So I was surprised to see a patent number on my Banagrams game.
The game pieces are just 144 letter tiles. Nothing new there.
There aren't many rules to the game either -- just five in number, adding up to around 350 words of text. While clever and fun, also not really anything profoundly new.
So I looked up the patent number and wouldn't you know, the patent is for the banana-shaped pouch the game comes in!
This actually makes a lot of sense, when I think about it, because as clever as the game is, and it is fun, I think the main reason why it took off was the clever marketing. Like a lot of the other popular "fad" game over the last few decades, the game combines a very simple mechanic with a very high-quality presentation and clever marketing gimmick to stand out from the crowd, This isn't to imply the game isn't fun, it is, and marketing alone won't turn a turd into a triumph. But there isn't really a deep game there and I don't think Bananagrams will end up with the kind of devoted following that Scrabble has.
Here's what the pouch looks like in the patent application:
|US Patent No. D551,451S|