Split, Peel, Dump and a couple of Rotten Bananas

Have you every played Bananagrams? You word lovers would have a great time with this game! Individual and/or teams. Preconceptions about who would win (First vote was Grandma. Grandma said Grandpa cos he plays a mean game of Words with Friends!) can be dispelled pretty fast.

For those of you who know how to play, bear with me while I share the game with those who don’t know. We first played individually. Six players start by taking 15 letter tiles from the seemingly never-ending, face down stockpile (which is an illusion–it does end, eventually.) When all are ready, one person says SPLIT.

Players turn their tiles over and, as fast as they can, create words with their own tiles, crisscrossing and playing alongside other words. When you have created words with all 15 tiles, you say PEEL. Each player takes a tile. You can rearrange your tiles if you find better or longer words.

During play if you get stuck with one of the many Q tiles (or any other tile you cannot seem to find a place for) and don’t have an I or U to play the Q, you can return it to the big pile and say DUMP. However, you must take three tiles to replace your single dumped tile. See how this could work to your advantage or disadvantage? Play continues. PEEL. PEEL. PEEL. DUMP. PEEL. Heart races and hands fly. And sometimes the brain is left behind trying to keep up with all the tiles you’ve had to add to your own stockpile.

Players hurry to play their tiles while watching the big pile quickly disappearing amidst shouts of PEEL and DUMP.

Until that fateful word-BANANAGRAMS!

Play pauses abruptly. Everyone reviews the words created by the “winner” and, as in Scrabble, challenges can make or break the player. Grandson looks up questionable words and pronounces whether they are acceptable or not. Players whose words are unacceptable are labeled a Rotten Banana and disqualified. Play resumes until another player shouts BANANAGRAMS! and Grandson carefully reviews their words.

Grandma did indeed win the first game. Granddaughter wanted to play teams. Everyone saw through that and she was not allowed to play on Grandma’s team. Grandson and I won a game, then Granddaughter was able to play on Grandma’s team. Grandma and Granddaughter won. The kids stopped playing for the final round. Daddy won. Grandma 3, Daddy 1. And we all had a real good time!

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