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Bananagrams

BananagramsIf you like Scrabble, you will LOVE Bananagrams. But even if you hate Scrabble, you will still like Bananagrams. This is a fast and fun word game. It doesn’t require pencil, paper or board. All you need is a table. One hand can be played in as little as five minutes. It is a great for family fun as well as being educational.

The Bananagrams game comes with a pouch. This makes it perfect for travel. Just grab the pouch and go. Unlike Scrabble, which can be slow at times, Bananagrams is fast moving. It’s simple enough that kids 5 year old and up can play. Yet, it can be made hard enough to keep adults busy.

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How To Play Bananagrams

First, flip all of the 144 tiles face-side down. They are all pushed together into a “bunch”.

Next, each player draws a number of tiles depending on the number of people playing the game. For 2-4 people, 21 tiles each. For five or six players, 15 tiles each. For seven or eight players, 11 tiles each. Once all the players have drawn their number of letters, any one says, “Split!” Then every play starts flipping letters and creating words.

The words created must connect and intersect in a manner similar to a crossword or as is familiar in the game “Scrabble”. When a player uses up all of his or her letters, he or she states, “Peel!” Then all the players must draw another letter. Players can rearrange their letters as often as they like, even letters they have already placed. (If you draw a “Q” and you need a “U” that is in the middle of another word, it can be pulled out as long as the resulting recombinations ultimately form words.)

If a letter is drawn that seems impossible to place, a player may call out “Dump!” and exchange this letter for three others. No other player should take a tile on a dump.

Play goes on until there are less tiles in the bunch than there are number of players. Then the first person to use all of his or her remaining letters says, rather excitedly, “Bananas!” This person will be the winner of the “hand” if all of his words check out. All of the players now inspect the “winning” hand. Each word is scrutinized for legality. A legal word is one found in a dictionary (the volume should be agreed upon in advance). There is no penalty for challenging a player’s word. If an illegal word is found in the played “hand”, that player is declared a “rotten banana” and is out of the hand. His tiles are returned to the bunch, and play is resumed as before.

Each hand may be its own game or players may wish to keep track of the number of hands won and play to a certain number of victories.

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