Since its original appearance in 2010, Andrew Innes' speed matching/general knowledge game has spawned countless editions. Shown here on Board's Eye View is the latest version from Coiledspring Games.
Anomia comprises a large deck of cards, or in this case two decks. The cards each have a symbol and a descriptor on them. Players - the rules suggest 3–6 but you could easily play with more - take turns flipping a card from a face-down stack and playing it to a pile in front of them. When a card is revealed that has a symbol on it matching one of those on top of another player's pile, the two players with matching symbols race to name something that meets the descriptor on the other player's card. The player that is quickest wins and takes the opponent's card. And if that reveals another match, then again the players with the matching symbols are immediately thrown into a similar race.
That's really all there is to it. It's essentially a variant on the simple children's card game Snap!, except that rushing to meet a descriptor on your opponent's rather than your own card can be surprisingly hard when you've previously been focused on the symbols rather than the words. The game demands a leap in mental dexterity such that even the most eloquent wordsmith can find themselves tongue tied, and players tripping over themselves is what makes this high-speed party game so much fun. The descriptors on the cards are incredibly varied and none demand an extensive vocabulary or general knowledge: the game is entirely about quick thinking rather than what you know.
This new Coiledspring edition boasts 'over 1 million copies sold' and, once you play Anomia, its resounding 'best-seller' status will come as no surprise. This is a game that has no rules overhead. Anyone who has ever played Snap! will understand how the game works. And part of the fun is discovering that what sounds almost insultingly simple is actually harder to win at than you thought possible. Like Stroop (Grand Gamers Guild), which we first featured on Board's Eye View four years ago, Anomia is a clever exercise in creative cognitive dissonance. More important tho', it's a great party game that anyone and everyone can play.
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