Jordan's Blog - House rules for Bananagrams

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House rules for Bananagrams

Jordan 2020-05-25

During this year’s quarantine, our 3 bedroom 5 person apartment has found plenty of time to dive into the board games we own. Today Mark was at Jo’s and Sijia and Chad were out biking, so Michela and I spent the morning in with iced coffee and a french omelette on toast, which I have recently begun to perfect. Around 11 we broke out Bananagrams and I taught Michela our house rules.

Bananagrams is a simple board game which uses only a set of letter tiles. The general goal is to use all of your own tiles to make real words from left to right and up to down in a connected scrabble-like array. To play our rules with 2–5 people you need:

Shuffle all the tiles around face down in a pile. Every player then gets 40 tiles of their own. When the game starts, each player flips over their tiles and tries to use them to make connected words at least 4 letters long.

At any point a player can say PEEL and grab a tile from the middle, and all other players still in the game must also grab a tile.

At any point a player can say DUMP and put a tile back into the middle, replacing it with 3 other tiles.

The first person to use up all of their tiles is the “winner,” and the game ends when all players have used their tiles.

The after-game

My words (left) were: roti, fish, harken, frank, allot, reel, brave, forte, tries, seethe, exciting, and roomie.

Michela’s words (right) were: sane, oared, teat, fined, near, sated, judged, joyous, hoot, coitus, tweens, chore, broiled, and chore (a second time).

Here are the poems we came up with:

Jordan's poem

‘Frank tries fish’ or ‘Remembrance’

It never was my forte, dear, but brave as I can be
I’ll take the fish with roti, dear, with rage I will not seethe.
And as I cut the fish in two, the sauce I will allot
Harkens to exciting roomies’ sauces I forgot.

My poem is about Frank trying fish, and it’s also about remembering times past with your roommates who may or may not be moving to Europe.

Michela's poem

‘To be sated and sane’

To be sated and sane,
in a time such as this,
To be oared through the channel,
is a chore for the rower.
Such a chore that,
in the ‘twixts and the ‘tweens,
we find ourselves broiled
in joyous coitus
and fined ourselves sums
for the teat we sucked
and judged ourselves sinful
to be near the hoot.

Michela’s poem is about how we judge ourselves for giving in to baser instincts when that’s what it takes in quarantine to stay sane.

You can try it at home

Altogether one round of Bananagrams with our house rules takes 15–20 minutes. I highly recommend it as a short and fun little game that also lets you be creative.