Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bananagrams--Scrabble From a Banana

Bananagrams  is supposedly one of the hottest games for the 2009 holiday season.  This was a little surprising to me; from its name I thought maybe it was some kind of weird fruit telegram. 

What is Bananagrams?  Imagine if scrabble had fewer letters and happened all at once.  And also came packaged in a zip-up vinyl banana.

You play it by putting down all the little letter-squares face-down on the table.  Then everybody grabs some.  How many?  Depends on how many people are playing.

Then somebody yells "Split!" and everybody flips their tiles over.  They all start putting their tiles together to make words, and the first player to run out of tiles wins.

Of course it's not quite as simple as I’m making it sound--otherwise the games would last maybe a minute, and your little ADD dumplings would hate you for getting them such a lame gift.

But it's not an uber-complex game, either.  There are only 144 letter tiles, so it's not like you'll be spelling "Mary Poppins" with them.  Unless of course you get "Bananagrams Jumbo".

Everybody turns their tiles over and gets to work.  There are a few variations on this theme, to keep things from getting too booring.  The games last several minutes--long enough to keep'em out of trouble, short enough that they don't start throwing game pieces.  Fun for the whole family!

Bananagrams was designed so that basically anyone who can read, can play.  Which means it's a great game to have when you end up watching your sister's kids and the neighbor's kids and your stepdaughter and her cousin's and your wife's ex-inlaws' kids who she still talks to even though she doesn't talk to her ex, that are all different ages.  

Not that I've ever found myself in that situation.  But if I did, I would want a game like Bananagrams..  Or for that matter, Scrabble Apple or Pears in Pears (two other word-fruit-salad games).

There's even a book called, you guessed it, BananaGrams! The Official Book.  I haven't read it yet.  But I've got this feeling that I'm going to.

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