‘Anomia X’: A More Adult Version of ‘Anomia’

Gaming Tabletop Games
Image: Anomia

Anomia is a fun game of categories, reaction time, furious action, laughter, and outwitting your friends. Anomia X is a more adult-oriented version of this now-classic game.

What is Anomia X?

Anomia X is the grown-up version of Anomia. Anomia X is for 3-6 players aged 17 and up, and each round lasts about 25 minutes. Don’t play this one with your little kids, folks. Unless you’re prepared to answer a lot of questions. Check Amazon for the current price.

In it, players quickly flip over a card in front of them, in turn. If the pattern on the card matches the pattern on an already-turned-over card in front of another player, those two players must race to give a word that fits their opponent’s category. Whoever says a qualifying answer first takes their opponent’s card. The person with the most cards in the end wins.

Anomia X Components

Anomia X game
Some sample cards and category patterns. Photo: Jenny Bristol

This game comes with four decks of cards with different colored Xs on their backs. The face of each card shows a colorful pattern and a word or phrase (such as “Terrible Way to Die”). Each deck also has seven wild cards, along with two blank cards to create your own categories. Each deck has unique content, but the play for each is the same. Just grab a different deck each time and the game’s replayability increases. You can also mix and match if you like.

How to Play Anomia X

The Goal

The goal is to end the game having taken the most cards. It’s pretty straightforward.

Anomia X game
An example of a game setup. Photo: Jenny Bristol


Shuffle and place two draw piles in the middle of the table. That’s it to begin. As players begin, they will also create a play pile in front of them and (eventually) have a pile of acquired cards for later scoring.


In turn, players flip over a card from either of the draw piles and place it in front of them, on top of any cards that are already there. (If you flip over a Wild Card near the beginning of the game, set it aside and draw again.) If the pattern matches a pattern already revealed in front of another player, it’s time for a Face-Off between you. Race to give an example of the person, place, or thing that fits the category of your opponent’s card. Whoever calls one out first takes their opponent’s card and puts it in their scoring pile. Then play continues with the next player turning over a card.

Once a Face-Off has occurred, a new card pattern is usually exposed underneath the losing Face-Off card, which can cause a cascade of Face-Offs. Resolve all these Face-Offs before returning to the “flip a card” phase. It’s easy to lose track of whose turn it is, so using a turn indicator can be helpful in this game. (You must provide your own. The rules suggest a salt shaker or coin.)

After the first round, if a Wild Card is flipped over, place it in the middle of the table between the draw piles. Wild Cards show two different symbols, which now, if both are showing on the table, trigger a Face-Off. The Wild Card stays in play until a new Wild Card is drawn and placed on top of the old one. The person who draws a Wild Card then draws another card.

Note: Be sure to flip over your card quickly and away from you so that you don’t get a slight advantage over your opponents when looking for a pattern match.

You can read the full rules here.

Game End

The game is over when both of the draw piles are used up. The player with the most taken cards wins the round. You can then play again, with either the same deck or one of the other decks, as they all have unique cards.

What’s New in Anomia X?

The gameplay in Anomia X is the same as the other Anomia games. The only difference is that the card categories include many that are inappropriate for children. It’s not not as NSFW as Cards Against Humanity), but Anomia X has removed its filters. You’re free to make more inappropriate references, use bathroom humor, and add in a bit of innuendo.

Why You Should Play Anomia X

Anomia X is a rollicking good time. Grab a bunch of players who aren’t easily offended and dive in. The game is designed to learn as you go, so there is a shallow learning curve for new players, making it great for any game night or family gathering (but know your family before bringing this version out). This fast-thinking game will test your reaction time while making everyone at the table laugh. It also works as a palate cleanser between longer or more serious games.

Anomia X is great fun for groups of grownups who love to laugh and enjoy quick-moving short-ish card games. Play it at the grownup’s table this holiday season!

See my rundown of the original Anomia version and Anomia Party Edition in my previous GeekDad review.

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Note: I received a copy of the game for review purposes.

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