Bananagrams Duel: A Word Game of Speed and Themes | Casual Game Revolution

Bananagrams Duel: A Word Game of Speed and Themes

 Bananagrams Duel

How fast can you come up with words and fit them into a grid? Can you follow the theme and use all twelve of your dice faster than your opponent?

Duel is a two player, very compact, adaptation of Bananagrams. It takes up little space both on the shelf and on the table.


The game comes with twenty cards with a theme written on each card, and twenty-four letter dice. There are two main modes of game play: classic duel and themed game.

In classic duel, each player takes twelve of the dice. Someone shouts ‘go’, and both players instantly start making words with their dice, turning the dice and searching for letters as they wish. The words must all fit in a grid, connecting and intersecting—similar to Scrabble, a horizontal word and a vertical word can share a letter in the grid. The first player to use all twelve dice in their grid shouts ‘bananas’ and earns a point. All the dice are then returned to the center of table, mixed together, and both players take another set of twelve dice to go another round. The first player to ten points wins the game.

The themed game works the same, except before each round you draw a card. One word in your grid must fit into the theme shown on the card, such as ‘party’ or ‘sci-fi’.

There are some additional variants suggested as well, such as rolling your dice at the start of each round to see what letters you can use, and the winner of the round is the player who uses the most dice in their grid. In another variant, you are not allowed to rotate the dice to find the letters you need but must instead keep rolling them in order to change their letters. There is also a variant in which you earn an extra point for each pair of rhyming words in your grid.

Bananagrams Duel Components


Bananagrams Duel is a light, speedy, and casual word game. As you figure out ways to fit all your dice into the grid, you have to think along creative lines for how to use each one, while the real time aspect of the game keeps the pressure on. The themed version also adds a fun additional challenge, and while there is a good range in the themes included on the cards, it would also be easy to come up with your own.

We liked the versatility of the game, with the two main gameplay variants, as well as the additional suggestions and the flexibility to add even more changes, using both suggestions from the publisher as well as coming up with your own. This allows you to adapt the game to your group as well as adding lots of variety to a small game.

The game is quite compact, both to play and to store. It all comes in one small banana-shaped box that’s easy to pack, and it takes up very little table space when you play. You could easily play this game on a restaurant table or even on an airplane. The components themselves are not the greatest quality; the theme cards are a little flimsy, and the dice not the most solid and fun type to roll. But nothing is badly made, and for eight dollars you get a lot of game.

Simple to learn and challenging to play, Bananagrams Duel is fast and easy to learn. If you just don’t like word games, there’s not likely anything here that’s going to change your mind, although the speed keeps things moving nicely and figuring out ways to connect words in the grid is even more important than coming up with some particularly long or clever word. This would be a great fit if you are looking for something to travel with or a game with minimal setup and take down time for two players.

Pros: Flexibility, takes up minimal table space, speed

Cons: The components are not the highest quality

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.