What It Is
If you enjoy playing Bananagrams but are looking for a bigger way to play, there's Jumbo Bananagrams. This jumbo-sized version of the anagram game is designed for play on your lawn, at the beach, at the park, in a classroom, or in your home. The game comes with 144 three-inch, compressed foam, square tiles that are water-resistant and flexible. The tiles are stored inside a large banana-shaped tote bag.
Gameplay is the same as the original Bananagrams. All tiles are placed face down, and everyone takes 11-21 tiles, depending on the number of players. Someone says, "Split," and players turn over their tiles and simultaneously create an individual grid of connecting and intersecting words, like a crossword. When a player has used all of his original tiles, he yells, "Peel," and everyone takes a new tile. Because this is a larger version, you won't be able to just reach out and grab a tile. You might have to get up and run over to the pile to take a new tile. Play continues until there are fewer tiles in the middle than there are players in the game. The first player with no remaining tiles calls out, "Bananas!" and is the winner.
Jumbo Bananagrams comes with alternate ways to play the game, including a Banana Solitaire version. The game is for 1–8 players.
Why It’s Fun
Though this is designed to make Bananagrams applicable to other play situations than simply sitting around the table, it's very awkward to play. Most people don't think of word games as physical games, and the game takes up so much space that it's hard to see what you're doing. There's a real disconnect between what is usually a table game and a game requiring players to move, walk or crawl around to play. One of the appealing things about Bananagrams is that people of different ages can play around a table. By changing the format of the game, that's not as likely. Since part of the fun of Bananagrams is speed in play, the large size of the tiles seriously slows the game down, and it's hard to see all the letters you have in your hand at any time.
Who It’s For
Jumbo Bananagrams is for ages 5 and up.
What To Be Aware Of
The tiles tend to stick together, which means you'll have to carefully mix them all up when you first set up the game.
The canvas bag is comparatively heavy and may be clumsy to take to a beach or picnic area if you have a lot of stuff to carry.