It’s always a good idea to have quality party games handy. In the past, classics like Scattegories and Pictionary have dominated the space for ages, but as board games continue to grow in popularity and mature with interesting gameplay mechanics, the party game genre is also growing with it. Anomia is one such title that is very different from anything else I’ve played. But is it good enough to break out when your parents are over?
Anomia is a very easy game to set up and teach. You start off by setting up two decks at the centre of the table. Each player takes one card off the top of the deck of their choice and displays it in front of them. Each card have has a noun and a symbol on it. If someone reveals a card with the same symbol as someone else, they must quickly name an example of the other person’s noun before their opponent names an example of theirs to score the point.
Let’s use the above image as an example. Player A draws Laundry Detergent. Then Player B draws Broadway Musical. Player A must now name a Broadway musical while player B must name a brand of laundry detergent. It’s a neat gameplay mechanic that will lead to many hilarious situations and the blurting out of random jibberish.
This game makes a great first impression. Our first few plays with it were really fun and worked well with a casual audience. However, its staying power is highly suspect. Once you’ve played through the decks once, people will start to have a go-to answer for every card. It’s a sound strategy for winning the game, but it undermines the core experience. As such, this one burns out far quicker than it should.
I like the core concept behind Anomia, but it also dies by the same principle that makes the game tick. Once players have come up with their go-to answers, then there isn’t much incentive to play. If you can break this out at enough occasions with fresh faces, you’ll likely get your $10 worth. It’s definitely worth playing, but it’s short shelf life may make it hard to justify a purchase.