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How To Play Bananagrams: Bananagrams Rules

Overview

Bananagrams is a fast-paced spelling game played with letter tiles just like Scrabble. The game can be played by up to 8 players which makes it suitable for a game night with your friends. Tiles are shared equally between the players. The number of tiles each player gets depends on the number of players involved in the game. A total of 144 tiles are used for playing Bananagrams. Each player uses their tiles to create a collection of intersecting words just like in a crossword puzzle. The first player to use up all their tiles after the number of tiles left in the Bunch is lesser than the number of players wins.

Objective

Be the first player to use up your tiles when the number of tiles left in the Bunch is lesser than the number of players.

Bananagrams Game Rules

If a player runs out of tiles, they yell “PEEL” and every player including the one that is out of tiles must draw another face-down tile from the Bunch.

If a player has a tile that they are unable to use, they are allowed to “DUMP” it. However, the player must draw three tiles from the Bunch instead of one as a replacement for the dumped tile.

Proper nouns, acronyms, abbreviations are not acceptable.

Any word formed by a player can be challenged by an opponent.

If a winning player has an illegal word in their Bananagrams, their win is nullified and that player becomes a “ROTTEN BANANA” and is out of the game. Tiles belonging to that player are returned to the Bunch and the other players resume play.

Number of Players Needed

2 to 8 players

Equipment

144 letter tiles

Setting Up

The game is played with 144 tiles and these form the Bunch. All the tiles are laid face-down in the centre of the playing surface, and each player draws an equal number of tiles from the Bunch. Note that players must draw the tiles face-down and must not turn them over until the game starts. For a game involving between two to four players, each player gets 21 tiles each. If there are five or six players, each player gets 15 tiles each. For games involving seven or more players, each player draws 11 letters from the Brunch. Once this is sorted, the game can begin.

How to Play Bananagrams

To start the game, one player will say “SPLIT”. This signals the start of the game and every player will turn their tiles over to reveal the letters on them. Each player then begins to form words by connecting their tiles until they are out of tiles. If a player runs out of tiles, they yell “PEEL” and every player including the one that is out of tiles must draw another face-down tile from the Bunch. The newly drawn tile must be added to those already used to form words. 

If a player has a tile that they are unable to use, they are allowed to “DUMP” it. However, the player must draw three tiles from the Bunch instead of one as a replacement for the dumped tile. When there aren’t enough tiles left to go round all the players if a player calls out “PEEL”, then the first player to use up their tiles and call out “BANANAS” wins. 

The gameplay can be adapted by players as they like and this adds to the fun. A few variations of the original Bananagrams game exist and are described below.

Banana Smoothie: This version is designed for kids and involves dividing the entire Bunch equally between the players. This means that there will be no peeling or dumping of tiles. The first player to use all their tiles to form words wins.

Banana Café: This version is for when players are pressed for time and they want the game to end quickly. 21 tiles are shared to each player and play proceeds normally except that there is no peeling or dumping.

Solitaire Bananagrams: This version is designed for a lone player. The player draws 21 tiles from the Bunch and proceeds to play the game just as in the original version. The player keeps playing until all the Bunch is exhausted. The player may use a timer to determine how long it took them to finish the game and the player can attempt to beat that time in future games.

Winning the Game

The first player to use up their letter tiles after there aren’t enough tiles left in the Bunch to go round all the players if “PEEL” was called wins the game. The winning player has to shout “BANANAS” to notify the other players. A player’s win is subject to review however, as words in the player’s Bananagrams may be illegal and the other players are allowed to challenge any illegal word. 

Just like in scrabble, proper nouns, acronyms, abbreviations are not acceptable. If the winning player has any illegal word in their Bananagrams, their win is nullified and that player becomes a “ROTTEN BANANA”. The implication of this is that the player is out of the game and their tiles are returned face-down to the Bunch for the remaining players to use in finishing the game. The game resumes with the remaining players until one of them wins legitimately. 

In a situation that no player can use all their letters, and there aren’t enough tiles left in the Bunch, the player with the least number of tiles left wins. The game can be played in multiple rounds, and the player with the highest number of wins after the set number of rounds have been played wins.

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