Spellevate

Contributed by Jared McComb

SPELLEVATE Spellevate is a game for 3 or more players that uses Bananagrams tiles. For most games a single set of 144 tiles will be sufficient but for larger groups a Double Bananagrams set might be better-suited. (The same game could be played with any large enough set of alphabet tiles or cards. Any blanks or wild tiles should be removed.)

This is a climbing game and as such the goal is to get rid of all your tiles first. To determine who goes first for the first round, have everyone pick a tile out of the set. The letter closest to Z goes first. Redraw for ties. After this, whoever won the previous round gets to go first. Shuffle the tiles and deal all of them to the players, starting with whoever will go first. This way, if the tiles don't divide evenly, the players at the end of the deal will have one fewer tile than those at the beginning of the deal.

Before playing, make sure everyone is in agreement over what words are legal (for example, whether proper nouns and names will be).

As in other climbing games, the goal is to get rid of your hand by playing out valid combinations that beat the previous one on the table. The first player may lead with either a single letter or a word. If you cannot or do not wish to play on your turn (not including leading) you may pass. If single letters are in play, you must play another single letter that is later in the alphabet. So, for example, C beats B, which beats A. So of course Z is then the highest. If words are in play, you must play another word of the exact same length which is alphabetically later than the current word. So, for example, CASE beats BASE but is beaten by CROW. The first player to go out wins the round.

If playing for score, record the number of tiles remaining in each opponents' hand. The winner scores one point for each unplayed tile, and other players are penalized one point for each unplayed tile in their own hands. Thus, the sum of the scores is always 0.