If you wish Scrabble was faster, you will love Bananagrams. It is like Speed Scrabble, or playing Solitaire Scrabble with friends. Confused? You won't be for long, read on and you will learn pretty much all you need to know about this fun and exciting board game.
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Bananagrams was invented by Abraham Nathanson of Rhode Island, with the help of his family. The name itself came from the family playing this game.
As they played they dubbed it 'the anagram game that would drive you bananas', and so the name Bananagrams was born!
Bananagrams went public in 2006 and became an almost overnight success, due in part to the clever packaging — the game tiles actually come in a banana that zips — and the fun and fast pace of the game.
It is often classed as a board game (although it doesn't have a board), but you can also play it online at Facebook, Bebo or My Space.
The game can be played by 2 to 8 players of varying ages. Children ages 8 and up do quite well at it, but younger children who have begun reading can also play this game with a little adult help.
Like Scrabble you form words crossword style on a grid. However, unlike scrabble instead of playing off a board and everyone playing off one grid, you simply make your own grids with your own letters on a hard surface such as a table top. The first person to arrange all his letters into a grid wins.
How To Play Bananagrams
Playing Bananagrams is fairly easy as far as the rules go.
Players start by drawing a set number of tiles. 1-4 players draw 21 tiles, 5-6 plays 15 and more than 6 plays draw 8 tiles. You keep these tiles face down in front of you until one player (anyone playing) yells "Split", and then you all flip your tiles over and begin to form words into a grid with the letters in front of you.
The first person to use all his letters in a grid pattern then yells "Peel" and everyone draws a new letter from the pile whether you have used all your available letters or not. This new letter tile then has to be used in the grid.
In order to fit in the new letter you can change words around to form new words, add on to the end of a word or do whatever it takes to use all your letters.
When, once again, someone has used up all his available letters that person yells "peel" and again everyone draws a new letter from the pile. Play continues this way until all the letters from the draw pile are gone, or until there are not enough letters to go completely around the table.
If at any time, you simply can't fit a letter anywhere in the grid, you then yell "Dump!" and you may get rid of one letter back into the pile. However, you have to then draw three letters to replace the one you got rid of.
The first person to use all his tiles completely yells "bananas" and he wins the game providing all the words in his grid are legitimate words.
One popular variation of the rules calls for a set number of rounds. At the end of the round each player's unused tiles are counted and tallied. When all the rounds are completed the person with the lowest scores wins.
Bananagrams On Facebook
Bananagrams on Facebook is a great way to get an introduction to the game. You can either play alone and try to beat your best time, or play with others. The solo game is quick, only taking a couple of minutes as you only have to arrange the initial 21 tiles.
While this isn't quite like playing with other people, it will give you practice in getting that first grid formed quickly. Once you get good at the solo game be sure to invite friends to play along with you.
Also if you want to try out the board game version of Bananagrams before actually purchasing the game you can play the game using your Scrabble tiles (but just remember that there are only 100 Scrabble tiles and there are 144 tiles in Bananagrams.)
Hints For Playing Better
Like every word game there are a few strategies that will help you become a better player at Bananagrams. Here are a few tips you might find useful...
Take a few seconds to look over your initial 21 letters and perhaps even form them into words before putting them on the grid. That way you won't be stuck with a Z or Q and no place to play it.
If you can't play a letter one round, wait another round or two as you may draw a letter that goes perfectly with that letter and won't be stuck drawing extra letters.
Also remember that dumping late in the game could result in 3 hard to place letters rather than one.
Try to play the longest word possible on your first couple of words as this will help to ensure that you have more places to play off. For example, if the first word on your grid has 7 letters, that will allow you to play more words off it than you can a three or four letter word.
It really doesn't take long to get the hang of playing Bananagrams and you will soon become addicted to this game's fast paced and fun play. Whether you play at home with the board(less) version or play online it is a great word game with lots of challenges.