Bananagrams is a game that is like a competitive solitary speed scrabble. Each player gets the same number of tiles to start with. Players then simultanously try to arrange their tiles so that they create a valid crossword structure, like in scrabble. Once a player has used all of their tiles they say "peel" and then all the players must grab another tile from the middle to incorporate into their crossword. Play continues like this until there are fewer tiles left than there are players. When that happens the first person to complete their crossword says banana and is the winner so long as all the words are legitimate.
There is a special rule as well for being able to put a tile back that you don't want. If you do that though you must take three tiles instead. I don't generally do this as it seems like a bad trade and takes up valuable time. I think I would only consider it if I had horrid letters AND no vowels.
I like this game because it is somewhat solitary. I don't have to worry about other people blocking me with their words. I don't have to worry about using their words to make my own. All the letters in my play area are under my control. It is also nice to be able to break words apart and put them back together again. There is nothing saying that the first crossword you make to say "peel" has to look anything like your final crossword when you say "banana." I also like that there is no waiting. It is not turn based everyone is playing the whole time.
For a low-pressure style of Bananagrams, there is also the non-competitive style. I was introduced to this after church one week. I went out to coffee with some folk and they were playing Bananagrams. The difference was they determined ahead of time who would win. They freely traded tiles between players. It was all about the creativity of making the most awesome words. The person they determined to be the winner could basically ask for any letter they needed. It was neat to see what they came up with.
Anyway, this is the inaugural post of WhitPicks. As you can see, I do pick bananagrams. It is a fun game that can go pretty quickly. This means you can play several rounds before tiring of it. In future installments of this blog I will pick all sorts of things and discuss why I pick them.
Do you have variations that you use when playing Bananagrams? Have any criticisms of the game? Feel free to use the comment section to help people get even more info.