Bananagrams Rules Made Simple: Everything You Need to Know

bananagrams word game tiles

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Want a fun party game that anyone can play? One that’ll test everyone’s vocabulary? Bananagrams is the game for you! Learning how to play Bananagrams is simple, but the fun is complex in all the right ways. Whether you’re playing with friends or with family and kids, you’ll be having a good time. To get into the fun quickly, read over these Bananagram rules and instructions to learn all you’ll need to know in advance.

Spelling Out the Basics of Bananagrams

Bananagrams is a grid-based word game that challenges everyone to spell as much as they can, as fast as they can. You don’t play the game on a board. Instead, you lay out letter tiles in intersecting grids to create words. Everyone’s goal is to be first to use all of their letter tiles. It’s like Scrabble without the usual points or game board.

From start to finish, a regular game of Bananagrams follows the same fun steps.

Game Setup

Before you can actually start playing, you first need to distribute the appropriate number of letter tiles.

Each player pulls their tiles from the Bunch and places them face down in front of them. The Bunch is the game’s collection of letter tiles, which is set in a main pile facedown in the middle. There are 144 tiles in total.

The number of tiles you get depends on the number of players:

  • 2 to 4 players: 21 tiles

  • 5 to 6 players: 15 tiles

  • 7 to 8 players: 11 tiles

Basic Bananagrams Instructions

Ready to learn how to play Bananagrams? Once everyone has their tiles, you can begin the round.

  1. Choose one player to shout, “Split!” This is the signal for everyone to flip over all their letter tiles.

  2. Players begin forming words by placing the tiles in a grid pattern. Words must connect to the grid, and you must spell them from top to bottom or left to right.

  3. If a player wants to replace one of their tiles, they can shout, “Dump!” They place one of their tiles back in the Bunch facedown and replace it with three new tiles. 

  4. The first player to play their last letter tile shouts, “Peel!” Everyone, including that player, then draws one more tile from the Bunch.

  5. Players continue placing and rearranging their tiles and shouting “Peel!” until there are fewer tiles in the Bunch than there are people playing.

Bananagrams Rules for Ending a Game 

Declaring a winner is similar to shouting “Peel!” The first person to create words using all their letters needs to shout, “Top banana!” When they do, and there aren’t enough tiles in the Bunch for every player to draw, the game ends.

Checking a Player’s Words

Once someone declares themselves “Top Banana,” the other players check that person’s words to ensure they are valid. Not every word is acceptable. If their grid contains any misspelled words, abbreviations or proper nouns, the other players call them out as a “Rotten Banana!” When this happens, the person who declared themselves the winner is removed from the game.

Declaring a Winner

If all of the potential winner’s words are legitimate, they keep their title of Top Banana. The game ends and everyone returns their tiles to the Bunch to start a new game.

Bananagrams Party Edition

Party Edition is a variant of Bananagrams. The gameplay is almost identical to the regular game. The key difference is that Party Edition includes 14 Party Tiles that have bizarre and entertaining effects on the game.

  1. Before the game starts, but after everyone has pulled their letter titles, mix the Party Tiles facedown into the Bunch. 

  2. Make sure that everyone knows what every type of Party Tile does before you do.

  3. When a player draws a Party Tile from the Bunch, they must do whatever action is associated with it. 

This includes wacky things like standing on one leg for the rest of the round, using only one hand to form words and being allowed to steal one tile from any other player.

Bananagrams WildTiles Edition

Bananagrams WildTiles is another fun variation. Again, like with Party Edition, the basic gameplay is the same as with the original. The change comes from the inclusion of Wild Tiles. 

Wild Tiles can stand in for any letter a player desires. They work like blank tiles in Scrabble. Using these tiles adds a new dynamic to the game and makes it even more fast-paced. 

Plenty of Other Fun, Family-Focused Games

Bananagrams is a great game because it’s easy to start and is continually engaging. Its designers wanted it to be fun for anyone. There are plenty of games out there that share similar and welcomed design goals. If you want to find more games to play, start by reading our list of seven great board games that anyone of any age will love.

Zac Pricener has been a content creator for the past eight years. He’s a bit of an all-around nerd, and he has a bad habit of working movie and TV show references into conversations whenever possible.


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