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Submitted by on August 5, 2010 – 9:17 amNo Comment

We weren’t keen on the idea of giving this back so I may have to secrete this behind the sofa and deny any knowledge of its existence if anyone asks…

Buy online at Lakeland Limited

Price £14.99


Initial thoughts: As one of Andy Warhol’s greatest fans, I was very pleased about the Velvet Underground-style packaging that this game comes in.  It’s a yellow cloth bag in the shape of a banana with a big zip down the middle – about the size of pencil case or make up bag.  And was also very surprised to find it could hold 144 small and very smooth plastic tiles.

I did think – how on earth is this game going to work?  It seemed a little odd that the aim of the game was to take 12 to 21 letters and then create a crossword while shouting words like Split! and Peel! and Bunch!  And also the players do their own words and don’t create a an overall matrix.

That said, it really appealed to Miniminx (9) and her friend Imani (10) and they grasped the concept quickly.  It’s very like a desconstructed scrabble which means there is no board, no tile holder, just a bunch of letters that require a flat surface and some bright little minds who like words.

We liked: We loved this game – it’s got really funky packaging and is easy to take anywhere so a great travel toy as well.  The rules are simple, each player picks the letter tiles which are laid face down.  When a player shouts SPLIT everyone turns the letters over and the game begins.  Because you can keep changing the words around as the game progesses, it’s much more fun and dynamic than Scrabble and it also tests the limits of the children’s vocabulary so they ask lots of questions and experiment with words and spellings more than they would in other games.  The winner is the player who has used up all their letters and created a full bananagram of vertical and horizontal words which intersect and look like a cross word.  They have to shout Bananas which makes for quite a raucous game.

I’ve done a bit of research on the Bananagram web site and it also has many other shortened versions of the game – even one for playing in restaurants while you wait for your order to arrive.  So this may even replace our pre-dinner dominoes – a holiday essential

We weren’t keen: We weren’t keen on the idea of giving this back so I may have to secrete this behind the sofa and deny any knowledge of its existence if anyone asks…

Overall: For parents who like games you can take anywhere and also want to join in, this is perfect.  It has a great modern feel and even better, it doesn’t need batteries, chargers or accessories.  The kids totally loved this and I can see it becoming a favourite pretty quickly.  Because you can have up to eight players this is a perfect after dinner game for families and get togethers so one to bring out at Christmas, Easter and the holidays.

[Eva, Nixd Minx]

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