Considering our celebration of simulation games this month, we figured playing “Would You Rather” with an emphasis on the Sims franchise was appropriate. With everything you can do in the Sims games, there are plenty of ideas and what if scenarios for it. Starting off simple, Rachel, would you rather play the Sims by recreating yourself or creating brand new characters?
I would rather create myself. I like to give myself the life I believe I deserve which is an insta-writer and I can be a hermit. Kris, would you rather play the 100 Baby Challenge or challenge yourself to create every kind of ghost in The Sims?
I would go with the 100 Baby Challenge. Unlike most Sim players, I don’t particularly relish in the idea of killing everyone off on purpose, haha! That does sound interesting, though, to be honest. Rachel, would you rather play the Sims 3 with all of the expansion packs or just the base game of the Sims 4?
Um… I love the expansion packs, but there’s still a lot to do in The Sims within the base game. I think I would rather stick to The Sims 4 over The Sims 3. Similarly, would you rather only play The Sims 2 for the rest of your life or The Sims 4?
That’s actually a tough one. I enjoy the more controlled aspects of the Sims 2, but the Sims 4 definitely has more options when it comes to your sims. I think I would choose the Sims 4 as well, with its additional mechanics. Would you rather always have to find a creative way to kill your sims as soon as they become elders or would you rather be forced to finish playing only as them until they die naturally?
I’d rather play with my elderly sims until they die from old age… or they accidentally electrocute themselves. I’d rather squeeze as much gameplay from each of my sims as possible. Finally, if you were to get sucked in a Sims game would you rather be aware of it and be controlled by the player – whoever that may be – or would you rather be unaware that you’re living as a sim being able to make some of your own decisions but still being controlled by someone else for the most part?
Oh, God, that sounds like some sort of horror movie. I would probably rather be unaware and blissfully believe that I’m in control of my own life. It sounds rather much like today’s world, anyway, with my job and such, haha!
What are your answers? Do you have any other questions for us? Let us know about them in the comments below! If you like this post, please share it around.
I apologize for no solo posts last week. This whole virus nonsense has been throwing many people — myself included — for a loop, particularly where my day job is concerned. Diving into video games has been my go-to coping method.
When Rachel and I decided to do a themed month of posts for March, the simulation genre was picked because it is genuinely one of our favorite genres of games, especially since we started Double Jump. Considering what state the world is in right now, it seems particularly fitting.
One of the reasons that people enjoy simulation games is the fact that you are in control. In the Sims, you micromanage everything about the little avatars’ existences, from who they fall in love with to when they’re allowed to use the restroom. Business simulation games — Game Dev Tycoon or Rollercoaster Tycoon, for example — allows you to create the business that you want. Sure, you may have to bow a bit to the customers, but once you gain enough money from your venture, you’re pretty immune to criticism.
Capitalism at its finest.
We see evidence of this need to be in control happening all around us right now because of a super virus that is sweeping across the globe. Store shelves that used to hold toilet paper are bare because people are panic-buying up the supplies and, honestly, it baffled me as to why toilet paper of all things was being snatched up. I’m starting to understand that, perhaps, it’s not because it’s toilet paper — it’s because this panic-buying gives people some semblance of control. Attempting to be prepared for a month’s isolation, or longer, is the only way that some people can feel like they’re in control of something, that they’re able to beat back this virus.
Escapism is also a reason as to why people play video games, particularly simulation games. I have poured more hours these past couple of weeks into Stardew Valley than I ever have since first getting the game. With the coronovirus in the air, daily life has been odd. We don’t know what’s going to happen. We don’t know what’s going on. Let me dive into a world that does not have super viruses and where I’m able to control the environment around me.
Last week (which is really weird to say, because while this virus has been a thing for the past couple of months, it has only hit my city and state within the past couple of weeks), my day job has had little containers of hand sanitizer on the counter for both ourselves and our customers, particularly since we handle cash on a daily basis. There have been too many people asking where we found the hand sanitizer because, “it’s like liquid gold!” and we’ve been fortunate that people take it to heart when I tell them that, “You can’t steal it, you need to share.”
Because, like buying 96 rolls of toilet paper and the entire meat section in the local supermarket, this is something that we can control. Help each other out. Share resources. Check in on your neighbors. Be conscious of both social distancing and if there is anything you can do to help and share compassion.
The world may be going to Hell in a hand-basket but we’re all here together on this ride. Let’s try to remember that.
Why do you play video games?Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.
Considering the holidays in December, we picked our campaign back up in January. Our January session of our campaign had us leaving Cragmaw Castle. We did not explore the whole castle since we, you know, somehow found what we needed within our last session quick enough. Since we didn’t fully explore the place, our DM threw a couple of random encounters at us to help us get some more experience points. We diplomatically avoided a fight with a few hobgoblins and wolves, haha, but we had to fight an ogre so we could level up. From there, we gathered up a few supplies and made our way to the next — and potentially last — leg of our journey to Wave Echo Cave.
Wave Echo Cave was certainly an interesting place. My character isn’t particularly brave and the one time she decided to “take one for the team,” she ended up poisoned. Our group ended up in a mushroom room. Like idiots, instead of turning around, we tried to figure out how to go through the room. Eventually, I had Sapphire attempt to jump on top of a large mushroom so she’d be out of the way of the poisonous smog. Of course, I didn’t roll well and… she got poisoned.
It was a bit of a mess, that room. Our cleric ran through after Sapphire, helping her through the room while managing to avoid being poisoned himself. My ranger was able to just leap majestically across with her high dexterity roll, and our dragonborn rogue rolled high enough (and was tall enough) to avoid the poisonous fumes while carrying our two wolves through the room. I believe our bard managed to avoid getting poisoned as well. After that interesting room, we continued to traverse through the cave and eventually went through a tunnel to stumble down a ravine.
Sapphire was the only one who got poisoned… then we went onto the boss fight for the session where Sapphire got poisoned again. The boss was a spider guy with spider minions – totally gross. While Sapphire kept getting poisoned, she was the only one who didn’t get caught up in the spiders’ webs.
For being probably one of our smallest party members, Sapphire was a beast when it came to avoiding the spider webs that the Dark Elf’s spider minions kept throwing at us. That boss fight was ridiculous, with half of us being stuck to the floor and the wolves just going around trying to help get rid of the webbing. We spent the fight trying to rescue Nundro, the brother of our original dwarf contract, and when we beat the rest of the bad guys, he attacked us. We figured he was possessed and left the session with him tied up, planning on exploring the rest of the cave while trying to figure out how to get him in his right mind again.
Except when we went back to the campaign at our following session, we explored the cave a bit, fought some owlbears, and then found a dwarf… who happened to be Nundro. Apparently, we had rescued a doppelganger instead of Nundro. But it all worked out because we threatened the doppelganger to leave and got the real Nundro to safety.
The conversation between our party members and the doppelganger was ridiculous. It started off with our bard — who apparently had been suspicious of this creature since we met it disguised as a drow at the previous ravine — intimidating the doppelganger enough to try to get some more information regarding an alchemist that we were trying to find. Said alchemist apparently didn’t exist, which we realized later thanks to our cleric’s patron god, but it didn’t stop our questions to the doppelganger going from, “Who are you working for?” to things like, “Where did you come from? Would your parents approve of this lifestyle?”
After a weird conversation, we let the doppelganger go. Hopefully, he won’t cause anymore trouble. We made our way back to town and received our share of the dwarf mines for saving everyone. Then the campaign ended on a somewhat cliffhanger since the starter campaign mentions an alchemist who runs away and is never seen again. But hey, we got our money. So our crew was happy. Thus, ends a year-long campaign. On to the next one!
Who was your first Dungeons & Dragons character? Let us know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around!
The Harvest Moon series — rather, Story of Seasons as it’s called now — was probably my first dip into the simulation video game genre. While I’ve definitely turned my attention more towards Stardew Valley than this series, plenty of Harvest Moon games still hold a special place in my heart.
I honestly haven’t played this game too much, as I prefer my Harvest Moon games on a handheld rather than a bigger console, but I did enjoy what I did play of it. The style of the game is cute and the cast of characters were great. My favorite part of this game? Your marriage and children actually have a bit of substance. Your spouse can help out on the farm or with other chores, and the children actually grow and have some personality.
Island of Happiness/Sunshine Islands
While technically two games, I feel like Sunshine Islands was developed to right all the issues that Island of Happiness had. These games have my favorite cast of characters, and Island of Happiness would have been on this list alone had its controls not been the horrendous touch-screen things. Sunshine Islands wasn’t too bad either, but the plot of raising all the islands was a bit annoying.
Harvest Moon 3D: A New Beginning
This installment in the series deserves a place on this list due to how much time I sunk into it. It was addicting trying to revive the whole town while also being given free reign as to how the town was designed. Being able to move buildings wherever you want, both for the town and the farm, was a great mechanic. This game also had a good online mode as well — it was simple and enabled players to help each other with quality animal products and gifts.
Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town
While Friends of Mineral Town was my first foray into the Harvest Moon series, I enjoyed the female version of the game. This game was just fun in its simplistic way. The only goal was to create a thriving farm and, if you wished, to make friends with the rest of the townsfolk. It was the perfect, no-stress, chill game.
What are your favorite Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons games? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.
Welcome to the first Monday of 2020! I’m being a little nostalgic today, mostly due to the new year and the fact that my birthday is coming up. I started thinking about where my love of gaming all began.
I’m going to be 30 years old this year, at the end of the month, actually. I’ve literally grown up with the internet and video games before me, and I was thinking about when it all started. While I never thought I would outgrow video games, I never expected them to take as much of a priority in my life as they do now.
I’m certain no one in my family thought that, least of all my uncle that mainly introduced me to gaming. Poor Uncle Ricky enjoyed his video games, mostly around the SNES and Nintendo 64 era, and he was probably amused when I used to watch him play games like Super Mario RPG and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. He probably regretted introducing me to gaming when I used to bother him to play, particularly when I would “accidentally” wake him up during his napping for his third-shift at his current job.
(Eight-year-old me thought I was being clever, sneaking up to his room to see if he was awake, but making just enough noise so he’d stir.)
I did learn patience, of course, tending to wait until he was actually awake to play until his job and schedule changed. He wasn’t at my grandparents’ house during the usual hours I was there as often and, like most young men, he had a social life. My mother says I was a bit put off when he started getting serious with my now-aunt. Suddenly there was someone else vying for his attention and supposedly I wasn’t thrilled.
I never hated my aunt, obviously, but my older sister didn’t play many games and Rachel wasn’t old enough to have a steady grip on the controllers just yet.
It was around that time, though, that my uncle gave me the Super Mario RPG game, encouraging me to give it a try on my own. There were parts of the game that I was always nervous to try, restarting the game over every time I reached those certain parts until I learned to have the courage to push past those obstacles, and I try to apply that knowledge, that proud feeling of achievement that little-me had when I beat that game on my own.
He let me play Ocarina of Time at my grandparents house, using his nearly complete file so I could spend my time riding Epona through the vast (to child-me) Hyrule Field. Because of that, I went from the Hyrule Field on the N64 to Breath of the Wild’s expansive world on the Nintendo Switch, and I’m not slowing down anytime soon.
Due to my birthday coming up, the fact that gaming has been a major part of my life is cemented in my mind. Unlike video games, this is my one life, and I’m glad I started down the path I’m on. Being a gamer has done nothing but bring positivity to my life, and it’s only helping me further with my creative pursuits.
Who’d have thought it would all start with me being a little nudge-of-a-child and bothering my uncle to play “the Mario game with the guy in the cool cape?”
What started you on your gamer journey? Are you grateful for that start? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.
The board game Life was a staple in our childhoods. While I don’t remember playing it as often as Monopoly or Clue, it was a fun game with the spinning wheel and the random “life” events as you traversed the board. We recently found a slightly updated version of the game that includes pets.
Yes, we came across this interesting edition of Life when we went to the store with our friend during a weekend getaway. We splurged on the game because… well, who doesn’t want to add pets to their family? By pets, I mean strictly cats and dogs. Don’t think Life has allowed you to add fish or turtles. (Maybe someday.)
It really wasn’t anything special, though. At the beginning of the game, you choose a car and the little peg that represented you to “drive” said car around the board. With the Pets edition, you also just added a cat or dog peg to join you for the ride from the beginning. After that, you decide if you want to enter the workforce immediately after high school or if you want to take the college road to begin the game.
Then you go along the board doing what the cards tell you to do. School, job, house, marriage, kids… other than our initial dog or cat at the beginning of the game, none of us got any other pets. There were spots on the board that allowed us to get another pet or two, but our rolls skipped right over them. Which is fine in a way because the cars weren’t any bigger than they are in the original edition of the game.
The object of the game is to reach retirement with the most equity with your house (or houses, if you happened to have the money to buy more than one), your job’s salary, how many kids you had, etc. It was fairly straightforward with each of us taking turns spinning the wheel and moving the number of spaces, obtaining money, cards, and kids. I’m pretty sure we lamented a couple of times about how simple it was to get money in the game, wishing that real life worked that way, too.
Oh, wouldn’t it be nice if real life worked that way? The game is exactly how I remember it being. Except it was less fun. I don’t know if it’s because I know what real life is actually like and it was more fun when I was younger and to imagine my life actually going the way it did in the game. However, I felt as though the game overall was kind of boring.
I actually didn’t mind the game, but that could also be contributed to the good company I had when playing it (and, also, I believe I won). I liked the idea of the random careers and houses to choose from, as well as the different life events that the board had. In a sense, it felt like the game had more potential and I enjoyed what it could have been if it was executed better. As a simple board game where you spin the wheel and move your car around, it was okay.
I still like the game, of course. I just meant that I feel like it was more fun when we were younger. I think real life ruined me. Of course, we all know in real life our cars would be filled with more pets than anything else.
Life with Pets 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!
Considering the past couple of months have kind of been a blur with holidays (and, admittedly, being low-key obsessed with Pokemon Sword and Shield), I’m looking forward to setting some gaming goals for 2020. There are some games we’ve missed from the past couple of years that I want to try as well as expand the kind of games I play.
2019 was a great year for gamers, but not necessarily for me. It wasn’t kind to my mental health and I went into a long gaming slump. That spark was brought back when Luigi’s Mansion 3 and Pokemon Sword & Shield were released. There are so many games I’m looking forward to in 2020 and games I missed that I still want to give a try.
We definitely did fall off the wayside when it came to gaming for a while. To be honest, though, despite all the games that came out this year, there’s not too many that I was really eager to try, aside from Pokemon and Fire Emblem: Three Houses. I’m not sure if my memories are muddled because of how quickly 2019 went by, particularly this summer and the holidays, or if there really wasn’t anything that tickled my fancy. What games did you miss out on that you still want to try?
I still want to play Cadence of Hyrule, which is the main game that sticks out in my mind. Also, Celeste. I know that’s not a 2019 release, but that game has been in the back of my mind for quite a while. A lot of games that I was truly interested in didn’t come out until the end of the year. Ring Fit Adventure, for example. I just got that for Christmas so I’m a little late with it, but I have it at least.
I completely forgot about Cadence of Hyrule. Looking up a list of 2019 game releases, I’m remembering how I wanted to try Anthem and Planet Zoo, to name a couple of games. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 was up there as well, but at least I received that for Christmas, so like you with Ring Fit Adventure, at least we have it. I’m a bit disappointed that I have yet to beat the other routes for Three Houses, as well. For 2020, there are plenty of games on my radar and I’m hoping to be able to play more than what I had in 2019.
Oh, yeah. I forgot about Planet Zoo as well. That seemed like it would have been interesting. 2020 seems like it’s going to be a pretty interesting year for gaming. I feel like I already have a backlog of games for the year. Kris, do you have any special goals or anything you’d like to accomplish when it comes to gaming?
As contradictory as this may sound, I really want to relax and enjoy the games I play this year. While we try to do game reviews a couple of times each month, I don’t want to feel rushed when playing video games. Taking more time to really enjoy the games is going to be a priority so I can improve my writing when it comes to creating blog posts. Basically, take my time with games as much as I can and improve the quality of my writing. What about you, Rachel?
I agree with that. I more or less just want to get back into the routine of playing games again. On the flip side, I’d like to find a balance between old games and the new ones coming out. I don’t want to rush the games either, but I’d like to play through a lot of older games and maybe even go back to some I’ve played and loved but haven’t been able to play again.
Playing more in general is a good goal, haha! I agree with finding a balance between old favorites and new games. It’s easy to get burned out by playing only new games since each has a learning curve and challenges. While those challenges are hopefully fun, taking breaks with familiar games is a good way to take care of yourself as well.
Exactly. I’m looking forward to Animal Crossing New Horizons in the coming months and would love to play the old games again. Also, Paper Mario. I haven’t played Paper Mario for a long time. Regardless, I think 2020 will be a great year for gaming.
What are your gaming goals for the new year? Let us know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around!
Our good friend Jett over at In Third Person sent us a fun game called Exit The Game: The Sinister Mansion. There are quite a few of these games and while we’ve seen them around our local stores, we never picked it up with the intention of going back to it later. Now we finally had a chance to try the game out.
We played it when we went away with another friend for the weekend, and I was delegated to reading the directions and setting stuff up. Considering most of the supplies, as few as they were, were supposed to be a secret until you have reached that point in the game, there wasn’t much to do other than arrange the riddle and hint cards into their respective piles. The answer to each riddle gave you a three-digit code which, when put into the disk decoder, pointed you in the direction of the next riddle. In order to escape the mansion, we needed to solve all of the riddles and move through the rooms.
If Kris didn’t set it up, we wouldn’t have played. I would have accidentally spoiled it for myself by looking at something I shouldn’t have or I’d be too confused about it all and give up before the game even started. When we were presented with the first riddle, all three of us were confused and stared at each other – I think secretly hoping the others understood the question.
After a few minutes, we did eventually start to get it, even if we had a difficult time figuring out the answer. All of the riddles’ answers were presented to us, but some of them had unorthodox methods of solving, such as ripping up some other cards and going back to previous riddles to help us figure out the answers. It was definitely a challenge, but I enjoyed trying to figure out everything. Yet, I think it would have been more fun if there was more set-up, if you will, to the game. We were comfortably sitting on the couch around the coffee table with all the supplies surrounding us, but for an “escape room,” it seemed odd just sitting there.
I was under the impression that we would need to find materials around our house to, you know, escape the room. While that wasn’t the case, it was still a fun, interactive game. The riddles, while they had hints, didn’t come with directions on how to solve them (obviously) but that’s a reason I wouldn’t be able to play myself. I’d use up every hint and still lose. But one fun part about playing with others was that we all interpreted the riddles differently sometimes. It helped us all think outside the box and view the riddles from a different angle.
I believed that the person reading the directions would help set up stuff around the house as well. Still, it was a fun activity and it’s good to know that, between Rachel, our friend, and me, we’d be able to escape a creepy mansion, with a few hints here and there, of course. Even with all three of us, though, we did miss a couple of supplies that the game provided. For example, a riddle needed a clock face and we tried to sketch one out on paper to find the answer. Much later, we realized that there was a ready clock face provided to us on the back of the decoder circle.
Oh, right. I forgot about the clock. In the house we were in, the only non-digital clock that had a face was hanging high above the wall. Otherwise we would have taken it down and used that as a prop. We somehow got the right answer though. See? Thinking outside the box!
Speaking of thinking outside the box, my favorite instance of that was our friend totally skipping a couple of steps during the last riddle to actually escape the manor. We were supposed to use a paper door and peephole to find a code, but she kind of just ignored the code, found the number we were looking for, and we were free! The ranking of how well your group does is based on how long it takes you to escape the manor — we took a little over an hour and a half — as well as how many hint cards you had used. I can’t remember what exactly our rank was, but it was average, I believe. It was a fun thing to do, but due to ruining some of the supplies in the process and, of course, figuring out the riddles, it’s a game you can only play once. Still, give these games a try if you have the opportunity!
Have you ever tried a game from The Exit series? What did you think? If you liked this post, please share it around!
The Game Awards are the equivalent to the Emmys or the Oscars but for video games. This awards show was founded and is hosted by the lovely Geoff Keighley and this was its fifth year running. The Game Awards is something I tend to look forward to every December because I think it’s great the gaming industry and the creative people behind these games are being recognized and get a chance in the spotlight. Plus, we get sneak peeks at what games (and consoles) are to come soon.
The show as a whole is well-done. I can’t imagine all the preparation and hard work that goes into creating this event, and I have to give everyone who had a hand in it applause. With that said… I wasn’t thrilled with the show this year. I’ll acknowledge that most of it were probably due to my personal gaming preferences. However, I feel as if most of the games that premiered involved too many dark openings, ominous narration, and gore. I don’t mind seeing a bit of fake blood in games, but when the majority of the world premieres show that off? I tune out.
I agree. Every world premiere seemed to be the same game showcased over again. That is our gaming preferences and likes and dislikes. I don’t like games that have a lot of violence and blood and such. So, when just about every game that was announced revolved around that? 2020 isn’t looking like a fun year for me gaming-wise. On the flip side, none of those games included Nintendo really. Nintendo was barely in the show at all and didn’t announce anything at all and that’s what I really want to see. However, given that Nintendo just had their Indie World direct and typically have a direct in January, I bet Nintendo is biding their time and will blow everything else out of the water.
I’m sure Nintendo will have something special soon enough. It’s a company that enjoys surprising its fans like that! Aside from the live musical performances and the global gaming citizen segments, there really wasn’t much for us at the Game Awards. I was thrilled to see Gris and Fire Emblem: Three Houses win a couple of awards — including the latter winning the Player’s Voice despite not getting a Game of the Year nominee — and seeing Reggie back up on the stage was fantastic.
Yes, it was great to see Gris and Fire Emblem: Three Houses win. Luigi’s Mansion 3 also got some recognition for being the best family game, which was nice to see. Smash Ultimate also got the best fighting game award. Other than those games, though, I haven’t played anything else and some games I hadn’t even heard of. Regardless, congrats to all the games, devs, publishers, teams, whathaveyou, on their awards. Everyone in the gaming industry truly works hard and deserves it.
Everyone does deserve the recognition for their hard work they do, and I’m glad that the Game Awards can give them it. It’s a shame, though, that some of the awards are given just in passing while others have a bit more fanfare. I admittedly almost forgot about the best family game award because it was just stated rather than given a bigger segment. With that said, we were a bit let down by the show this year. There wasn’t much for us in terms of announcements, and I feel like the pacing of the show could have been better. I believe the show could have ended with a bang if the next Xbox console, for example, was shown off last.
Yes, I don’t understand why some awards are passed off rapid-fire. I guess it’s to save a bit of time – the show is about three hours, after all. But what makes one award “better” over the other? Maybe it’s the people they’re able to get to actually come in person to receive the award or something? I don’t know. And the balance was certainly off. They announced the big things at the beginning of the show – the Xbox X, for example – leaving the rest of the show lackluster. One last thing: this may be a nitpick of mine and I have nothing against Vin Diesel, but… why they chose him of all people to announce the Game of The Year… I’ll never know.
Saving time is a valid reason, yes, but I agree that I’m not sure what makes one award better than the other. Vin Diesel didn’t do anything for me either. I completely zoned out, and I didn’t care for the game that won the award either, although I know plenty of people enjoyed Sekiro. The presenters and announcers weren’t bad, but of course my favorites were Reggie and Ikumi Nakamura. I have nothing against Geoff Keighley, he does fantastic work and I enjoy him as a host, but I was way more interested in seeing Reggie and Ikumi Nakamura announce and present, haha! The best thing about the show this year was hanging out in a Twitch chat with Jett, Ian, and Hannie. I think chatting with some good friends was definitely the best part of the night (although Reggie was a close second).
The chat helped for sure. Otherwise, I would have turned off the awards show long before it was over. I think the main reason I was so bummed by the show was that it wasn’t balanced well with big and small news and there was such a lack of Nintendo stuff. Of course, I’m going to pretend that means Nintendo has something big up their sleeve. Overall, the show wasn’t bad. Everyone who worked on the show as a whole plus all the winners and nominees definitely deserve recognition. I’ll still look forward to next year’s show.
Agreed. The Game Awards show wasn’t our favorite this year, although it wasn’t for lack of trying on their part. If we actually enjoyed more of the games they spoke of, it may have been better for us. Being mainly Nintendo fans, the short and sweet Nintendo Directs are more up our alley. Still, the balancing definitely could have been better for this years show. We’ll see how they up the ante for next year.
What did you think of the Game Awards this year? Were you pleased with the show and the winners? If you liked this post, please share it around!
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.
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.
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.