Bananagrams [Game Review]

Bananagrams | Board Game | Gaming | Doublexjump.com

krismii
When we went on vacation with the family at the end of July, we knew board games were going to be a way to bond and pass the time with everyone else. At one point during the week, one of our cousins bought Bananagrams, a fun little game that has no board. Instead, it’s a little banana-shaped pouch filled with letter tiles reminiscent of Scrabble.

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We used to have this game though I think we got rid of it when we went through all our old board games a long time ago. We were at the bookstore and, for some reason, Bananagrams was on a shelf. Our cousin grabbed it and it was the main game of the week. Our go-to games have always been Monopoly, Code Names, and Headbanz, but Bananagrams was the family favorite this year.

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If you haven’t played Bananagrams before, it’s a quick-thinking game where one needs to create words intertwined together like on a personal Scrabble board using all of their letter tiles. All of the letter tiles start face-down in a pile in the middle of all the players. Depending on the number of players, everyone would start off with 15 to 21 tiles, only flipping the tiles over to start creating words when the game begins when someone says, “Split!”

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If you can’t fit a letter into your board, you can exchange that one letter for three in the middle of the pile. If you manage to fit all the letters you can say, “peel” and everyone, including yourself, will have to take one letter from the pile. Once there aren’t enough letters left in the middle for everyone to “peel,” then you can say, “bananas” and claim your win.

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I don’t know why everything is banana-themed — who decided bananas were the best theme for this word game? — but it was still a great time all around. We managed to get everyone in the household playing a couple of games at least, and I cannot decide whether it was easier to create words by starting out with more letters or fewer.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Bananas is a fun word to say and the pouch is easy enough. Not to mention there’s also a game called Apples to Apples, so they couldn’t do that. I would love to try to play the game with double the letters. I believe there is a deluxe version, if you will, that doubles the letters so you can play with more people and have longer games. There was, at one point, when we split all the letters up. There were four of us playing and we each got 36 letters with none left over and we played like that without swapping tiles out at all. Whoever used all their letters first, won. Which is another nice thing about the game is that it’s your personal board so if there’s a letter that you need to fit and can’t, you can rearrange the other words to make it fit.

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Having twice the letters would definitely be more interesting and chaotic. We were amazed at some of the words that the rest of our family came up with, too. Being the writers and bigger readers of the family, Rachel and I thought we would do pretty well conjuring up words, but some of the words that our cousins came up with — dandelion, homicide, bigger words than we usually came up with — were great to see.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Oh, please. I played the game and instantly forgot words existed, tried to make up words, and forgot the concept of spelling. Most of my words – it, them, dog, happy – were short and sweet. I did come up with a couple of good words here and there, though every game was different. I’d love to play again and try to do themed words. Like words related to video games or something. That’d be difficult, but a lot of fun.

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Yahtzee [Board Game Review]

Board Game Review: Yahtzee | Gaming | Review | DoublexJump.com

krismii
Yahtzee is a simple enough game of chance with the main components of the game being five dice. It’s a game that we used to play all the time eons ago while vacationing with family, but we haven’t played it in a long time until recently.

rachmii
I house-sat recently and we were going through the games they had. Admittedly, they didn’t have much and while we planned on playing something new, we saw they had Yahtzee and just had to play it again.

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You have a scorecard that details what kind of rolls you should be aiming to get with your three shakes of the dice. The top part of the scorecard has you counting the numbers that you roll, such as twos and threes, while the bottom part is a little more complicated with three of a kind and full house. Of course, there is the Yahtzee part of the scorecard, where you can get fifty points for having all the dice land face up as the same number.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
With each roll, you can take out certain dice that you want to keep if you’re trying to aim for a certain score. For example, if you have three threes, you want to take them out so you can aim for a full house by getting two fours, for example, or even a Yahtzee by getting two more threes. Of course, when we played, my luck was not with me.

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I ended up winning all three games, haha! Honestly, Rachel tends to have higher luck in games of chance than me, so I was surprised. It’s a game that you can probably play just about anywhere as long as you have the dice and a pen and paper to keep score.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I kept rolling high which is more than I can say when we play DnD, but I couldn’t get the numbers that I needed. Once you get a score for something, you can’t score it again – even if it happens to be better. There’s also some strategy to the game too though which makes it so much harder. There’s a “chance” score where you can just count up the total of the dice and put that down as your score. However, there’s always the possibility of you scoring higher later. If you need to get some scores for having certain numbers, which one do you go for? It’s all chance.

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It is just all chance. The game ends when everyone has something filled in on all spots of their scorecard, even if you’ve taken zero points as certain scores. You cannot pass your turn — rather, we’ve never played it that way — as I’m sure otherwise the game would be a lot longer than it really is. It’s a good game to pass the time and it’s fun to see just how the dice will roll for everyone.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
It’s definitely one of those “classic” games to play. It’s great to play with friends but it’s also not a bad game to play with yourself either. Yahtzee is just a win overall.

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Lord of the Rings: Quest to Mount Doom [Board Game Review]

Board Game Review: The Lord of The Rings Quest To Mount Doom | Gaming | Board Games | Game Review | Blogging | Gaming Blog | DoublexJump.com

krismii
This game has been on our radar ever since we first saw it at our local Barnes and Noble. Supposedly it’s a Barnes and Noble exclusive, but there are similar-looking games on Amazon. Being fans of the Lord of the Rings franchise, we eventually splurged on the large board game and finally got around to playing it.

rachmii
This game, at the time we bought it, was about $50. While the game was fun, I don’t think it was worth $50.

 

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The board itself is rather big, which was fine. It consisted of all the locations that are mentioned in the movies (and probably some from the books) with pathways connecting them. Each pathway had a number of move values that it would take to travel and you could move up to the number you rolled or less than your roll value.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
So, for example, if you rolled a two and had two branching paths – one that had a two and one that had a three, you could only go on the number-two path. Moving around the board was pretty simple and it was a fun way to do it rather than going through one linear path. Plus, there are events cards so that you can move anywhere on the board or move someone else anywhere. Then, of course, you have the cards that tell you a specific place to go.

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The point of visiting as many locations as you can is due to the item cards that can be found. At the start of the game, each location has an item card randomly assigned to it, items that no one knows about because one of the items is the One Ring itself. The object of the game is to obtain the One Ring and deliver it to the Mount Doom location.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Of course, you need to keep the ring secret from the other players. There are ways to find out if someone has the ring. There’s a Gollum event card that forces whoever has the ring to announce it to everyone. You can also lose the ring if the Eye of Sauron and you land on the same space. It forces to go back to one of the starting points of the game and you have to drop the ring in that location.

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While we imagine that the game can get a little chaotic the more people you play with — as you’ll have more opportunities to sabotage each other, use more event cards, and crash into each other on the board — we were getting a little tired of getting similar event cards and our turns going so quickly. The little character tokens weren’t the greatest quality, either. In fact, I accidentally broke a couple’s feet while trying to snap them out of their grid when first opening the box.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Hence, my point earlier when I don’t think this game is worth the $50. The character tokens were cheap plastic – Kris actually sliced her thumb open trying to get one out – and the event and item cards were repetitive. I don’t think they had enough ideas. Not to mention the fact that the event and item cards had the same backing. So, when we were supposed to put the item cards around the board at each place, we accidentally put the event cards down first.

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I think they had the same backing on purpose, though, considering the creators of the game probably expected the players to be sitting at a table with their hands of cards held up and hidden from the other players. If the character tokens were similar to the tokens in Monopoly — better quality, a little weighted — and the events were much more varied, we probably would have had a better time with the game. Of course, we still had fun and may try the game out with a few friends, but we probably won’t break the game out again too soon.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Overall, the game was pretty good and we did have fun. I think this is one of those games that need more people for it to be more “chaotic” and really have a good time.

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Words with Friends [Board Game Review]

2019_Board_Game_WordsFriends

krismii
Words with Friends is actually the board game version of one of the many games that was on Facebook. I assume the game still exists on Facebook, but I honestly haven’t logged on in ages. Words with Friends is based off of Scrabble and was an interesting game to go back to for us.

rachmii
Words With Friends is a popular mobile game, one that I used to play endlessly with friends and strangers. I love Scrabble though never played it much because I was never any good at it. We’re playing the Words with Friends version because our Scrabble is the original edition and the game is totally falling apart.

krismii
The game is fairly simple. Using the random tiles you pull from the bag — starting with seven — you create words on the board. Your word must branch off of the tiles of existing words already on the board, and you tally up the points of your word using the numerical value on each of the tiles. The more common a letter — such as A or S — the less points it is. Letters such as J or Q are worth more.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
There are a certain amount of each letter in the game as well. For example, there are 12 E tiles but there’s only one Z tile. This is depending on how often a letter is used in words. We played two games – one we totally fudged and changed the rules halfway through. Admittedly, we’re rusty on the actual rules and ended up making rules up as we went along because… why not?

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The important thing is we had fun! Seriously, we were trying to determine how to add up the score of the words, be they acronyms, additional words that were made with whatever word we were adding to the board, math in general… It was a bit of a mess. Our second game was, admittedly, more fun since we decided to have the words be game-centric.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Apparently, you’re not supposed to have acronyms but we did it anyway because they were in the dictionary. So… right or wrong, we played it our way. The second game was more intense. We wanted gaming terms and it was definitely hard to get started. Once we did though, the game sort of breezed through and, if I do say so myself, we did a pretty good job.

krismii
I think we did a good job as well. At the very least, we were more creative with our words, even if we did get a little silly at the end of the game. In the beginning, I was so close to having the word “Nintendo,” but I was missing a couple of tiles and there wasn’t a spot on the board for it, so I had to abandon the idea. Rachel, on the other hand, was able to use all of her tiles for the word “unlocked,” which was great!

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Kris was kind enough to let me put down “unlocked.” There was one spot on the board I was able to use it on so I could use the letter “D,” which was already on the board. She was able to take the spot, but I went into the fetal position and she gave it to me. Thus, the rest of the game was filled with cheating because whenever she needed a certain letter, I just found it in a bag and handed it to her. Still, it was a lot of fun and we definitely need to play Scrabble more often.

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Favorite Board Games Growing Up [Top Tuesday]

Rachel Mii | DoubleJump.comHappy Tuesday!

Since we’ve started doing more board game reviews, I decided to talk about some oldies that I used to love growing up.

Favorite Board Games Growing Up | Gaming | Games | Top Tuesday | Favorites List | DoublexJump.com

5. Scrabble

For being a writer, I was never good at this game. I wasn’t great at trying to make words out of only seven random letters and placing them strategically on the board to score the most points. In fact, I remember my mother always helping me even though we were playing against each other. She didn’t let me win all the time, but I think she definitely did some of the time. Still, it’s a great game and a lot of fun.

4. LIFE

I always enjoyed playing the game of LIFE because I was a stupid child and believed that would be how my life would actually end up. I was honestly confused the outcome would change each time I played. It was fun to imagine though and choose different life paths. I still play this game to this day with the kids I babysit. It’s a popular one.

3. Sorry!

I believe this is my mom’s favorite game and, if I’m honest, I haven’t played it in a really long time. This was a fantastic (and frustrating at times) game. Bringing all four of your pegs to “home” and having the ability to send people backwards is fun. It’s one I need to go back to soon.

2. Clue

We’ve talked about this a few times. Clue is a favorite of mine and my cousins. We play it a lot – the board game and the DVD game. I love a good mystery and a game where you need to think and figure things out. It’s harder with the more people you play with, but it’s great all around.

1. Monopoly

Monopoly has always been a favorite of mine. I have a lot of different versions – Nintendo, I Love Lucy, Snoopy, and a few others. I’m terrible at math, but I’ve always loved it. Maybe it’s because you’re collecting things and I’m a sucker for that. Either way, this is my top favorite game – even if it takes hours to play.

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Monopoly: CHEATERS Edition [Board Game Review]

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krismii
Monopoly is a big hit in our family. It’s one of the staple games we bring with us on vacations so we can all yell, get mad, and laugh until our stomachs hurt at each other. Somehow, we all still love each other after all the constant games, even with the penchant for cheating some members of the family have… So, when Rachel found the Cheaters Edition of the game, our older sister and brother-in-law gave it to her for Christmas.

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I don’t even remember how I came across it. I was looking on Amazon and it popped up like it knew. I’m notorious for cheating in any games as is our cousin. So when I saw this, I knew I had to have it to give it a shot.

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I was a little skeptical at first because, as noted, cheating happens in regular Monopoly with our family, so I wasn’t sure what the difference would be. The Cheaters Edition, however, has rules on how to cheat (and supposedly you can’t cheat otherwise), giving you challenges that may reward you should you succeed and punish you — generally by sending you to jail with the handcuff — if someone catches you.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Of course, even though there’s no cheating other than the rules, I cheated anyway when Kris and I played together. There’s a small stack of cheat cards. Five of them go in the middle and at any time during the game, you need to secretly plan to do one. As Kris said, if you get caught, there’s a consequence, but if you don’t get caught there’s a reward. Once the next player rolls the dice for their turn, you’re supposed to announce you cheated and claim the reward.

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We both did a bit of cheating — not paying the full price for a property, stealing unowned properties and money from the bank — especially since I knew Rachel is a sneak. If you believe someone is cheating on their turn, you’re supposed to call them out on it before the next player’s turn, but if the accused can prove their innocence, then the person calling them out owes them a fine. There were other little differences too, such as the board not having as many spaces, the railroads not being for sale, and no houses, only hotels, for properties.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
The board is definitely made to make people fight. One of the green properties was free, one of the yellow properties was cheaper, one of the pink properties was only $20, and one of the light blue properties came with a free hotel already on it, despite the fact you need the whole color set in order to add hotels on. The railroads – which I kept landing on – were teleporting spaces. Once you landed on one you needed to advance to the next railroad. I kept skipping a whole side of the board because of that, which was where Kris had most of her properties.

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Rachel utilizing the railroads didn’t help my ultimate demise, no. The community chest and chance cards were mostly different, as well. In regular Monopoly, we read our cards aloud specifically to minimize cheating. However, with the Cheaters Edition, we came to realize that some of those cards we had to keep to ourselves, as their instructions tended to be much sneakier than in regular Monopoly, so that was a difference we needed to get used to as well.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
For example, one community chest card I got, I held onto. So, the next time I owed Kris rent, I could “pose as a celebrity” and have her pay me the rent instead. The overall ending of the game was different as well. When we play we always wait until there’s only one person left with money. In the Cheater’s Edition, once all the properties are bought, all players much return to Go and stop. Once all players are on that space, the game ends. Whoever has the most money, wins.

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In a way, it’s a simpler version of Monopoly, with less spaces and a more definite end rather than one person buying everyone else out, but the incentives to cheat and beat the challenges the game gives you can make it chaotic. Rachel and I only played with each other and we each still did a bit of cheating, but nothing too elaborate considering we were watching each other like hawks. This game would be best with a larger party to make things a bit more chaotic.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I agree. We definitely need a crowd to play the game. I can’t wait to play this with our cousins!

Monopoly: CHEATERS Edition gets a rating of…
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Digital Board Games

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Back in September, I believe, we started doing a board or card game review here and there on the blog to include different types of games to expand our collections. Now that we actually play physical board games, more and more digital versions of board games seem to be coming to the Nintendo Switch.

rachmii
I feel like that’s what always happens though. We buy and download a game on Steam and then a week later it comes out for the Switch. Timing is everything. I prefer console to PC so I’ve been waiting on certain games just in case. I think it’s cool board games are going digital, but I do prefer the physical board and card games. Still, I’m interested in trying them out for the Switch.

krismii
We’ve had digital board games for consoles before — remember Monopoly Party for the GameCube? — but many more seem to be coming for the Switch. It makes sense, with the Switch’s portability and aim toward casual and simulation games. There’s Monopoly for the Switch, Clue is coming, and there was talk of games such as Carcassone, Pandemic, Settlers of Catan, and Munchkin coming to the Switch within the next year or so.

rachmii
Yes, I do remember Monopoly for the Gamecube. I know digital board games have always been around, but it’s definitely more so now. I definitely want to get them and try them out. I think it would be cool and honestly, it would be easier to just bring the Switch on vacation with us rather than the actual board games – you know, if we’re just going away for a weekend or something. Though, I wonder why these games are coming to the Switch? I understand what you mean by the portability and casual gaming, but it seems like they’re adding a lot all of a sudden.

krismii
It may be just trying to bring the board games to another generation. I mean, we’ve grown up with Monopoly and Clue, the original ones, but there are so many variations of them out there to try to appeal to broader audiences. Video games is another medium these companies can use to reach out to people to play their games. It does seem rather sudden that we’re hearing so much about them, but it’ll be interesting to see how they pan out.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Interesting most definitely. Monopoly is one of my favorite games and I love to collect the different versions. Having it on the Switch will be fun because then, I assume, I can play with CPU characters in case no one else wants to play with me. Not to mention, we now have the online membership for the Switch. I assume we’ll be able to play board games with friends.

krismii
Oh, I forgot about the online membership! We should probably use that more… Anyway, yeah, how fun would it be to play Monopoly with our Switch friends? Of course, part of Monopoly’s charm is yelling at each other across the board for screwing each other with hotels on properties, but it’d still be a fun thought. I wonder what other kind of board games will come to the Switch… Life, maybe?

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Life was a good game! But yeah, I’d love to play Monopoly with some of our gamer/blogging friends who aren’t near us. This may very well be the start of something new.

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