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Bananagrams: The Rules

One of the beauties of the game of Bananagrams is the simplicity and elegance of the rules. To start the game simply unzip the Bananagrams bag and dump the letters out onto the table. Flip all of the 144 tiles face-side down. They are all pushed together into a "bunch".

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Next, each player draws a number of tiles depending on the number of people playing the game. For 2-4 people, 21 tiles each. For five or six players, 15 tiles each. For seven or eight players, have each player draw 11 tiles. As soon as all the players have drawn their requisite number of letters, some player, any player, says, "Split!" This is the signal for the players to begin flipping letters and creating words.

The words created must connect and intersect in a manner similar to a crossword or as is familiar in the game "Scrabble". When a player uses up all of his or her letters, he or she states, "Peel!" Then all the players must draw another letter. Players can rearrange their letters as often as they like, even letters they have already placed. (If you draw a "Q" and you need a "U" that is in the middle of another word, it can be pulled out as long as the resulting recombinations ultimately form words.)

If a letter is drawn that seems impossible to place, a player may call out "Dump!" and exchange this letter for three others. No other player should take a tile on a dump.

Play goes on until there are less tiles in the bunch than there are number of players. Then the first person to use all of his or her remaining letters says, rather excitedly, "Bananas!" This person will be the winner of the "hand" if all of his words check out. All of the players now inspect the "winning" hand. Each word is scrutinized for legality. A legal word is one found in a dictionary (the volume should be agreed upon in advance). There is no penalty for challenging a player's word. If an illegal word is found in the played "hand", that player is declared a "rotten banana" and is out of the hand. His tiles are returned to the bunch, and play is resumed as before.

Each hand may be its own game or players may wish to keep track of the number of hands won and play to a certain number of victories.

Next Page: Strategies for Bananagrams

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