A blog for fans of Bananagrams, word games, puzzles, and amazing things

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Why Bananagrams is not Speed Scrabble

  • Bananagrams tiles are of a nice, smooth plastic (purportedly, bakelite) -- easy to slide around the table -- and lack the hard corners of those hazardous Scrabble tiles.
  • Speed Scrabble's letter distribution and number of tiles (100) was designed for Slow Scrabble (played on a board, with players taking turns... you may have heard of it). Bananagrams has 144 tiles and a clearly different distribution (which might have been optimized for Bananagrams). With more tiles, it can be played with more people.
  • Consequently, Speed Scrabble players start with only seven tiles, which means that your initial grid will be at most a few words. In contrast, Bananagrams players can start with up to twenty-one letters, breaking the game into two distinct phases: 1) building of an initial grid, with lots of latitude as to how one builds this foundation, 2) the PEELing phase, in which one is constantly interrupted by the grabbing of letters, and the focus of which is more reconfiguring the grid.
  • Speed Scrabble lacks the DUMP rule, meaning that if you wind up with a bad letter distribution wile playing Speed Scrabble, there is nothing you can do.
  • Bananagrams comes in a handy fabric banana. It is the Hitchhiker's game choice. It fits in your purse or backpack. Some people keep a set in their car for emergency Bananagrams sessions.
  • Bananagrams is cheaper. Compare prices at Amazon and see for yourself: Scrabble vs. Bananagrams