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!

 

Scrabble: Word-Lovers Everywhere Unite

Scrabble is one of those board games that you just have to own. Whether you’re an English major who’s about to publish your second novel or you’re someone who hasn’t cracked open a book since high school, you’ll love the classic wordplay that comes with Scrabble. With countless online variations of the game, Scrabble has cemented itself in history as a board game that challenges the mind and will have you reaching for the dictionary.

Collecting the Tiles

Scrabble is played with a checkered game board and little wooden tiles with letters from A – Z. Players draw seven wooden tiles at random from the bag, taking turns by using these tiles to lay down words on the board. In order to determine which player goes first, players will have to each draw a tile at random from the bag. Whoever gets the tile closest to the beginning of the alphabet gets to begin.

In order to earn points in Scrabble, you’ll add up the number of points of each tile you play. Each letter has a certain number of points that you earn when you play it, which usually get higher the more difficult the letter. For example, the ubiquitous E will earn you only one point, while the quixotic Q gets you a whopping 10 points. 

There are also different numbers of each tile in the bag based on how frequently the letter appears in language. You’ll find eight tiles of common vowels such as O, six tiles of consonants like R, but only 1 of the elusive Q. While you may want to collect common letters in order to boost your chances of spelling words with many letters, collecting the more challenging tiles may ultimately earn you a higher score.

Racking Up Points

The key to winning this board game is being able to navigate collecting special bonuses on the board while denying your opponents the opportunity to do the same. The board is set up with individual squares that contain special bonuses such as double word score, triple letter score, and even the rare triple word score. You’ll want to lay down words that make the most of these tiles without setting your opponents up to do the same.

For example, you may find that you can earn a nifty 15 points by spelling out a certain word that uses the double letter space. However, this would leave the next player to then take advantage of the double word space nearby, which would likely blow your score out of the water. Although you can’t see your opponents’ tiles, it pays to keep an eye out on the board to prepare for anything.

Players will pull tiles from the bag to replenish their hand back to seven tiles after each time they play a word. The game ends once all of the tiles have been drawn and the last player plays all seven tiles. Beware of holding on to high-point tiles, however, as any tiles left over in your hand by the end of the game will be deducted from your overall score.

Scrabble Expansions

The basic game of Scrabble is a staple of countless households throughout the world, but there are a few expansions and variations of the board game that switch up the rules. Scrabblers is a board game that comes with double and triple letter tiles that you use to form words. This means that, in addition to single letter tiles, you’ll be using combinations like “BL” or “STE” to make even longer words.

This expansion board game can be used on its own or with the original Scrabble board game. It comes with six different ways to play the game, including a Solitaire mode that can be played alone and a Boardless Crossword mode.

Scrabble: Better Grab the Dictionary!

Scrabble is playable by 2-4 players, so it’s best for small groups or families. It’s suitable for ages 10 and up, so kids can definitely join in on the fun. Playing time lasts around 90 minutes, although it can be shorter if you put a time limit on turns.

Buy Scrabble today and enjoy the mind-bending fun of wordplay!

 

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