Along with Scrabble and Boggle, Bananagrams is one of the classic word games. Most people have played it at least once in their lifetime. In Bananagrams, players do away with the Scrabble board and Boggle’s shared letters to create their own crossword-style grid with randomly selected letter tiles. The game has endured for years thanks to its simple rules and quick game play. It makes for a solid choice for family game night.
What Makes This Different
Bananagrams Duel! takes the classic Bananagrams formula and remakes it into a two-player version by replacing the letter tiles with six-sided dice with a letter on each side (the 144 letters in the original game have been neatly converted into 24 dice here). You and your opponent each get 12 dice and try to create your own crossword-style grid like in the original game. You may use any side of your dice and the first player to complete their grid, calls out “Bananas!” and collects a banana card. Mix the dice up, draw another 12 and play another round. First to collect 10 banana cards wins.
Included in the rules are several variants that ensure plenty of replayability. First is the themed game, which uses the back side of the banana cards. Just like the base game, you’re in a race to complete your grid. However, the back of the banana card has a theme and your grid must contain at least one word related to the theme in order for you to win that round. So, if the theme was sci-fi, then your grid must have at least one word like “alien” or “laser” in order to score. Again, first to collect 10 banana cards wins.
You can also play Duel! by rolling your dice whenever you get stuck trying to finish your grid: simply re-roll the unused dice, add letters to your grid, then re-roll as necessary. This fast and furious version hits all the right spots for the dice chuckers amongst us (myself included).
Finally, the Rhyme Time variant is another fun way to spice up the base game. Here, you’ll get a bonus banana card for each pair of rhyming words in your grid. Andre the Giant would’ve been the ideal endorser of this variant.
My Thoughts on Bananagrams Duel!
While I miss the straightforward simplicity of the letter tiles in the original game, having more options via the letter dice is a welcome change. I loved the variants, especially the theme variant since it provides a bit more of a challenge since you need to use a word you might not have otherwise used.
Best of all, this is two-player game requires minimal setup time and rules overheard. Just pick up the dice and start spelling words. Bananagrams Duel! is an easily portable and fast-playing word game that can be brought out for nearly any occasion. Look for Bananagrams Duel! to hit retail shelves this fall.
Check out some of my other reviews here on That Hashtag Show!
Thanks to Bananagrams for providing a review copy of Bananagrams Duel!
Ruel Gaviola is a regular contributor to Geek & Sundry, The Five By, iSlaytheDragon, and other sites. His name rhymes with Superman’s Kryptonian name. You can find him talking about board games on Twitter or Instagram.