Ender Wiggins
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Introducing Say Anything Family Edition



It's no secret that I'm a big fan of the party games put out by North Star Games. Wits & Wagers, Wits & Wagers Family, and Say Anything - I shamelessly plug any of these whenever I can, not just because I enjoy them immensely, but perhaps more importantly because I have had great success in introducing them to a variety of gamers and non-gamers, many of whom have gone on to acquire a copy for themselves.



The friendly guys at North Star know I love their games, so they when their latest game - Say Anything Family Edition - came off the press, they decided to my great pleasure to send me a copy to review. The original game - Say Anything (see my review here) - is a party game where other players write answers to a question asked by another player, and score points by trying to guess which of the answers they think he'll pick. Think: Apples to Apples meets Balderdash meets Wits & Wagers.

Say Anything is a terrific party game, and my family and friends have enjoyed it immensely. Now the original game did work fairly well even with families and children, because there was a selection of questions to pick from on each card, so we could usually find one choice that would work. But a version of the game specifically produced to target the family audience is welcome news indeed! I'm pleased to report that Say Anything Family Edition does not disappoint - read on for all the details!



COMPONENTS

Game box

The family friendly edition of the game features a very sturdy box that's attractive, and arguably a little less garish and `noisy' than its older brother.



But now here's something worth noticing on the spine of the box - a new category of information about the game: teaching time of 2 minutes!



And it really is that simple. In fact, the back of the box practically teaches you how to play:



1. Ask a question from the card you draw.
2. Everyone else writes an answer and turns it face-up.
3. Secretly choose your favorite answer. Then everyone tries to guess which you picked.
"

Congratulations - you just learned the basic mechanics of Say Anything Family Edition!

Component list

Inside the box is a solid plastic insert, and the components fit inside nicely for convenient storage.



So what do you get inside the box?
● 60 question cards (double sided, 3 questions on each side)
● 6 dry erase markers
● 6 dry erase answer boards
● 1 dry erase scoreboard
● Select-o-matic 6000
● 12 player tokens
● rulebook



Question cards

There are 60 question cards, featuring 3 questions on one side in blue, and another 3 questions on the reverse side in yellow. They are family friendly, and some are specifically geared to children, as you can see from the examples shown here. Players have the opportunity to choose the question they like, so there's lots of flexibility here, and even adults will find questions that suit them.



There's also a convenient "place card" to help you keep track of whereabouts in the pile of questions you currently are, over the course of multiple games.



Answer boards & markers

Answer boards come in six different colours, including a delightful pink that is sure to please the girl gamers!



But perhaps best of all is the reverse side of these boards. Just like they did with the family edition of Wits & Wagers, North Star Games has found a way to bring the meeple to their games! They're attractive, and kids in particular will love these pictures, and clamour to be the first to get the "surfer dude" or "the guy on the magic carpet"!



Six dry erase markers are also provided for use with the boards.



Select-o-matic 6000

The player whose turn it is will choose his favourite answer using hot new technology: the Select-o-matic 6000! The spinner here can move, and is used to indicate which of the six player colours the active player has chosen for his favourite answer.



Naturally, the technology featured here is FAR superior to the technology behind the Select-o-matic 5000 that comes with the original Say Anything! North Star obviously has a team of dedicated researchers hard at work, helping to bring the latest advancements in gaming technology directly to our game tables for us to enjoy. I can't speak highly enough of such innovative developments - this is an unrivaled level of progress in design that you just won't find in other game publishers. After all, which other publisher has even come up with a Select-o-matic 1000 model yet?!



Player tokens

Players each get two tokens in their colour - which they will also use to `guess' which of the answers they think the active player has chosen. The colours and art matches the question boards of each player.



Scoreboard

Finally, here's the scoreboard used for recording points - this is also a dry erase board made out of thick card, and it's attractive and functional.



Rule book

The rulebook consists of an overview of gameplay on two pages. They weren't kidding when they said you can teach this in two minutes!



On the back page is an FAQ in case you did have any questions - the game is super easy to learn, and what's here just gives some guidelines and suggestions about certain aspects of gameplay.



GAME-PLAY

Setup

All players select their chosen colour, and take their matching answer board, player tokens, as well as a dry erase pen. You'll also need some paper napkins or tissues on hand to help erase the boards as needed.



The youngest player begins:- as active player they are designated as Judge for the first round, thus getting the Select-o-matic 6000. The privilege of holding such state-of-the-art technology indeed deserves to be in the hands of the young, since they are after all the future of gaming!

Flow of play

1. Asking and Answering a Question

The judge draws a question card and reads the question of his choice. All the other players quickly write an answer, which they place face-up in the middle of the table. If an answer is too similar to another, the Judge may ask the player who wrote the similar answer to think of another.

In the game pictured below, the question asked was: "In my opinion, what would be the worst place to take a nap?"



2. Selecting a Favourite Answer

Once all answers are ready, the Judge secretly selects his favourite answer using the Select-o-matic 6000, being careful to keep his choice hidden. The criteria he uses is entirely up to him - but he needs to keep in mind that it will have to be something others might expect him to choose, otherwise he risks not getting any points himself!

3. Guessing the Favourite Answer

Now the other players use their tokens to guess which answer they think the Judge picked. You can even place both tokens on the same answer if you're really confident!



4. Scoring

The Judge now turns over the Select-o-matic 6000 to reveal his choice. You get a point for each token you placed on the chosen answer. The judge gets a point (up to a maximum of 3) for each token placed on the chosen answer, and the person who wrote the chosen answer also gets a bonus point. Scores for the round are recorded on the scoreboard.

The next player gets to be the judge and ask a question, and so the game proceeds around the table until everybody has had a turn as judge twice. Winner is the player with the most points. There - told you it was easy!



CONCLUSIONS

How does it compare with the original?

If you're familiar with the original game, or are trying to decide which of the two editions might be for you, here are some differences you'll notice with the Family Edition:
● Handles 6 players instead of 8 players (partly to reduce cost)
● Family friendly meeples on the reverse of the answer boards
● More kid-centric questions (yet they will work fine for adults in a group as well)
● 60 question cards (3 questions on each of 2 sides = 360 questions) instead of 80 (5 questions on one side only = 400 questions)
● Massive technological leap from Select-o-matic 5000 to Select-o-matic 6000!

The original Say Anything did have some questions that worked well for children, but the choices here are far more suitable - although I probably wouldn't include children under 8 too quickly, because being able to come up with and write answers is an essential requirement to play. Aside from this the rules are essentially the same, and the components are of the same quality. These games are close blood brothers after all - no point in changing something that's already proven to be a good thing! But there's a lot here in the Family Edition that will appeal to children and families. For example, the reverse side of the answer boards feature meeples, and since they're designed to be used with dry erase markers - including the reverse side - kids will have great fun decorating and customizing these meeples!



What do kids think?

Let's hear from some of the kids themselves. I asked a few children who have played both Say Anything and Say Anything Family Edition what they thought of this new game, and here's what they had to say, in their own words:

What do you like about Say Anything Family Edition?

6 year old: "It is fun. Because you can write anything."
9 year old: "You can write these really random things."
10 year old: "The same things as I liked about the other Say Anything. You can write anything!"
12 year old: "It makes you think."
14 year old: "Some of the hilarious things that younger children come up with."

How does the Family Edition compare with Say Anything?

6 year old: "Because you can draw on the back."
9 year old: "I like the people better in this one. I like these questions better."
10 year old: "With Say Anything there are more people playing."
13 year old: "It's definitely better than normal Say Anything, because you don't have all the questions about music and songs, and they're more easier to pick from. It's better that there's meeples instead of pictures, and because there are more girl ones." (Can you tell that she's a girl?!)
14 year old: "The meeple icons are a lot more interesting. The questions are more straight forward, and there's less questions about TV shows, favourite songs, and those types of questions"



What do I think?

The Family Edition retains virtually all the things that are good about the original game. First of all, it's very fun. You can expect to have a lot of laughs, especially because the players around the table will try to find a way to make the answers apply very directly and personally to the person asking the question. Sometimes there are also some surprises as you discover the judge's choice to be quite different than what you may have imagined! In that respect there's even a social aspect to the game, and you can get to know people - although it's likely the most fun when played with people who already know each other reasonably well. The point scoring system works well, because being able to guess which answer you think is the chosen one means that you've got a chance of scoring points even if you're not very good in coming up with good answers yourself. The rules are also very quick and easy, meaning that the game is very accessible, and ideal for family gatherings. The fact that it's very interactive and sociable makes this all the more true. If you're expecting to include children under 12, then getting the Family Edition is probably your best bet, while in an adult-only setting the original Say Anything would be the preferred choice - although the Family Edition can work there too. The only draw-back to the Family Edition is that it caters only to a group of six instead of eight (I've got five children, so unfortunately someone has to miss out when we play with the whole family!). But aside from that it really achieves what it sets out to do, in creating a fun game experience for families, where children and adults can `compete' on a level playing field, and where heavy strategy falls to the background in favour of laughs and the kind of enjoyable experience that can create lasting memories. And isn't that the kind of game most of us want to be playing when we get together with our loved ones? A game with personality, which can bring people together, drawing on their existing ties, and serving to strengthen these ties and make them closer.



Recommendation

So is Say Anything Family Edition a game for you? Along with the other titles from North Star, I can highly recommend this game for families and casual play with non-gamers, especially in a party type atmosphere. The Family Edition is particularly well suited to including older children, and yet will remain fun for all the adults (parents and grandparents included) who are playing as well. Another potential hit from North Star Games, and very suitable for families!


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mb The complete list of Ender's pictorial reviews: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/37596

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Bob
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Re: A Comprehensive Pictorial Overview: A perfect party game for the family
I'm sure I'll be buying it because my family is a BIG fan of the original. I'm still sad that it only supports 6, because more often then not we play this with another family and we need a Select-o-matic with 8-11 spots so that everyone can be selected. As it is now, we have to assign people to be between colors. I guess we'll just have to put the Select-o-matic aside and write the name of the person we agree most with on our wipe off board. It's a shame, because this is a game that lends itself to be played by larger groups--and a 12 colored Select-o-matic 7000 would be awesome!
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Ender Wiggins
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Re: A Comprehensive Pictorial Overview: A brand new party game for families from the guy who brought us Wits & Wagers
superflypete wrote:
Great review as always. I'd never heard of any of this line of games, and as I am a H-U-G-E Balderdash fan, this is right up my alley.

Pete, you really owe it to yourself to get familiar with North Star's line-up of party games. They've been immensely successful - particularly Wits & Wagers - and for good reason. They've really set the bar for party games in the 21st century. Their games offer a degree of fun and a level-playing field that really appeals to folks who are tired of the previous generation of party games like Scattergories and Pictionary.

I really should write a blog post introducing the North Star hits Wits and Wagers and Say Anything along with their respective family editions, but for now here are some links to my reviews on each of them:

Wits & Wagers: A Comprehensive Pictorial Overview: The Most Award Winning Party Game in History - not just a trivia game, but a game show in a box!
Wits & Wagers Family: A Comprehensive Pictorial Overview: The winning Wits & Wagers formula goes family friendly with the arrival of the meeple in trivia land!
Say Anything: A Comprehensive Pictorial Review: The perfect gift to buy for your non-gaming family and friends



If you enjoy Balderdash - and given your vibrant sense of humor - I'd also highly recommend you check out a game (from another publisher) called Why Did the Chicken...? It's like Balderdash, but has players write humorous punchlines to random riddles - it should be right up your alley! It's from 2004, but I just posted a review on this a week or two ago:

Why Did the Chicken...? A Comprehensive Pictorial Overview: What happens when you cross Balderdash with Apples-to-Apples, and actually make it funny?

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Ninjabob wrote:
I'm still sad that it only supports 6


Do you have the original W&W? From the review, I don't see how the mechanics are any different between the original and family editions.

Heck, if you have both sets, you can put together a mega-set that supports *14* players...!
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Randy Cox
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Review wrote:

Answer boards come in six different colours, including a delightful pink that is sure to please the girl gamers!
Sexually stereotype much?

Actually, I hope that was a tongue in cheek statement, as many of the little girls I know (like my own daughter) prefer other colors to the dreaded pink (my daughter's is green).

Anyway, thanks for the review. I disliked the original but think this one will be fun with the kids, including our 6-year-old. At first, I was concerned about the problem with writing responses when you're only in kindergarten, but then I realized that images or sequences of letters are enough for youngsters to relate their answer. So I'm very hopeful for this game. Might even try it today.

There's no silly sing-off tiebreaker, is there?
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The Elder
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Randy Cox wrote:
Review wrote:

Answer boards come in six different colours, including a delightful pink that is sure to please the girl gamers!
Sexually stereotype much?


When colours were being assigned as more suitable for one gender than another--only well into last century--pink was chosen for boys as it is healthy and vigorous. That eggshell blue, or whatever light shade it is, was for girls.

Indian and Pakistani and Sri Lankan men commonly wear pink of many shades from pastel to neon and it looks smashing against their dark skin. None of them that I've ever asked have had a clue that pink's--supposedly--a girls' colour. I suppose some brought up in Occidental countries might know, not all as I've met a few teenage boys who haven't known they were being teased for wearing pink, but this stupidity hasn't caught on much in the Far Orient.
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