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ANOMIA: One of the best 'filler' and 'family fun' games in the past decade or two.

Published by the excellent CoiledSpring Games and playable by 3-6 players aged 10+ (we played with an 8 year old who understood the basics but found some of the topics/subjects too hard for them).

If you have ever played and enjoyed the frantically paced card game 'PIT' then here, with ANOMIA, you will find a game that is just as much fun and as enthusiastically crazy. 

In PIT it is a madcap scrabble between all players at once. In ANOMIA the craziness is just between the two players who have cards face up in front of them showing the same symbol as each other.

At the time of writing there are half-a-dozen copies left on Amazon for just £12.09 which is a fair price for a very fair game.

The box is designed to hold the two decks/twin decks of cards, one with a Blue back and one with a Red back; there is also a small folded sheet making 4 sides, 2 of which are the rules of play.

The difference between the two decks is not just the colour as you will discover below.

Each deck contains 100 cards, comprising of 8 Wild (double-categories) cards and 8 different categories sets.

The RED backed deck has the grouping of 4 sets with 11 cards and 4 sets with 12 cards.

The BLUE backed deck has the grouping of 1 set of 10 cards, 2 sets of 11 cards and 5 sets of 12 cards.

I use the word 'unusual' because I would have expected all category sets to have the same number of cards.

Why the weird card make-up I don't know, I have no idea at all. I can't see any logic in it, nor does there appear to be any sort of game device that utilises the different numerical set up. To be fair, until I decided to sit here and count through both decks, I had no idea at all that the categories weren't equally shared out.

It is perfectly feasible to mix both decks together and play a game that is double the 30 minutes expected time, though if you are going to do this it is better to play with 8 or more players - the more players the more chaotic it gets, and the more chaotic the more fun.

Play is simplicity itself, all you need to be able to do is turn over the top card from the deck and place it face up in front of you so everyone can see it. If the category/object on the card matches one on display already (in front of another player) then the pair of you have to quickly call out something that associates to the opponent's card, NOT your own card.

Examples can be seen in the photo's I have taken and published. 

You can see that Bicycle Brand and Pizza Topping both have Horseshoe's on them. If you have Bicycle Brand and the opponent has Pizza Topping then you would have to call out something like 'Cheese' or 'Anchovies' or 'Meat Feast' etc and they would have to call out a Bicycle Brand - 'Claude Butler' or 'Rayleigh' or 'BMX' etc. The first one to call out wins the opposing card. If it's deemed to be a draw then someone turns over the top card and the two players involved call out something associated to the new card.

As each player turns over a card it takes the place of the card you have in front of you (top card in your face up stack) - not your reward/won cards. This means that everyone is looking at the card as it is turned to see if it matches their own face up card. Only the players whose cards match are involved in the shout out. However, when one card is removed from a face up stack it often leaves another card face up (sometimes the card removed may be your only face up card) and that may match another card already on display. This can happen multiple times.

If you turn over a Wild Card it is placed in the middle and everyone who has a card that matches one of its categories can win their own card (never the Wild Card). A Wild Card remains in place until another Wild Card is placed on top of it.

Basically, any time there is a pair of matching cards on show the owners are trying to win one of them. When the deck runs out the game ends and the player with the most cards gained from winning the duels wins the game. By this time we have always had so much fun shouting out names, places etc, none of which may have been used before, that winning isn't really the fun part, it's the way you play that truly counts.


© Chris Baylis 2011-2021