Had a lightning bolt struck Abe Nathanson between the eyes that day, the outcome could hardly have been more, shall we say, fruitful. Four summers ago, a frustrated Nathanson was sitting at his dining room table, having lost yet another Scrabble game to his 11-year-old grandson, Aaron. It wasn’t the loss that bothered Nathanson so much. It was the two hours it had taken to play the game.
Staring at his letter tiles, Nathanson said, “We need an anagrams game so fast, it’ll drive you bananas.’’ As the words came tumbling out, he began rearranging them in his head. Anagrams. Bananas. Bananagrams.
In a flash, Nathanson had conceptualized one of the hottest games to hit the toy market in years. Simple in design – no batteries, control sticks, cards, dice, or game board – yet challenging enough for grown-ups to play, Bananagrams is a fast-paced family word game packed inside a banana-shaped yellow pouch. Named “Game of the Year’’ at the 2009 Toy Fair, it’s expected to sell 2 million units this year in the US alone. Worldwide, Bananagrams is currently available in 21 countries and six languages. It even boasts its own iPhone app and Facebook page.