So grandma gave the family Bananagrams for Christmas this year and it has rapidly become our favorite tabletop family game. Fun to play with just Geek & Dad, and also fun with Mom for a three player game.
The fun part is that we are all about equal in skill so there’s a real challenge for everyone! In this game Dad won, but only because Geek got some tough letters all at the end.
The other thing that helped Dad was that his layout was very spread out and this makes for more places to attach words.
Geek gets some serious “woah” credit for his complex multiword interplay, but in Bananagrams that doesn’t necessarily end up being a winning strategy.
As you can see, Bananagrams is sort of a free-form Scrabble or crossword type puzzle game and it’s all about using all your letters first. However, you keep drawing new letters whenever someone uses up all their letters until there are not enough letters left for everyone to draw – and then it’s next person who finishes WINS!
One tricky aspect of the game is that you can toss back a letter that is giving you a hard time. In the second game we played, Geek used this strategy near the end to foist the Q off on Dad, even though Geek had all the u’s except for one! Very mean, er, effective! 🙂
Here’s Dad’s hand for the second game, and as you can see, all is good except for that darn Q which Dad picked up as his very last letter!!! aarrrgggg!
Now with Bananagrams it’s not necessarily a big deal to pick up a difficult letter because you can tear apart what you’ve built so far and completely rebuild, which is what Dad was about to do after picking up that Q, but then Geek cried “done!” sigh. 🙂
Next you can see Geek’s winning layout here. Got some great words there Geek!
One of the best parts about this game? It was created by a family for their own entertainment and only became a commercial game after their friends urged them to produce it! Indie Dev – non-computer style – bravo! (story here)
Dad really likes the fact that they didn’t go “cheap” with the production aspects of this game. The banana bag that holds the letters is well made from cloth (not plastic) and the tiles are weighty like quality dominoes and feel good to hold and manipulate. A big company might have used light weight plastic that was too easily bumped out of position and felt wimpy and annoying. Not these – very nicely done.
All and all, Bananagrams gets the coveted G&D Recommended rating. 🙂
Update (January 8): so all three of us played using both the standard rules and Bob’s suggested alternate rules and we have to agree that we like his alternate rules quit a bit! Really does encourage longer words and that makes for a nice additional challenge. Here are some pictures of some of the best of the 4-5 rounds we played: