family playing anomia cards

Anomia: At a Loss for Words?

People who love word games, or have played word association games, will find a whole new way to be challenged when they play the Anomia card game. It requires you to quickly face off against opponents, maximize your internal word finding skills, dig deep into your memory, and strategize on the fly as the play pile of cards keeps changing. For a fun party game with a new take on word games, you should be playing Anomia!

What is the Anomia Card Game?

Anomia Press was launched by Andrew Innes in 2009. To date, the original and the spin off Anomia games have sold more than one million copies. It’s a card match game that requires players to quickly face off against their opponents by being first to say the correct answer to beat them.

Available for purchase are (photo credit for game images:

  • Anomia : The original where “common knowledge becomes uncommonly fun.”Anomia classic
  • Anomia Pop Culture : This version features more than 200 categories including pop songs, movies, and popular videos.Anomia Pop Culture
  • Anomia Party Edition : The ultimate fun party game with six new decks, 425 category cards, and blank cards to add your own twist.Anomia Party Edition
  • Anomia Kids : There is no reading involved, so younger players decipher a card that simply has graphics.Anomia Kids
  • Anomia X : Hey, if kids get their own version, why shouldn’t adults? Anomia X is where “common knowledge becomes entirely inappropriate!” Play this version among adults who have a dirty mind and a sense of humor.Anomia X
  • Duple : A slight departure from the classic Anomia structure, Duple is a word-bending game designed for mixed-age playing. This makes it ideal for your family’s game shelf when you have children of varying ages.Duple

How to Play Anomia

Our minds are positively brimming with random information, from food to pop songs to toys. You will quickly discover how your brain works under pressure, and the limits of your memory, in this exciting and hilarious game. This game is for ages 10 and up (Anomia Kids is for 5+), offers a playtime of 20-30 minutes, and is great as a family game or to play among friends.

Anomia is easy to understand. Simply flip cards and match symbols with other players. When you match, race to give an example of the category on your opponent’s card. It may sound simple, but wild cards added to the center pile provide unexpected twists and losing a card can lead to intense face-offs. Stay alert, because it could be your turn at any moment!

Since the object is to match category cards and blurt out the right answer, drawing continues even after a card match has been made. For example, two players finish their face off. The player that won the face off receives the top card from their opponent’s side. However, this reveals a new top card on the stack. If that new top card is a match for the card of any other player, those two players are now immediately in a face off – superseding the turn-by-turn play of the game.

What if you give a wrong answer? A common house rule is, once an answer has been spoken aloud, right or wrong, it cannot be used again! So, if you matched the symbol on a player’s card and the category was frozen food, and you meant to blurt out something to eat but said the name of a website or a toy instead, you cannot use the wrong answer again, even if it is the right answer for a different face off.

You’ll feel your brain melt as you struggle to recall basic names, places, food, toys… the answers to otherwise easy questions! However, that is exactly what makes Anomia so much fun. It is a unique challenge that forces your brain to think up examples under pressure if you want to win. It sounds simple… but it’s not.

questions, man, head

At a Loss for Words

Your brain is positively brimming with random information, because that is how the brain works under normal circumstances. However, having to answer questions under pressure – and having to answer knowing your next turn could trigger at any moment – means your brain reacts differently than it would under normal circumstances.

Let’s drill down on why this game that seems so simple – just match the symbol and say the word – is such a fun and rewarding challenge.

 Quick Thinking and Memory

Anomia challenges players’ quick thinking and memory skills. The game requires players to quickly associate symbols on the cards with specific categories. This fast-paced nature of the game can make it difficult to recall and match the correct associations within the given time limit. Seeing your friends become flustered and tongue-tied is a lot of fun.

Mental Agility

Anomia tests players’ mental agility by requiring them to rapidly switch their focus between different symbols and categories. This cognitive flexibility can be challenging, especially when players are under the pressure of time or competing against others while having to search their own brain for the answer.

 Simultaneous Play and Competition

Anomia’s fast play and instant face offs create a sense of competition and urgency. The pressure to think quickly and shout out the correct association to match the sign before their opponent’s memory kicks into play adds a complex layer of challenge to the game.

 Word Retrieval Difficulty

Anomia can be challenging due to its reliance on word retrieval. The game often puts players on the spot, making it harder to access and express the example word quickly. Where it is easy to come up with word associations when there is no pressure, it is very hard to do when coming up with the right answer faster than other players means winning the game.

intelligence, brain, thinking

Play Anomia Today

Anomia is not just fun. It’s educational. In fact, there are Anomia lesson plans so teachers can use this card match game as a tool in the classroom. There is no price on the lesson plans. Simply download the plan you need. If Anomia is good enough to further the education of the next generation, it is certainly a good tool for family or friends to play and boost brain power while having fun.

Anomia lesson plans


With each card you draw, you’ll be searching your memory for words you know you know… but are escaping you in the moment. You become that person that person that is stuttering and at a loss for words, but the only thing that matters is – will your memory kick in before the other player has an answer and a match? And can you keep up as lost cards leave your hand while drawing continues and more matches are made?

Only one way to find out! Play Anomia today and test the limits of your memory.

Bonus Tip

Want to play Anomia right now? You can, thanks to Anomia Print & Play. Choose a deck or customize your own.

Anomia print and play