Game University: Bananagrams

Game University: Bananagrams

Bananagrams is a simple to learn, fast moving, addictive, fun and educational word game that can be played virtually anywhere.  No waiting turns, no paper and pencil. Great fun for the whole family.

In Bananagrams, players race to be the first to use all their tiles in connecting and intersecting words. Since everyone plays at the same time and speed matters more than word length, one hand can be played in as little as five minutes. Bananagrams comes in a compact banana-shaped pouch, making it a perfect game for travel.

Banangrams is also available in Spanish and now Hebrew! For the word enthusiasts [or spelling bee champs] there is also Double Bananagrams which contains more tiles for longer word play.

How to Play

Place all 144 tiles face down in the center of the table. These tiles are called the BUNCH. Each player takes tiles from the bunch and places them face-down in front of them. The number of tiles you take depends on the number of people playing: 21 tiles for 2-4 players, 15 for 5-6 players and 11 tiles for 7 players.

Any player can start the game by saying “SPLIT!” Players imediatley turn their tiles face up and start forming their own crosswords. Words can be horizontal or vertical, going from left to right or top to bottom. Players can rearrange their own words as often as they want. It’s a race to the finish!

There are no turns in Bananagrams, so each player creates their own crossword independently of one another.  

When a player successfully uses all their letters in a crossword, he or she says “PEEL!” and takes a tile from the bunch. When this happens, everybody has to take a tile and add it to their collection of letters.

At any time (and without limit), a player can return a troublesome letter back to the bunch. The catch is that they must take three letters in return. The player declares this by saying “DUMP!”. This doesn’t affect any of the other players.


You can’t use proper nouns like names and misspelled words don’t count --having a dictionary on hand helps keep things fair.

The game continues until there are fewer tiles in the bunch than there are players. At that point, the first player with no remaining letters shouts “BANANAS!” and is the winner!

Players then check the crossword for misspelled or incorrect words. If the words are acceptable, then that player is the WINNER.

If any word is unacceptable, that player becomes the “ROTTEN BANANA” and is out of that round. The “ROTTEN BANANA”  returns all their letters face down to the bunch and the game resumes for the remaining players.

Banangrams has won countless awards and is great game for improving word skills, spelling, word retrieval and sequencing. With so many possible variations, Bananagrams can easily be adapted to suit a variety of ages and abilities.

Can you spot the words in our multi-lingual letter piles? Leave us a comment below!

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