The inventor of Bananagrams, Abraham Nathanson, developed the idea of this game with support from his family. The thought behind the name is such that, it is an 'anagram game that would drive you bananas'. The basic idea behind the game is to arrange one's tiles into meaningful words faster than the opponents. Another specialty is that the tiles are packaged into unique banana-shaped pouches.
Did You Know?Bananagrams has won many awards, which include 'Game of the Year 2009' by TOTY (Top Toy of the Year 2007 award by Creative Child magazine), 'Best Toy Bronze Award 2007' by Right Start Magazine, UK, besides others.
The game was first introduced on a large scale in January 2006 at the London Toy Fair. The banana-shaped pouch consists of 144 square-shaped tiles with printed letters. The game is characterized by its unique variations to basic anagram, which include 'Bunching, 'Dumping', 'Splitting', and 'Peeling'.
Step 1Empty the tiles from the Bananagram kit on the floor or a table, and flip all of them face-down so that the letters aren't visible.
Step 2Each player takes a limited number of tiles depending on the number of players. For 2 - 4 players, draw 21 tiles each; For 5 - 6 players, draw 15 each; and for 7 - 8 players, draw 11 tiles each. The remaining tiles pile up in the center, and are referred to as the 'bunch'.
Step 3Once the tiles are divided amongst the players, each player has to verify the total number of tiles he/she has and say 'Split!'. Once everyone yells this word, all the players can see their tiles.
Step 4Now comes the time to connect the tiles to form words. Either vertical or horizontal connections are possible. The goal is to create words out of all your tiles successfully, without logical or grammatical errors.
If a player feels that he/she has tiles which aren't playable (too many consonants), he can drop these in the bunch, and has to pick 3 new tiles for each tile dropped. But don't forget to say 'Dump' loudly before dumping your useless tiles.
Step 5Once you have finished creating words with all your tiles, you yell 'Peel!'. Be careful so as to check all the words properly before doing this. When a player finishes and says peel, other players must draw one tile each from the bunch.
Step 6If you find it difficult to finish off, check and recheck your arrangement. You can re-frame words by rearranging tiles as you like. Try to find another way out. Find the letters that you need to complete and try replacing them with the letters you are left with. The section below on tips will help you with this.
Step 7Try to use up all the tiles, or the maximum possible. You could aim to reduce your surplus tiles lesser than another opponent. Once you are done and find no more moves, you can give up.
Step 8The player with a finished crossword proclaims 'Bananas' when everyone finishes, and is considered the winner of the game. If there are multiple players with completed crosswords, the first player to complete is considered the winner. Go on playing more and more.
Analyze the letters you have
Once you flip the letters, check for vowels and consonants. If you have less vowels or consonants, dumping is a good idea.
If you have more consonants than vowels, form words that are more consonant-oriented, like, 'gypsy', 'psych', 'rhythms', etc. If it's the opposite case, wherein you have more vowels than consonants, go for shorter words inculcating more vowels. like 'aqua', 'area', 'boogie', 'eerie', 'audio', etc.
The Tough Gets Going
If you have letters which seem pretty difficult to use, think more on them and try as quickly as possible to get rid of them. Do this in the beginning, so that you can wrap up quickly in the end, and finish your tiles.
Build Longer Words
This is a very basic but important tip when playing Bananagrams. Always focus on building longer words, as they provide space and scope to build shorter connecting words.
For example, the word 'DINOSAUR' has four vowels - I, O, A, and U, which can be used to form shorter words using consonants, like 'INK', 'SORT', 'WATCH', or 'RUN', respectively.
Don't Forget to Refer to the Dictionary
If you are playing the game in a very challenging way, always go through a variety of words. A dictionary is the best place to look. You can also refer to vocabulary websites if you like. Do this as much as possible between games so as to improve your vocabulary and do better in future games.
The game is very good to improve your knowledge of words and learn newer words as you play more. The best thing about Bananagrams is that there isn't any age limit to play. Always look at the opponent's words and identify the ones you haven't heard or gone through. Use them in succeeding games. That's how you'll learn more and get better at this game.