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From the online rules: “At any time during the game, you may call out “DUMP!” and put one of your letters back, facedown in the BUNCH. However, you MUST take three more tiles in exchange!”

While it is not specifically stated in the rules, they seem to imply that “peeling” from the bunch should be random. However, anyone who’s played bananagrams knows that the peeling isn’t always completely random (unless all the tiles are shuffled every time a tile is discarded, which is somewhat impractical) and that discarding can often be done more or less strategically.

Examples of this are discarding a “hard” letter like “Q” close to where your opponents have been peeling from (to get them to pick it), or discarding an “easier” letter in a specific location for you to use later in the game (like right at the end when picking a bad letter can be fatal). Or simply remembering where you discarded a hard letter to make sure you don’t pick it up again.

While there is nothing in the rules that forbids this, it goes against the idea that peeling should be random. One way to avoid this entirely would be to put the bunch in a large container where discarding would automatically shuffle them (like a large pouch or a hat), even though the rules suggest you should have them facedown on the table. But this “strategic dumping” approach could also be incorporated as part of the game, since it does require some skill to keep track of where tiles are (it becomes analogous to card counting). And also, no one is stopping a player at anytime from shuffling all the tiles to prevent this.

What are people’s thoughts on this? Do you embrace this dumping strategy or do you consider it to be cheating? If so, how do you prevent it?

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It is not cheating.

The rules as you state just say peeling is taking a tile from anywhere and dumping in placing a tile in a Bunch and taking three tiles back.

The rules at no point say the Bunch is shuffled.

So if a player chooses to do as you say 'a strategic dump' there is nothing in the rules to prevent this. If in a speed of the game a player can recall what tiles were placed back where they there is nothing to prevent this, although I would suggest its a tricky thing to do.

However you also say "And also, no one is stopping a player at anytime from shuffling all the tiles to prevent this." I would argue that that IS cheating. The rules state only peeling and dumping is allowed. Nothing in the rules permits a player from shuffling the tiles during play.

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    It might be worth noting that an attentive player could take mental note of other players' strategic dumps in order to avoid them. When I play, I try to take tiles unpredictably around the pile. Jun 7 at 23:28

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