This is an excellent award-winning game that is, more or less, a combination of Scrabble, Boggle, and build your own crossword puzzle. Players draw X number of letter tiles from the face-down pool of tiles (the "bunch"), 21 for a three-player game, and simultaneously reveal their letters then begin building crossword puzzle solutions. If you use all of your letters, you call Peel and everyone takes a letter from the bunch. If you have a letter that you don't want or can't use, call Dump, put it back in the bunch, and draw three more tiles. After the last Peel, if there are fewer tiles remaining than there are players, the first person to use the last of their letters calls Bananas. The other players may then look over their board for misspelled or wrong words, if they're found that player is called a Rotten Banana.
The game came out almost four years ago. I learned of it recently on an old Pulp Gamer Family Night podcast (http://pulpgamer.com/familynight/
), my wife was with me and it sounded good to her. She's a huge Scrabble/Boggle/word game fan. Last week we were at a Barnes & Noble and it was on the shelf and quickly in our hands.
It will set you back about $15 and is small enough to keep in your glove compartment. You want to allow each player about 2 square feet of table space to build out, a common first-timer mistake is to start too low and you find yourself having to scoot your entire puzzle up.
The game is entirely self-contained: no need for pencil and paper or dice, and is available as a Facebook app and on Bebo.
If you have a player who is particularly strong, such as my wife who regularly does the New York Times Sunday Crossword, there are ways to handicap. One suggestion is to have words related to a particular theme, but what we applied to my wife is that she could not do two-letter words. She found it quite challenging (read: frustrating) and I won one game due to this.
It's a VERY competitive game, especially when one player starts calling Peel after Peel after Peel. But it's a fun competitive game, not in the least bit cut-throat.
Heartily recommended. It will be going with us on road trips as a permanent part of our travel game collection.http://www.bananagrams-intl.com/index-us.asphttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bananagrams