Bananagrams vs. Scrabble

Unlike Scrabble, Bananagrams is a speed game that’s less serious and more fun. Board games are a great way to bond with family and friends. Getting the right board game requires doing some research about what games are available and what will work best. Let's face it, a game like Scrabble isn't for everyone. From its many rules to the amount of concentration it takes players to finish one round, Scrabble requires a special type of commitment.

In this article, we discuss how Bananagrams is different from Scrabble and when you should consider it for game night.


How is Bananagrams different from Scrabble?

In Bananagrams, there’s no board or scorepad. The fastest player in each round wins the game. All players start sorting their letter tiles simultaneously until one player yells ‘Bananas’.

In Scrabble, however, players take turns playing while keeping a record on the scorepad. The game starts by unzipping the banana tile bag and laying out all 144 tiles on the table. Remember, all tiles should be face down meaning no one should see the letters on the tiles.

Depending on the number of players, the game tiles are divided as follows: For 2-4 players each player is given 21 letters, for 5-6 players each player is given 15 letters, and for 7 plus players each player is given 11 letters. However, you can still choose to divide the tiles whichever way you want just make sure there are enough letter tiles left in the pile that everyone can pick from during the game.

To start the game, a player yells ‘split’, and the players turn over their tiles simultaneously. Each player then starts arranging their tiles horizontally (left to right)or vertically (top to bottom) in a crossword fashion, similar to how you would do it in Scrabble. You can rearrange your tiles as often as you like. Each word should be linked to at least one letter already in the layout.

Once a player has used up all his tiles, they can yell ‘peel’ and each player picks a tile from the pile. There’s no limit to the number of times a player can do this.

If you wish to exchange your letters, you may say ‘dump’ and go ahead and replace one tile by picking three new tiles from the pile. Dumping does not affect other players. There’s also no limit to the number of times a player can dump.

Once a player has arranged all his/her tiles and there are fewer tiles left in the pile than the total number of players, then they can go ahead and yell ‘bananas’.

However, before yelling ‘bananas’ the player must make sure that the following rules have been met:

  • No use of proper nouns.
  • No abbreviations.
  • No misspelled words.

If any of the above rules aren’t followed, then the other players call out ‘rotten banana’ and the player doesn’t win the game. The player is disqualified from the game and returns the tiles to the pile face down. The other players then continue with the game until there’s a true winner.

Bananagrams is much more flexible than Scrabble and players can almost do whatever they want to complete the game the fastest.

Some strategies to use when playing Bananagrams

Games require strategies if you want to win. Although some might be more complex than others, having an upper hand in a game increases your chances of winning. For Scrabble, you can use these tips and strategies we've shared earlier.

To win in Bananagrams, here are a few strategies you may want to incorporate:

  • • Have some basic word knowledge. When playing word games like Scrabble and Bananagrams, knowing a variety of three-letter, five-letter, and even nine-letter words can come in handy.
  • • Always start the game by creating a long word ‘the backbone’. Forming a seven or eight-letter word, in the beginning, will help you use up most of your letter tiles and make building other smaller words easier.
  • • Pay attention to the problematic tiles. Try and look for opportunities to use any problematic tiles as soon as possible. Knowledge of short words can help with this.
  • • Make long words and expand your layout. By doing this you get the chance to increase your word plays.
  • • Remember you can rearrange your words as many times as you want. If you feel the need to create a different wordplay from the layout, don’t be afraid to do so.
  • • Don’t forget to have fun. Bananagrams is a simple light-hearted game that’s supposed to be entertaining.

How to pick which game is best for you

If you’re looking for a more engaging game for you and your group of friends or family, then Bananagrams is definitely the way to go. With its simple rules and lack of timers or rounds, it's a game that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. However, if you’re looking for a more challenging game that forces you to think hard, then Scrabble is the way to go.


There’s a variety of word games available in the market. To pick one that’s suitable for you, be sure to do your research and don’t be afraid to experiment with new games.

Published on 23 Mar 2023
Author: Maureen

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