Get on Board: Bananagrams

An a-peel-ing and fast-paced word game

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Only good things come out of a banana peel, especially after all the festive stodge, and that includes the frantic anagram game Bananagrams.

American graphic designer Abraham Nathanson was, incredibly, 76 years of age when he created Bananagrams in 2006. Evidently bored of the slow pace of traditional word games he set out to make something new, injected with the exciting element of speed for those who love Scrabble but hate the excruciating wait while opponents scratch their heads hoping to uncover something other than a three letter word.

The game comes in a fabric zip-up banana skin and consists of 144 letter tiles, which are placed face down in middle of the table. Depending on the number of players, each participant takes a certain amount from the pile and the game can begin. Flipping over the tiles, each player must work alone to create their own unique crossword and use up all their tiles.

It’s not as simple as it sounds. The first person to complete their crossword must shout “peel”, following which every player must take another tile from the pile. The word grids do not have to stay put and can be moved around at the player’s desire. If a player is stuck, they may shout “dump” at any time and discard a single tile back into the pile, but taking three more in return. The game finishes when there are fewer tiles left over than players and the first person to complete their word grid shouts out “bananas”.

Bananagrams has a few other variations of play to keep things fresh for continuous play. Suitable for up to eight people, it can be played by anyone of reading age. Although slightly trickier for younger kids, there is a variation that simplifies the game, with players using up a limited amount of tiles.

With its quirky and compact packaging, Bananagrams is the healthy convenience food of the table-top gaming market. Portable and lightweight, it’s the perfect game to shove in a backpack with little risk of anything getting damaged in transit.

Unlike most word games where you play for points, Banagrams has a more relaxed approach, making it a-peel-ing to people of all abilities rather than just the seven letter showoffs.

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Interact: Responses to Get on Board: Bananagrams

  • Samuel
    11 Dec 2018 18:10
    Nice review!

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