How to Play Bananagrams
How to Play Bananagrams
Bananagrams is a fast-paced, competitive game with similarities to both Scrabble and Boggle. The game progresses without turns as in Boggle, while each player builds his or her own interlocking, Scrabble-type crossword.
- Unzip the banana-shaped pouch and dump out all of the tiles onto a flat surface such as the floor or a table.
- Flip all of the tiles face down, so no letters are visible.
- The number of tiles each player takes is determined by the number of people playing the game. For 2-4 players, draw 21 tiles each. For 5-6 people, draw 15 tiles each. For 7-8 people, draw 11 tiles each. Group the leftover tiles into a middle pile or “bunch”.
- Once everyone has counted out his or her tiles, say, “Split!” This is the signal for everyone to flip over his or her tiles.
- Arrange your tiles into an interlocking crossword. Tiles may connect vertically or horizontally, but not diagonally. The goal is to create complete words out of all your tiles.
- Note: If you have a tile you do not wish to use, not enough vowels, too many consonants, etc., try “dumping”. Place the single tile you are dumping back in the bunch, exclaim, “Dump!“, and draw out three new tiles.
- Once you have finished making words with all of your tiles, yell “Peel!” (It’s always a good idea to double-check first to make sure all your words are valid and spelled correctly.) Everyone must draw one new tile from the bunch.
- Work in the new tiles. Tiles can be moved, rearranged, rotated, etc. In the example to the right, the player has a newly drawn T. By replacing the D in FOOD with the T and creating FOOT, the player was able to place the D at the end of TIE to make TIED, effectively using all of his or her tiles.
- Continue playing in this manner until all the tiles in the bunch have been used or the number of tiles left is fewer than the amount of players. At this point the player with a finished crossword, proclaims “Bananas!” He or she is the winner!
- Flip the tiles over, mix them up in the center of the group, draw new tiles and play again, and again, and again…
You can also play Bananagrams with Scrabble tiles. The banana sack provides a colorful, compact way to carry around the game however.
- With an exceptionally large group of people (more than eight) it’s fun to use two bananas worth of grams in order to avoid overly short games. Of course you will get all your tiles mixed up if you choose to do so. (It’s probably wise to sort them back out.) There are 144 tiles in each banana distributed like so:
- 2: J, K, Q, X, Z
- 3: B, C, F, H, M, P, V, W, Y
- 4: G
- 5: L
- 6: D, S, U
- 8: N
- 9: R, T
- 11: O
- 12: I
- 13: A
- 18: E
- Be sure to “dump” your letter far away in the pile so you don’t pick it up immediately when you “peel”.
- Bananagrams is a great game for all ages since it focuses on arranging all the letter tiles as opposed to use of the rarer letters or word length.
- Try creating a crossword with all the tiles!
- You can also play themed Bananagrams, in which all the words played must relate to a central idea.
Two letter words like “qi”, “it”, and “oe” are useful placeholders for letters until you can work them into a larger word.
- While it is easier to think up smaller words, longer words provide more opportunities for building.
- An effective strategy is to “peel” at the highest velocity possible. An influx of new tiles may stymie your opponents!
- Players are not allowed to trade tiles, no matter how much they would like to.
- “Dumping” towards the end of the game is not advised as you are likely to get a very nasty set of tiles that others have gone and dumped before you.
- Projectile shooting of other people’s crosswords with tiles is also not allowed in traditional Bananagrams.
Edit Things You’ll Need
- Two players
- Bananagrams or Scrabble tiles
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