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.

rachmii
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.

krismii
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.

krismii
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.

krismii
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.

Have you ever played Bananagrams? Let us know about them in the comments below! If you like this post, please share it around.

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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.

rachmii
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.

krismii
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.

krismii
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…
Skip It | Try It | Buy It

Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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1-2 Switch Party

1-2 Switch Team Battle Mode

rachmii
A couple of weekends ago, we had our three cousins over for a sleepover while our aunt and uncle had a wedding to go to out of town. They have three boys, the twins are 14 and their little brother is 10. They love video games like us (in fact, this uncle is the one who got us into video games many years ago). They don’t have the Nintendo Switch and we thought we’d spend the weekend playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. The youngest wanted to try 1-2 Switch, despite the four of us groaning. But guess what? We ended up spending the weekend playing 1-2 Switch. And we actually had a pretty good time.

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Remember our initial review of 1-2 Switch? Those points still stand, but at least the game got some good use during that weekend! It’s a ridiculous game that still isn’t worth the price it has, but it was definitely amusing watching and playing with the boys. I honestly didn’t play too much, still not interested in the game at all aside from a couple of the mini-games, but hearing the boys laughing due to how much fun they were having while playing (and, to be honest, mocking) the game was awesome.

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We ended up playing the Team Battle mode, which was something we hadn’t tried before. It was just the two of us playing so we didn’t see reason to try to team. The three boys and I played 2-v-2 and it was actually more exciting than I thought it would be. It’s like a board game and you play one of the minigames to decide to who goes first. Whoever wins, spins the wheel. They move the number of spaces the wheel lands on (1-5). Each space is a game. You play it and whoever wins, gets to spin next. Whoever makes it to the goal first, wins.

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The wheel also has a space to switch to the other team, so even if your team wins and does get to spin the wheel, it may allow the other team to move around the board instead. The board also doesn’t let you repeat minigames, so they don’t become tedious. I played with the boys during the first Team Battle mode, and Rachel was what we had deemed the Wild Card, allowing us to hand off the joy-con to her during a minigame if we believed she could do better than us with it, haha! How many Team Battles did you end up doing with them later that night, Rachel?

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Oh, geez… I don’t even know. The mode was quick with the games being so short and the board itself wasn’t that big (especially if you spin big numbers and skip games you’ve already played). We played a lot of rounds, maybe about 10. And that’s not an exaggeration. It was fun, though. I especially loved watching them play. The game is good when you’re watching others look like idiots. Still, as much fun as we had, there were so many times my team would win the most games, but the other team happened to make it to the goal first. In that case, they won. I think it would have made more sense to win the most games.

krismii
I think it’s one of those games where it’s a risk either way. Kind of like Monopoly or even Mario Kart, where you could be in first the majority of the time, but luck will push you out of the way for someone else. I’m definitely glad the game got some good use of it, though… At the very least, we have an idea of what we can get for the boys whenever they happen to get their own Switch!

Has anyone else actually play 1-2 Switch’s Team Battle mode? Did you get a better appreciation for the game? Let us know in the comments below!

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Achievement Unlocked

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Hi everyone! Apologies for the lack of post today, but we have a very good reason: we’re aunts!

That’s right, our older sister had her first child yesterday, and we were all running around like crazy excited (and a bit terrified) of the fact that we have a nephew. Regular posts will resume tomorrow, and thanks for your understanding while we take the day off to bond with the newest member of our family.