20 July 2017
Match a match with this simple party game
Anomia follows in the tradition of incredibly simple party games that are equally suitable for families playing with young kids or adults looking for something to play over a few drinks that has a little more brains than the average chug-a-thon.
The rules are very one-note, being essentially a cross between the drinking game ‘Categories’ and Snap variants such as Slapjack: each player draws a card from two central decks and flips it face-up in front of them. On each card is a symbol and a general topic; if you match icons with another player, the first person to call out something that relates to their opponent’s category wins that card.
With such a base set of rules, the game lives or dies by its choice of subjects. Luckily, the topics are varied enough to be both amusing and brainteasing without becoming overly obscure or resulting in awkward thinking silences. There are some unexpected but straightforward groups – such as naming a battery size or famous ghost – mixed in with a few more challenging options, such as blurting out a palindrome. Wild cards further spice up the reaction race, resulting in the temporary ability for two different symbols to count as a match, meaning you’ll need to stay on your mental toes.
The cards are a little on the thin side and favour clarity over visual flair, adopting a plain design with the symbol and text on a blank background. Although uninspiring, this fits the fast-paced format perfectly – it’s very easy to spot a match and identify the topic needed to win. (Although thinking up an answer isn’t always as snappy…)
With 92 cards and categories in the box – plus the variation of players perceiving each prompt differently – there’s a bit of longevity in Anomia, but it’s unlikely to outlive a dozen or so plays, especially with the same group. Still, at just over a tenner, it’s a good bit of cheap entertainment with zero effort required, whether you’re filling a few minutes with the kids or looking for a laugh over a couple of drinks.
Time: 30 minutes
This review originally appeared in the June/July 2017 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here – or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.
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