Whenever someone says “word making game”, Scrabble comes to mind, right?
When I was a kid, I can remember my parents playing Scrabble with their friends for hours. My brother and I would watch or team up with Mom or Dad for a while. But we never watched or played the game to the end, it just took too long to take turns let alone finish the game.
Bananagrams is different. Similar to Scrabble with the fun word building but different in that there’s no board and gameplay is a lot more fast-paced.
Bananagrams is recommended for ages 7 and up and we totally agree. Spelling is an integral part of the game although new spellers will benefit from playing as Bananagrams is great to use to teach spelling. The game is easy to play, durable (it’s only letter tiles), and super compact making it great for travel.
- Meant for 1-8 players but plays best with 3-5 in our opinion.
- Takes 15-30 minutes to play.
- Teaches spelling and vocabulary.
- Game components include 144 letter tiles and a small yellow banana shaped carrying case.
The game begins with all 144 tiles (the “Bunch”), letters facing down, spread in the middle of the table. Players then select some tiles (the number depends on how many people are playing). When everyone has their tiles a player shouts “Split!” Each player then turns over their tiles and play begins.
- There are no turns in Bananagrams, everyone plays simultaneously.
- Each player tries to build a crossword-style grid of words with their letters.
- If someone manages to use all of their letters they shout “Peel!” and everyone has to pick up a tile and try to work that letter into their words.
- A player can put a letter they can’t use back in the Bunch and shout “Dump!”. Then they must take 3 different ones from the Bunch to try to use in its place.
- The game continues until the tiles in the Bunch fewer than the number of players.
- The first person to manage to use all of their letters (once the Bunch is depleted) shouts “Bananas!” as the winner.
The winner’s words are then inspected by the other players. If they find fault with a word it’s considered a “Rotten Banana” and the player is kicked from the game. All of their tiles go back to the Bunch and play continues until someone successfully uses all their tiles with proper words and spelling.
- It’s fast (15-30 minutes) and easy to play.
- The gameplay is exciting (no waiting for turns), competitive, and animated with the shouting component to the game.
- It includes a number of variations for gameplay depending on the number of players and skill set.
- It’s compact size and different methods of play make it easy to play anywhere. It’s a great game to take on family trips!
- There are no cons in our opinion. But, know this game isn’t for really little kids. Tiles are small and could be swallowed.
The Bottom Line on Bananagrams
The game takes under 30 minutes to play and there’s absolutely no downtime! This is what my family loves about the game. Add to that it’s compact size and educational value for kids and Bananagrams is a great go-to game when traveling or just in the mood for a quick fun competitive game.
Other Banagrams Games
My First Bananagrams – My First Bananagrams uses lowercase letters and word building, combination letter tiles to help develop and encourage kids love for word building and word games. It includes multiple activities and mini-games so they’ll have fun playing progressively towards the original Bananagrams game!
Big Letter Bananagrams – The same fun gameplay of the original Bananagrams, but easier to see with 50% larger tiles to accommodate players with low or impaired vision.