No, it’s not a stuffed banana. Bananagrams is a great new word game that’s sort of a takeoff on Scrabble. Players are “dealt” a predetermined number of letter tiles, and then each player uses his/her letters to create a personal assortment of intersecting words. As the letters dealt get used, more letters are taken from the pile, and when the letters are gone, the first player to have used every letter wins. The banana serves as a pouch to hold 144 letter tiles as well as the game instructions.
My friend Jessica, an elementary school teacher, discovered this game at Toy Fair. She raved about it, brought me to their booth to play with her, then roundly beat me (and a table of others). I liked it so much, I bought one for my mom and teenaged sister, who both love word games. More enthusiastic thumbs up, and they even invented a new variation on the game. The truth is, you can do a lot with a pouch full of letters and a little bit of creativity, and I think that’s part of the idea. The company’s website suggests a number of alternative instructions, including a variation that can be played at a restaurant while waiting for dinner. Recommended for ages 7-107, and can be played solitaire or with 2-8 players.