Bananagrams – a crossword tile game you can play everywhere with anyone


Bananagrams is a word game that uses letter tiles – 144 unusally finger-friendly, bakelite letter tiles. It will remind you of other letter-tile word games, many other letter-tile word games, until you actually read the rules (which are simple enough to summarize on the 1×2-inch tag that is attached to the banana-like zippable package).

word-familyBasically, you draw a bunch of tiles and try to assemble all of them into a crossword array. If you succeed, you draw more. That’s about it, basically-wise. The full rules are a bit more complex. Players all get the same number of letter tiles, the exact number depending on the how many are playing. They race to assemble all their letters into a crossword. As soon as one player succeeds, she calls “peel,” at which time every player has to take a another letter tile. And so it goes, on and on, until almost all the letter tiles are used up. Naturally, the first player to have used all her tiles shouts “bananas” (if she still has the presence of mind to remember), and wins the game.

Everything about Bananagrams is Major FUN, the quality of the tiles, the portability and storability, the adaptability and flexibility. Because the game is so simple to explain, it is also simple to change – to adapt to different skill levels, different environments and time constraints. Read, for example, Lance Hampton’s exemplary story of how he plays Bananagrams with his kids. We’re working on variations for teams, and maybe even cooperative versions.

The Nathanson family, Bannanagram designers, comment:

“Obsessed by all the word games that could be found, we all hankered after something a bit more fluid than the classics we all love and wanted a game that the family could play together – ALL ages at the same time. We sought something portable, that we could take with us on our various travels and simple enough (with no superfluous pieces or packaging) that we could play in restaurants while waiting for our food. We love that one hand can be played in as little as five minutes, but as it’s so addictive, it’s often hard to put away!”

If you like playing with words, it’s very likely that you’ll be taking a banana-case full of Bananagrams with you everywhere.

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