I’ve been talking about Banana Scrabble a few times now. If you look for it in the stores, it’s actually called Bananagrams. However, I looked for it in every store I went to and could never find it, so I finally ordered it from Amazon. At the same time, I ordered the Official Scrabble Dictionary, and it arrived today. We’re in business!
The instructions that come with the game have you using cutsy words like “Peel” and such, but I prefer the way my mother taught me. You use regular words like “Flip” and “Draw”. Our family spent years playing the board game Scrabble, and we always knew we were in for several hours worth. If you had four players, it could get somewhat boring waiting for your turn. This is faster and easier.
Here’s how it works: A double set of tiles comes in a bag shaped like a banana. You pour them out on the table and turn them all face down. Then you mix them around a little. One person gives the signal and each player draws 21 tiles. Then the person says “Flip” and everyone flips their tiles over.
Now here’s the part that makes this version so much more fun than the regular Scrabble game: You don’t have to wait your turn to play! Everyone starts forming words at the same time. It doesn’t matter what size words you make, so long as you spell everything correctly. (Hence, the need for the Scrabble dictionary!) You form words left to right, or up and down, and connect them.
If you run out of letters, you call out “Draw” and everyone draws a letter. If you have a letter you can’t use, you can put it back, but you have to draw three tiles. The first person to finish using all the tiles wins. Of course, if the other person checks your words and finds an error, you don’t win.
I find this is a really great game for helping me stay on top of spelling and vocabulary, and it’s a game Mark will play with me because he can play at his own pace. In fact, he actually caught an error I made last night and won the game!
Up until now we’ve been using an electronic dictionary, but that reports on the spelling of all kinds of words, including acronyms and proper names, which aren’t allowed. Having the Official Scrabble Dictionary will mean we can be sure when we look up a word, the word is legal to use.
I highly recommend this game to any wordsmiths out there. It’s even a game you could play by yourself if you don’t have anyone else to play with. You can find both the game and the dictionary, new or used, on Amazon.