Tuesday, 2 September 2014

The best board game ever? (...hang on, there's no board)

I did something old and boring last night. I played a board game. Yes. On a Monday night.

And I had such fun I feel compelled to bang on about it!

So - for those who don’t enjoy the intensity and general seriousness of Scrabble, I present to you – Bananagrams!

The banana – everyone’s favourite suggestive fruit. Happily, the game is just as jolly as the name.

First off, the game is shaped like an actual banana. Well, the bag it comes in is. Despite the less-than-attractive combination of lurid yellow and brown, I think I’d rather like a handbag version.

And secondly, who doesn’t love shouting out silly things? Split! Peel! Bananas!

Basically it’s a word game using little square tiles (who doesn’t love that satisfying tactile thrill of little tiles). So far, so Scrabble.

But the difference with Bananagrams is its simplicity and same-time solitary play.

All tiles are placed face down in the middle of the table, with each player taking a number for themselves. Once play starts (signalled by the shout of Split!, naturally), each player works independently to arrange their tiles in a grid of connecting words. The winner is the first person to complete a word grid with no tiles remaining in the game. (You get to shout bananas! at this point – that is your reward.)

So, the banana Tourette’s (sorry) is the extent of interaction you will need with your fellow game players, making for a pretty effortless, low on social commitment game. Perfect. It’s also low maintenance on the ‘stuff’ front. No hassle - just little tiles, in a little bag. As long as there is a table where you are, you can play it there.

On first glance, Bananagrams couldn’t be more 70s. All it’s missing is that strangely comforting sepia image of enforced family fun in action.

…But wait! It was made in 2006 by an American in Rhode Island!

Well, bananas! You had me fooled.

Anyway, I heartily recommend this slice of faux-nostalgia, and can’t wait to play it again.

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