Game Review: Bananagrams

Bananagrams

Bananagrams

This Christmas while shopping I happened across a game called BananaGrams. I ended up buying and giving away several sets, two of which ended up at our house. I was thinking that with our big crew a double set would be needed. But as it turns out, one set accommodates eight or ten people just fine.

The game is like scrabble, but without a board, and without the need to take turns. Each person works on their own little ‘board’, making as many words as possible with the tiles they have. The catch is that every time a person uses up all their own tiles, everyone has to draw another tile! You can rearrange your board as many times as you wish, but speed is definitely rewarded.

The game works surprisingly well for all ages over 7 or so. Even a kid who can only spell short words will have fun trying this game. It goes quickly enough that you don’t get bored. The average round only takes 5-10 minutes to complete, but it is so much fun that most likely you’ll want to play again and again. As a homeschooling mom, I appreciate that kids are practicing their spelling as they play this game. But they’re doing it in such a fun way that they don’t even really realize it.

This game is great– I highly recommend it!

{ 16 Comments }

  1. We play this game using the scrabble letters and call it speed scrabble. Then we add up all the point values on the letters when the game is completed…so the first finisher isn’t necessarily the winner. It is a lot of fun! You could probably make your own version of this by finding old scrabble sets and making little pouches for the letters.

  2. I’m going to have to get this. It looks like something we’d really enjoy playing!

  3. This is one of my MIL’s favorite games. She takes it with her almost everywhere she goes. It’s fun and fast, so she can meet with friends at the local diner, or her favorite people watching place. 🙂

  4. We have this game and love it! Play it all the time. Princess steals it though and takes it with her to friends house – we need to buy another one!

  5. fernk59@yahoo.com says:

    We just gave this game to our kids for Hanukkah–and everyone loves it–our teens even ask to play it with us.

  6. I have never been one for table games but that one looks fun.

  7. We call this speed Scrabble, and just use our scrabble letters. Cheaper that way, two games for one.

  8. I had been thinking about buying this game, your review helped me decide! I love that it is so compact. My Little Man is a little young now, but I think I will pick it up next time I see it. Looks like a lot of fun!

  9. Tenntrace says:

    Since we are scrabble fans at our house, this looks like lots of fun, esp since any age could play. Is there a winner in this game or is it just a spelling free-for-all? Not having any “winners” could be a bonus if you have widely spaced ages playing

  10. The winner is the person who uses up all their tiles first after the draw pile has been emptied.

  11. We LOVE this game! My 6 yo just-learning-to-read son plays with us and we just don’t require him to make “crosswords.” This is my 8 yos favorite game and even my 13 yo who hates board games likes it.

    My kids have come up with other versions: phonetic spelling Bananagrams, any-word-goes Bananagrams, backward spelling Bananagrams and let’s-all-work-together-on-one-big-puzzle Bananagrams.

    I am the fastest at it, so often instead of saying “peel,” I will help the kids out with their puzzles to catch them up. But they are getting very good at finding their own words.

    We also bought two of these for my seventh grader’s LA classroom for Christmas. Her teacher was THRILLED.

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this game!

    Blessings,
    Sandwich

  12. We’re not huge fans of scrabble in our house but everyone loves this game! Like you mentioned it’s faster and it allows play between people of different skill levels. Unlike scrabble, in which there’s always somebody who’s a fanatic who out-argues or out-plays everyone else.
    This game is tons of fun and I’m so glad you reviewed it!

  13. I came across this game a couple of days ago and wondered if it would be any good. Thanks for the review!

    Tania

  14. I know I saw this game in one of the many catalogs I received (and threw away) during the holidays. Did you buy it in a store, and if so, where? Or did you find it online or in a catalog? I’d love to get this!

  15. My husband and I enjoy playing this game when we are camping but we also take it along when we are traveling by airplane or train. It’s quick and easy and compact to carry along. We did lose a few tiles on the airplane though as they fell between the seats. So, keep an eye on your tiles if you do play on a plane!

  16. I played this over New Year’s and it was pretty good. I’d previously learned “Take Two,” a very similar game with scrabble tiles. You just take six or seven or so pieces each, and then wtart with those. When someone has them all arranged, he/she calls “take two” and everyone takes two tiles. The only rule is that you can’t end up with two of the same word, and at the end the winner’s board can be challenged, so everyone finishes theirs up before we look at the person who called done first.

    I love word games, but it’s hard to find people to play them with. I played Boggle at New Year’s, was given the handicap of halving my final score, and they still decided I was no fun to play against.