaged. The little tiled letters fit neatly into a yellow fabric banana pouch (perfect for travel) to allow for quick clean up after composing quick, impressive words.
Instructions and game commands include plenty of snarky banana-related verbage in order to reinforce the banana theme and drive home the relaxed, non-scrabble approach. There are 144 letter tiles included in the game, aptly called the “bunch”. All of the tiles are placed face down on a table, each player (2-4) blindly selects 21 letters from the “bunch” and attempts to arrange tiles into intersecting words faster than their opponents and be the first to deplete the remainder of the “bunch”.  The first to use all of their letter tiles in “real” words (this is where fights occur) after someone shouts the last “peel” command, wins!
Instructions also suggest a variety of different ways to play the game, making it ever-changing and exciting. Game versions include “Best of 5”, “Solitaire”, “Banana Challenge” (words must be three letters or longer), “Banana Café” (play in restaurants while waiting for service), and “Banana Smoothie” (for less hectic play).  One of my favorite incarnations is the category version where you pick themes such as food, movies, animals, etc., before play starts. It makes the game much more difficult, challenging, and creative.
As with most social games, Bananagrams pairs well with a social gathering.  For larger groups, teaming up usually works quite well at allowing everyone to play. The trick is not to become tied to any one word, sometimes moving letters around opens up new opportunities to use your 6th letter “T” or your 3rd “Q”.
It’s a great game to play with friends or family, and never gets boring. Each game is usually quite fast compared to regular board games (max 20 minutes) and makes it easy to play for a couple of rounds, or over & over again all evening long.
The best part is that it’s also very affordable at around $15. A great stocking stuffer and gift for all ages, and a fantastic way to exercise your rusty vocab skills!

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February 02, 2010
it's nice to be able to gather friends or family around. As far as I know, the only game that's been successful in Asia to do so is the Mahjong Tile Game.
December 29, 2009
I just got this game, and I have to agree. It is so much fun. We have 3 kids - ages 6, 8, and 9. And they all love it, although we've had to modify it slightly for the 6YO (team play, help, etc.). It's a blast.
December 29, 2009
I am such a Scrabble addict, I'll definitely have to check this out. I really like the idea of playing with categories such as food, movies, animals. For me this certainly beats sitting in front of the TV or playing a computer game! 
December 29, 2009
Definitely! It's fun without being too time consuming or complicated. Have you ever played Catch Phrase? That's another great one.  
More Bananagrams reviews
review by . November 02, 2010
posted in Healthy Lifestyle
   If you are looking for a fun game that is portable and versatile, look into Bananagrams which has become our family’s favorite game. We’ve hauled it to two different states, introduced it to two additional state dwellers who visited and got hooked, and played it internationally with a visiting German student. The game is simple. Think individual Scrabble "boards" (without the board, tile holders or points), for each player, with the added benefit of playing with …
review by . January 17, 2011
Bananagrams Review - An easy fun word game for all ages
I recently tried a new game called Bananagrams. I doubt I would have bought this game because my husband always beats me at Scrabble, but my daughter brought Bananagrams home with her on a recent visit so I thought I would give it a try. Even though it is a word game and a lot like scrabble for some reason I seem to be able to beat my husband at this one. It is a versatile game that can be adapted to people of all ages and abilities to make it fun for all.  Click here to read my full review …
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Bethany ()
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Hello Lunchers!      I am a contributing writer foran onlinelife and style website that highlights hot-spots in Minneapolis and Chicago. As such, I frequent many new boutiques, restaurants, … more
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Bananagrams is a word game in which lettered tiles are used to spell words, designed by Rena Nathanson of Cranston, Rhode Island. Nathanson conceived and developed the idea for the game with the help of her family. The name is derived from the founding family's claim that it's the "anagram game that will drive you bananas!" Beginning as a family innovation, the game was made available to the public in January 2006 at the London Toy Fair.


The object of the game is to arrange one's tiles faster than opponents and be the first to cause the pool of unused tiles to be exhausted. The tiles come in a pack that is made to look like a banana in its peel. Bananagrams was listed as a must-have, one of the top ten best travel game and has been listed as a best-seller among toy and gift retailers.


The game consists of 144 lettered tiles that are placed face-down on the playing surface so that all the tiles appear identical. A similar number of tiles are picked by each player, who turn the tiles over to see the lettered side. Each player begins arranging the letters to form words. When a player uses up all of his or her tiles, he or she calls out "peel," and each player must choose a new tile from the pool of remaining tiles, called the "bunch." The name "Bananagrams" is a play on the word anagrams, as one must often rearrange the words one has already formed in order to allow newly chosen lettered tiles to be placed ...

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Board Games, Scrabble, Word Games, Boggle, Travel Game, Anagram, Bananagrams, Drinking Games


Category: Board Games

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