How to Play
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Variations & House Rules for Anomia
Here are a few other ways to play Anomia. If you have other ideas please contact us, we'd love to hear them!
It's definitely possible to play Anomia with only two players, and it's pretty fun, too. First, we suggest you make yourself familiar with how a three to six player game works. Once you understand that, you can start a two player game by simply having each player maintain two separate Play Piles.
When it's your turn, draw a card from either Draw Pile, and quickly flip it face up on either of your play piles. If the symbol on your drawn card matches one of your opponent’s symbols, then you must face off with your opponent, just like in a three to six player game. However, if the symbol on the card you draw matches the top card in your own (second) play pile, then EITHER player may attempt to give an answer for the newly drawn card. Whichever player yells out a correct answer first wins the Face-Off (and the card).
We recently found another way to play via TikTok. In this version, the two players flip over one card at a time, and both players try to (telepathically!) come up with the same answer for the card.
I learned this one from a couple of Pax Unplugged attendees in 2022. Divide the deck into 2 piles, then both players start quickly flipping over cards one at a time till there is a match. As soon as there is a match, face-off as per usual. Wild Cards are placed in the center when they come along. Super fun!
PLAYING WITH YOUNGER KIDS
If you want to include younger kids in a round of Anomia, try assigning them a single category for the entire game. For instance, a 6 year old could participate by being on the hook for giving an example of an animal, or a food, for the entire round. Older kids and adults will still have to respond to the specific category offered up by their opponents card but younger kids can just focus on symbol matches and their single category. We got this suggestion from an avid fan, and think it's a great idea!
WILD CARD VARIATION
Normally, when a Wild Card is drawn it's placed in the center of the table and remains there until it is covered by the next Wild Card. However, you can also play where, if the Wild Card causes a Face-Off, then the winner takes the Wild Card and adds it to their Winning Pile, instead of taking the top card from the loser's Play Pile.
The only downside to this variation is that the Wild Card doesn't linger in the middle of the table causing all manner of chaos and confusion.
Consider upping the ante by requiring players to name two or three examples (your choice) for each Face-Off. Instead of just blurting out a single answer, you must be the first to blurt out two (or three) correct answers.
Got more than 6 people? You can team up with another player and share a Play Pile. Potentially you could have as many as 12 people playing at once, 2 people to each team. This is also a great way to include younger kids.
Alternately, you may play with more than the recommended maximum of six players. Just know that having more than eight players means that there probably won't be any revealed matches/cascades in this scenario.
I've gotten a few comments from players saying that they enjoy letting the group decide who wins a Face-Off based on the "best" answer. Instead of just being the first to blurt out a correct answer, you can only win a face-off by giving an answer that the rest of the players agree is the better of the two examples given in a Face-Off. The group must determine what the criterion for “best” answer is; a few possible options might be funniest, dumbest, smartest, most obvious, most obscure, etc...
If you come up with any other ways to play, we'd love to hear about them!