Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Game-A-Lang-A-Ding-Dong

Fans of this trio of games. Reviews from Good to Best! And no link because you can find them all over the place...get the best dealio.... fun times.


We are Bananagram fans. So the idea of new games - Pairs in Pears and Appleletters built up some serious excitement.

Neither of the new games quite hit the potential of Bananagrams. Without the predecessor, either of these would have been new, fun and creative.

Pairs is a very fast moving game. The goal is to create two or three two word sets. Ideally, you will have matching "suite" letters (there are four different suites) which increases the point value of the win. The more letters you use, the better the score.

We played several "hands" then moved on to Appleletters in the same evening. All of us (five from age 24 to 52) preferred Appleletters to Pairs in Pears but loved Bananagrams the best. One of the fun things that we didn't do but thought of would be to turn all the tiles face down and play a huge memory game or turn it into a rummy type of game where you collect suites of letters. If you have Pairs, be creative and see what you can come up with. If you haven't purchased Pairs in Pears and are wondering which of the three to buy, Bananagrams is the best in our opinion, but Pairs wouldn't be a waste, especially if you can get a good deal.


Appleletters is very similar to Scrabble without the point values and without the board. The players take turns and build off each others words but in a snake pattern. Portabilitywise, Appleletters is great. I love the cute little Apple carrying case. But for off the charts fun and games, I still would choose Bananagrams hands down. Appleletters is quicker than Scrabble, and easier because you have more tiles to choose from. Kids would benefit especially if they are needing fun help in the spelling department. But again, if I had to choose I'd pick Bananagrams.


If you are looking for a fun game that is portable and versatile, look into Bananagrams which has become our family’s favorite game. We’ve hauled it to two different states, introduced it to two additional state dwellers who visited and got hooked, and played it internationally with a visiting German student. The game is simple. Think individual Scrabble "boards" (without the board, tile holders or points), for each player, with the added benefit of playing with loads of tiles at a time and the ability to move, remake or change your words at will. You can “dump” and get rid of a difficult letter replacing it with three others that may or may not be better ones at any time throughout the game. When a player uses all the letters he/she originally drew (plus the dumps), she/he calls "Peel" and everyone grabs one more letter, and so on, until there aren't enough letters for every person to "Peel" one. In that case the person who finishes wins "Bananas!". Simple as that.

You can play with multiple people or even as solitaire. The more the merrier, but either way it's fun. You can make easy adaptations and add your own quirks to the rules to make it your own. It moves quicker than Scrabble and is less frustrating than Scrabble, too. You don't keep score via points, nor do you have to deal with someone taking your perfect spot. Bananagrams would be perfect for beginning spellers as well as classroom fun with vocabulary words. We really love this game.