# of players: 1-8 players
Play time: 20 minutes and up
Recommended age: 7 years and up
Style: Tile game
We have owned Bananagrams for some time, but I have hesitated to play it with the kids until they were more confident in their spelling skills. I don’t think I needed to wait. The game works fine for beginners and is great fun as the player’s spelling skills grow.
In the game, each player starts with 11-21 letter tiles (the more people, the less tiles for each person). From those tiles, players work individually to build their own crossword. There are extra tiles in the middle of the table called the “bunch” and play continues until there are fewer tiles in the “bunch” than players in the game. There are funny words used along the way as you “peel” a new tile or “dump” a tile you can’t use. The game has proven to be a fun diversion from normal spelling lessons.
The challenge of the game depends on the speed of the spellers and the luck of the tiles drawn. If you need to mix things up, there are all types of cleverly named variations like Banana Smoothie, Banana Cafe, Banana Solitaire.
We also have used the same tiles to play Appletters. Appletters is normally played with another set of tiles that are thicker and the letter selection differs between the two games. However, we’ve found Bananagrams works ok to play both games. For Appletters, you start with 8 tiles (like Scrabble) and the first player spells a word and places it in the middle of the table. Now the game differs from Scrabble because the next player can only build off the first or last letter of the played word. Play continues like this extending the “snake” with each new word. For any turn that a player can’t add a word to the game, he/she has to pick up 3 letter tiles from the “apple core.” Play continues until a player uses all of his/her tiles.
Recommended: Yes. So much flexibility of play and words are a treasure to explore.
(Click on the image below to be redirected to the game at Amazon)