Bananagrams Rules: How to Play It

Although many games exist that can be played during family time or at a gathering with your friends, a game like this one is not just convenient to keep around but also fun to try your hand at. Bananagrams is a game for all ages and genders.

It can prove as a great brain stimulator as it pushes you to come up with complex and regular words only using a specified number of letters, and that too without the added pressure of keeping score as you have to in scrabble.

Now you don’t have to worry about carrying around or storing away a giant board of scrabble. Everything can be now kept in a small pouch filled with lettered tiles. It is easy to stay at home and even easier to take along on trips. You can use this game to polish your English skills or to help your kids in enhancing their vocabulary.

This game can also prove as a great tool in classrooms to be used by teachers to keep children busy and allow them to learn at the same time. Dive into this article and learn how to play and apply this creative and imaginative game!

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History of Bananagrams

The Nathansons were looking for a game that was portable, easy to play for all age groups in their three-generation family, and exciting and fast enough to keep everyone interested. They hence came up with the game Bananagrams that could be taken on holidays quickly, by just putting all the tiles in a small bag. The game did not need a board, like a traditional game of scrabble and required speed and skill s it would keep the healthy tension and competition going.

How to Setup a Bananagrams Game

Bananagrams is a straightforward game to set up that is great to be played by people of all ages. To set up the Bananagrams Game, you will need tiles with the alphabet written on them like found in a scrabble box. You can follow the given steps below to set up a game to play with your friends!

  1. Pull out all of the one hundred and forty-four tiles with the alphabet on them and lay them out, face down on a desk. This is called the bunch.
  2. Take a number of tiles according to your group size
  3. Two to four people get twenty-one tiles each, five to six people get fifteen tiles each while members of a group of seven plus people get 11 tiles each.
  4. Keep the rest of the tiles, face down, in the middle.

Now you can begin playing according to the given rules below!

The Objective of Bananagrams Game

The objective of the game is to finish up making a grid of horizontal and vertical words as quickly as possible after the leftover tiles in the bunch are less than the number of players playing the game. The quicker you do finish up each of your grids and call to “peel,” the better as it will allow you to win in the end. You can also, however, wait for the rest of the players to finish up the tiles through peeling if you can’t seem to finish your grid instead of using “dump” as that will give you two more tiles instead of one.

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Rules to Play Bananagrams Game

The Bananagrams Game is an ideal game to be played by large families during family time like Christmas or Thanksgiving. The rules to play this game are straightforward and easy to follow. The rules listed below are needed to be followed to play the Bananagrams Game.

Step 1: To begin the game, one of the players yells out, “split.” As soon as they yell that out, all players should turn their tiles over.

Step 2: Each player should then rearrange their tiles to form words in a grid with either horizontally or vertically arranged tiles. Each player should try to use up as many of their tiles as they can.

Step 3: If a player is able to use up all of his or her tiles, they should yell out “peel” and when they do, all players must take one tile from the bunch.

Step 4: If you are stuck, however, you can always call out “dump” and outback one of your tiles, but you will have to pick up three tiles in exchange for that. This act does not affect any other player.

Step 5: The game continues until there are lesser tiles left in the bunch than the number of players. Once that point is reached, the winner has to be decided.

Step 6: The first person to use up all the tiles given to them when the leftover tiles are left less than the number of players calls out “Bananas.” If there are no mistakes in the grid made, then that player wins.

Step 7: If there is a mistake in the spelling of the words in the grid, then that player adds all their tiles to the bunch, and the rest of the players continue the game till a winner is decided.

You can use these rules to guide you in playing the Bananagrams Game effectively and having a fun and memorable time with your family!

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How to Win at Bananagrams

Although the game might seem straightforward, it can become hard and tricky to win, or to even form any words at all! The following tips will help you in getting a good start and working towards your big win.

  1. When you start, make sure you quickly first eliminate the hardest alphabets like a Q or J.
  2. Start off with a bigger word to utilize maximum tiles and give you enough to think over for new words to be built.
  3. Avoid two-letter words as they use the least number of tiles and allow little room for any word inspiration.
  4. Make sure you avoid clumping up all your tiles together, so you aren’t stuck in with no tiles to build on.
  5. Don’t be afraid to rearrange, and don’t let the fast players overwhelm you. Let the inspiration come to you at its own pace.
  6. To prepare, you can always memorize words that can help you win the game as it will eliminate your thinking time.

Family of Bananagrams Game Editions to Play

Classic Bananagrams vs. Double Bananagrams

The classic Bananagrams Game and the Double Bananagrams Game are entirely the same except in the Double Bananagrams Game. There is double the number of tiles than in a regular Bananagrams Game. For the second version, two hundred and eighty-eight tiles are used instead of one hundred and forty-four tiles.

Classic Bananagrams vs. Bananagrams Party

The Bananagrams Party version has the traditional one hundred and forty-four tiles plus fourteen extra party tiles. Each of these party tiles has a specific function that is described in detail at the back of the tile. The game is started as usual, while the party tiles are added to the leftover bunch after all players have been given their rightful number of tiles to play with. Mix in the party tiles with the rest of the bunch and use them up like regular. Each party tile should be used as soon as you draw it, and once the action on the tile has been completed, you should put it away. Only two of the party tiles are used by the player who draws them, all others are challenges for whichever player that player chooses. Given below are descriptions of what each tile means:

  1. P-E-E-L: whoever is chosen, they have to spell out the peel, letter by letter, for the rest of the game instead of saying the word itself.
  2. Flamingo: the chosen player has to stand on one leg for the rest of the game.
  3. Announcer: the chosen player has to announce every word they make.
  4. Single-handed: the chosen player can only use one hand for the rest of the game.
  5. The re-gifter: this allows you to pick any three of your tiles, either from your grid or from your free tiles, and give them to any player of your choice.
  6. Thumbless: the chosen player can’t use their thumb for the rest of the day.
  7. Pouch Head: the chosen player wears the banana bag that the tiles came in like a hat.
  8. Timeout: you can force a player to take a ten second time out with this tile; they have to yell one-banana, two-banana as they go along. During this time if someone calls “peel”, the player still has to draw a tile!
  9. The thief: this tile lets you steal a tile from another player to ruin their grid or complete yours.
  10. Bombastic: there are two bombastic tiles, if you draw only one, you get nothing. If you get both of them together then you can use these to destroy another player’s grid compete so that they have to start over.
  11. Switcheroo: you can choose a player to switch with; you get their seat, their grid, and whatever party tile curse they’re under.
  12. Take a Lap: whoever is given this tile has to take a lap around all the players. During this time if someone calls “peel,” the player still has to draw a tile!
  13. The shield: this tile protects you from all party tiles except Bombastic. However, it can still be stolen by the use of the thief tile.

Variations of a Bananagrams Game

Best Of

Since playing one hand can take very little time, usually, when a small number of players are playing, you can choose to play five or up to ten hands and pick the best to decide the winner. The player that wins the most hands wins the whole game.

Banana Solitaire

This is a one-person version of the classic Bananagrams Game. The player can try to beat their own time used to use up all of the one hundred and forty-four tiles or they can try to make as small a number of words as possible to use up the one hundred and forty-four tiles.

Banana Café

This version of the game involves each player taking twenty-one tiles from the pouch and leaving all the other tiles inside the pouch, turned face down. Each player can proceed to play the game as usual, but no “peeling” is allowed, you can only “dump.” The first person to use you all of his or her letter says “bananas,” and then it can be verified if they won or not. This game is called the Banana café because it is considered ideal to play while you’re waiting for your food in a restaurant or café.

Banana Smoothie

This version is a lot less hectic than other versions of the game. For this version, all tiles are turned face down and divided equally amongst all the players present. Each player then uses up all their tiles o complete their grid, and the first one to do so yells out “bananas.” There is no dumping or peeling involved in this version, as there is no bunch to retrieve from or dump into.

If none of the players can use up all their tiles, then a pre-decided rule can be used to determine the player. Either the layer with the longest word present in their grid wins, or the player with the least number of free tiles left wins. Any other way to determine a player can also be negotiated before the game begins.

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