Bananagrams: Quit Monkeying Around!

Bananagrams is one of those classic word games that almost everyone has an edition of sitting around somewhere in their closet. With the trademark little felt banana bag and those user-friendly letter tiles, you can easily mix and match words to create your own crossword and be the first to shout out “Bananagrams!” If you’re a fan of classic word games like Scrabble or Boggle but are looking for something a little more fast-paced, you’ll love Bananagrams.

Arranging the Tiles

Bananagrams is an incredibly simple and fast-paced game that uses small tiles to form words in the shape of a grid. In this sense, it is incredibly similar to Scrabble, although Bananagrams gets rid of the game board and speeds things up by allowing each player to make their own grid. To make their words, players get to use 144 tiles that all come in a cute little bag shaped like a banana.

Bananagrams begins with all of the tiles being flipped and placed in the center of the table. Each player then takes 12 tiles and begins arranging them into words in the form of a grid, similar to the way a crossword is set up. Once a player uses up all of the letters in their bunch, they shout “peel!” and everyone has to take a new tile from the pool in the center.

If you’re stuck with a bunch of bum letters that you can’t place, then you can dump one of your tiles and draw three more. While this can help you dig your way out of the hole, beware! You may only find yourself deeper in the pit with more tiles you can’t use. Once the pool in the center of the table is almost empty, then the first person to use all of their tiles shouts out “Bananagrams!” and wins the game.

Variant Rules

Bananagrams is incredibly simple, with hands usually taking as little as 5 minutes. However, there are different variant rules within the game itself that you can use depending on where you are and how complex you want the game to be. The Banana Smoothie of the board game gives everyone their own bunch of tiles right at the start of the game, dividing it equally among everyone. This allows you to plan out your whole crossword right at the beginning.

The Banana Cafe version of Bananagrams is meant to be played in public when waiting for service. Players play with 21 tiles and are allowed to dump tiles and draw more if they need to, but they don’t have to “peel” and force anyone else to draw more tiles. You can also play the Banana Solitaire version of Bananagrams to play the game all on your own, competing against your own best time.

Bananagrams Sequels

There are several sequels to the original Bananagrams board game that allow you to play it with new and complex rules. Bananagrams Duel! turns the board game into a two-player word game that uses both letter cubes and Banana cards. Players use any side of their 12 letter cubes to try to create a crossword grid, competing for Banana cards to see who can win the most rounds.

Bananagrams Party adds 14 more “party power” tiles to the original game. These tiles range from The Re-Gifter to The Thief to Switcheroo, with each giving you a special power to use against your opponents. Bananagrams WildTiles adds 6 wild monkey tiles to the game, each of which can be used as whatever letter you like. This is similar to the wild tiles in Scrabble, which can help you make a new word when you can’t seem to find the letter you need. 

Bananagrams: Wordplay Never Tasted So Sweet

Bananagrams is playable by 1-8 players, so you can easily play it with the whole family or just on your own when you’re killing time. It’s suitable for ages 7 and up, as anyone can grasp the simplicity of the rules. Playing time lasts around 15 minutes, although you’ll definitely be playing best of 5 or best of 10.

Buy Bananagrams and add this classic tile game to your collection of word games!

 

Takenoko: It’s Hungry Hungry Pandas

Takenoko is a board game that shines with its cute backstory and beautifully painted game pieces. The pastel-colored pieces of bamboo and the adorable little panda figurine more than set the stage for this fun and strategic board game. 

Players will have to balance growing bamboo and tending to their garden if they want to feed the hungry panda and win the respect of the Japanese Emperor. If you’re looking for a game that’s as aesthetically pleasing as it is mentally intriguing, then you’ll love Takenoko.

Growing Your Bamboo Garden

Takenoko has a colorful backstory and setup that paints this board game amongst a beautiful backdrop. Years ago at the Japanese Imperial court, the Chinese Emperor offered the Japanese Emperor a symbol of peace: a giant, cuddly panda bear. The Japanese Emperor has entrusted you, the members of his royal court, with the task of caring for this sacred animal and feeding it from the bamboo garden.

There’s just one problem: the panda is hungry beyond belief! Players will have to work with the help of the Imperial gardener to maintain the bamboo garden and grow enough to satiate the panda and win the game. Each player is given their own player board and one of each type of playing card with which to grow bamboo, irrigate, and feed the panda.

On every turn, you’re given the option of choosing two of five available actions as well as rolling a wooden die to determine a random third action. One action is to place a tile in your bamboo garden, which helps make it bigger so that you can grow more bamboo. You can also move your Gardener any distance within a straight line, allowing him to lay down bamboo throughout your garden to grow.

You can also choose to lay down blue irrigation channels along your garden, supplying the bamboo with water to help it grow even further. In order to feed the panda, you can choose the action of moving the panda any distance in a straight line, feeding the panda with the piece of the bamboo on which the panda lands.

Collecting Target Cards

The last action you can choose to take each round is to collect a target card. Players will begin the game with three target cards that assign them various goals for earning victory points. These can be things like arranging tiles of a certain color in a particular way or even growing bamboo of a certain color to particular heights. More difficult goals result in a higher amount of victory points when achieved.

Takenoko ends once one player has successfully completed seven goal cards. Once this has been achieved, that player will lay down the goal card, and the players will continue until the last player has finished their turn. The player with the most points is then crowned the winner of the board game.

Takenoko Expansions

There is an expansion of Takenoko called Takenoko: Chibis that adds a second female panda to the mix. But with more pandas comes more mouths to feed, so you’ll have to contend with not only mama panda but nine different baby pandas as well! 

Takenoko: Chibis comes with a miniature female panda, nine baby panda tiles, as well as new plot tiles, cards, and bamboo pieces. The addition of extra pandas to the game makes this expansion a bit more fun and complex than the original.

Takenoko: You Won’t Like a Panda When He’s Hungry!

Takenoko is playable by 2-4 players, as it only comes with up to four player boards. This board game is well-suited for one on one games as well as small groups, as the turns go relatively fast. It’s suitable for ages 8 and up, so younger players should be able to quickly pick up the rules. However, it does come with a cute little comic that describes the backstory of the game as well as provides a refresher on the rules.

Playing time of Takenoko lasts around 45 minutes, so you should get a decent amount of time to dive into its world. Buy Takenoko today and enjoy the cuddly cuteness of this hungry hungry panda!

Concept: The Guessing Game Of Icons

Charades is one of the most popular party games for a reason–people love guessing games that force us to rely on deductive reasoning in order to win. The board game Concept takes the guessing game nature of charades and incorporates iconography for an even more high brow party game. 

You’ll be scratching your head as you sort through the different illustrated icons on the board, trying to piece together what on earth the moon, a rabbit, and a drop of water could possibly have to do with each other. Concept is the board game that will keep you guessing long after the game is over.

Choose Your Concept

Concept uses a large game board filled with 124 different icons that are used as clues throughout the game. Each round sees one pair of players draw a Concept card, which has on it nine different words or phrases. There are three difficulty levels on each card, ranging from easy to challenging. The pair who are giving the clues each round will choose one of the 9 words on the card to use for that round.

Players are welcome to decide at the beginning of the game which difficulty level they want to use or to give free rein to the clue givers as to which word they choose. If you’re an avid fan of deductive board games and you’re looking for something a little more challenging, it can pay to go for the more complicated guesses.

Laying the Clues

Once the pair has selected their word, they’ll start laying out the clues. Concept comes with little colored figurines that signify each clue. The primary clue piece that defines the overall category of the concept is in the shape of a green question mark, while the four subsequent clue pieces are in the shape of four differently colored exclamation points.

You can supplement each of your primary clues with more tokens, which come in the form of little cubes of corresponding colors. These can help you flesh out the clue and lead the other players to guess correctly. For example, if your concept word was “hammer”, then you’d place the green question mark on the icon for “tool”. You might then place additional green cubes on icons such as “metal” or “wood”. 

Guessing Game

The rest of the players will try to guess the word or concept on the active team’s card, earning tokens for correct guesses. If you are the first to guess correctly, you earn a double scoring token. The pair that gives the clues will also each get a single scoring token if someone else guesses their clues correctly.

Concept gives players free rein in that there is no time limit to each round. Players can take as long as they like to try and guess, and the clue givers can start over from scratch if they prefer to take another route. The round ends when either someone guesses correctly or everyone decides mutually to pass. The winner of the game is whichever player collects the most tokens once all of 12 double tokens have been given out.

Concept Kids: Animals

Concept is a fun and challenging board game that can confuse younger players under 10. To make the game accessible for younger players, they’ve released a sequel called Concept Kids: Animals that offers animals to be guessed instead of more complicated words or phrases. This version is suitable for ages 4 and up, allowing little kids to learn deductive reasoning and cooperation.

Get Your Thinking Cap On with Concept

Concept is playable by 4-12 players, making it an excellent game for parties or family gatherings. It’s suitable for ages 10 and up, as you can decide on different difficulty levels to accommodate the age of the group. Playing time lasts around 40 minutes, although you can always choose to shorten it by playing fewer rounds.

Concept is a board game that really requires you to get inside the head of your fellow players. You’ll need to understand how their brain works if you want to be able to connect the dots from A to B. Trade in charades for something even better and buy Concept today!

 

Azul: Channel Your Interior Decorator

If you’re a fan of art or interior design, then Azul is the game for you. Set in the lavish palace of King Manuel I of Portugal, Azul puts your interior decorating skills to the test to see who can build the best pattern for the palace walls. You’ll have a blast with the delicate, intricate little tile pieces as you pick and choose which ones will help you make the best design. An expert combination of aesthetic appeal and complex strategy, Azul is a masterpiece of a game.

The Beauty of Azul

Perhaps the best part of the game of Azul comes from its origin story. Azul is based on azulejos, which were white and blue ceramic tiles introduced to Spain by the Moors. When the Portuguese King Manuel I was on a visit to the Alhambra palace in Southern Spain, he couldn’t help but be captivated by the beauty of these dazzling tiles.

In fact, he was so overcome by the beauty of these azulejos that he instantly ordered for his own palace back home in Portugal to be decorated in the same way. This is where our game begins, as you the player become the tile-laying artist charged with embellishing the king’s royal walls.

Collecting the Tiles

Azul is incredibly simple to learn, setup, and play, so you’ll be able to dive right in. Players start with their own individual boards and scoring markers. A ring of discs sits in the center of the table, each holding four randomly drawn tiles and one white tile for players to choose from. Players will take turns pulling tiles from one of the discs and adding them to their boards.

When you select the tiles, you must choose all of the tiles of that color from the disc to add to your board. You’ll fill in each row of your board with one color at a time. If the row is full by the end of the round, then you can move it onto the patterned scoring wall on your board.

Building Your Pattern

This is where the game gets interesting. You get to choose how you place the tiles to decorate the palace, with certain patterns and sets scoring you extra points. This part of the game allows your inner artist to come out as you try and earn as many points as possible while still building something of beauty.

Beware of taking tiles you cannot use, however, as this will harm your score. If there are no free rows in which to place your tile or you’ve already completed a row with that color title, then you’ll earn negative points. 

The key to the game is to make sure you’re able to fill the rows on your player board while planning out your long term strategy for decorating the palace. The game ends when the first player completes an entire row in their patterned scoring wall.

Azul Spinoffs

Azul has two spinoffs that have similar gameplay but employ different yet equally beautiful components. Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra turns you into a window-builder as you craft an elegant stained glass window of your own design. This game comes with beautiful double-sided window panels that offer an infinite number of potential combinations.

Azul: Summer Pavilion tasks you with decorating the king’s summer pavilion, a task which was never actually completed in real life. This spinoff offers a bit more complexity to the game that can make it a worthy upgrade for fans of the original Azul.

Azul: Embellish To Your Heart’s Content

Azul is playable by 2-4 players, so it’s definitely best for small groups or for one-on-one games. It’s suitable for ages 8 and up, mostly because of how simple the game is to play. However, it’s definitely got enough complexity that adults won’t tire of it.

Playing time for Azul lasts 30-45 minutes, which allows you to get a hang of the game in case you’re interested in playing multiple rounds. All in all, Azul is the kind of game you’ll want to play multiple times in order to nail down your winning strategy. Buy Azul today and let your artist be free!

 

Sorry!: It’s Parchisi with a Wicked Twist

Sorry! is one of those board games we all grew up playing as little kids. But like most classic board games, its popularity has endured because of its ability to be played over and over again without losing its shine. Sorry! is a primarily luck-based game that is simple enough for the youngest of kids to understand and enjoy. However, there are several ways to make the game more complex for adults to enjoy it even more with or without the kids.

Following the Path

The goal of the game Sorry! is to move the four pieces of your color from their starting circle to the end of their path along the board. Each player starts with four pieces of a certain color on their starting space. To get one of your tokens out of your home space, you have to draw a card with either a 1 or a 2 on it. Players will go in turns drawing cards and moving their tokens.

One of the twists of Sorry! is that many of these cards allow you to do more than just mindlessly move your token forward. You can often move your piece either forwards or backwards when you pull the “backward 4” card, which gives you greater control over making use of those helpful slides.

Certain areas of the board contain slides, which allow you to skip past many spaces and jettison your token closer to the end. If your token lands on one of these slides at the end of your movement, then you can travel down the slide to the next available spot. You can only travel down slides that aren’t of the same color as your token, however. And if there’s another player sitting on one of those slides when you take your ride, you get to boot them back to the start.

Say You’re Sorry

The most diabolical part of the game Sorry! is also where it gets its namesake from. While you’re not allowed to block other players’ pieces from passing yours, you are allowed to interfere with them on certain occasions. If you end your turn on the same space as another player, you can say “Sorry!” and send their piece all the way back to the start space.

You can also do the same when you pull the special Sorry! card, which allows you to jump your piece to the spot of one of your opponents and kick them back to the start. This makes the game much more competitive while also giving players who are falling behind the opportunity to get ahead.

Sorry Spinoffs

Sorry! has released many spinoff games throughout the years to make the original game a bit more challenging. Simon Sorry! combines Sorry! with the beloved game Simon Says to create one unique board game. Players will use an electronic game unit that lights up in a specific pattern, which they will then try to repeat. If they get it correct, then the unit will tell them how many spaces they can move across the board.

Sorry! Not Sorry! is an adult party version of the original board game that allows you more opportunity to sabotage your friends. Not only can you steal their pawns, but you can also use the “Not Sorry!” cards to force them to expose their wildest secrets.

Sorry! It’s All In Good Fun

Sorry! is playable by 2-4 players, so it’s definitely better for smaller families. It’s also suitable for ages 6 and up thanks to its simple gameplay and easy setup. Playing time lasts around 30 minutes, which is short enough to hold younger players’ attention. Sorry! is the perfect game for introducing young kids to board games.

Sorry! can also be made more complex for older players by adding a bit of strategy to the game. While pulling one card at a time means you’re depending on luck to help you win, pulling five cards at a time gives you more control over fate. Adults who want to make the game a little harder can make this change to incorporate strategy into the game by deciding which card to play.

Buy Sorry! today and you won’t be sorry!

 

Break Out the Pen And Race Against the Clock With Telestrations

Nothing livens up a party like Telestrations, a drawing-based game that will have you scratching your head and asking, “Is that supposed to be a cat or a pony?”  While charades has been a time-honored classic for parties, Telestrations gives it a run for its money by adding a unique premise and a more complex method of gameplay.  Telestrations’ simplistic set up and gigantic supply of secret words to draw from will keep you playing this game for years to come.

Sketching The Secret Word

The game begins with each player being given his or her own drawing book, marker, and a card with a list of secret words.  A player then rolls a die to determine which of the six secret words each person has to sketch, and players have 90 seconds to draw that sketch to the best of their ability.  You’ll have plenty of opportunity to sketch, however, as the books get passed back and forth from one player to the next during each of the three rounds.  

Getting Creative

While you may think that the best artist in the group is going to have the upper hand, this isn’t always the case with Telestrations.  One of the most fun elements of the game is the way it allows for endless creativity, forcing players to come up with creative and unique ways of depicting their secret word.  You may not be a Picasso, but that doesn’t prohibit you from coming up with some pretty funky drawings.  You may also end up winning points simply by appealing to sense of humor of the player making the guess, so know your audience!

Guessing Game

Telestrations puts a fun and unique twist on this guessing game that makes it much more interesting than charades.  Instead of each person having to guess what one player has drawn, each player will pass his or her book to the left for the next player to guess.  Once each player has finished writing down their guess, players pass the book again to the next person, who will then draw the word that the previous player guessed.  This back and forth of guessing and drawing continues until each player ends up with their original book.

Awarding Points

The person who wins the game isn’t always the person who was able to draw the best.  At the end of each round, each player is given three points to award.  The first point goes to whichever player drew their favorite sketch.  Whether it’s the funniest sketch, the best-drawn sketch, or even the worst-drawn sketch, each player gets to choose their favorite according to their own rules.

The second point goes to whichever player made their favorite guess.  This can just as easily go to your savvy sister who guessed correctly as it can to your clueless aunt who was way off base.  The last point is awarded to each player if and only if the final guess corresponds to his or her secret word.  The final winner is whoever managed to win the most points throughout the three rounds.  With the potential for endless creativity and comedy, you’ll be sure to enjoy Telestrations regardless of who wins.

Sketch Against The Clock With Telestrations

Telestrations is suitable for ages 12 and up, although you can definitely accommodate younger kids by using simpler secret words to guess from.  Telestrations can be played by 4-8 players, which is great for parties or large families.  Because game time only lasts around 30 minutes, it isn’t too big of a commitment.  The flexibility of how many rounds you play allows you to stretch or shrink Telestrations to whatever length you prefer, making it a versatile game that can fit any kind of party.

The biggest thing that makes Telestrations stand out is the fact that it gives you erasable sketchbooks and markers to draw from and unique secret words to choose from.  This makes the experience neater than charades while also retaining the guessing game aspect that makes charades such a widespread favorite.  Give it your best guess, bring out your inner artist, and have a roaring good time with Telestrations!

 

Join Today & Get 15% Off

Join our list for discounts & new product notifications and get a coupon code for 15% off your first purchase.

Cart
  • No products in the cart.