Anomia (Rules and Gameplay Instructions)

Are you looking for an intelligent, fast-paced game for a whole family? My Anomia rules guide will teach you how to play one.

Games that revolve around forming, combining, or guessing words are incredibly useful when trying to encourage someone’s speech development and creativity.

That’s how I came across Anomia – my relatives were recommended to try it with their 10-years-old son, and it turned out to be great fun for the entire family. 

Anomia, slightly resembling games like Quordle (learn how to play Quordle) or Wordle (see more word games like Wordle), challenges your fast reactions and verbal skills.

In this case, however, you do not have to form or decode words based on the letters they contain but instead come up with the right words based on their meaning.

This Anomia game rules guide will cover the following:

  • What is Anomia?
  • What you’ll need to play Anomia
  • Anomia game rules
  • How to play Anomia (video tutorial)
  • FAQs
  • Other similar games to Anomia (our guides)

Read on and find out all the details on how to play Anomia. 

What is Anomia?

Anomia Card Game Info Image

Anomia tests your knowledge, imagination, and fast reactions. It’s a fun game to play with your peers or relatives without a steeper learning curve or demanding rules.

Number of Players: 3 – 6 players

Ages: 10+

Difficulty: Easy

Length of Play: 20 – 30 minutes

Category: Word party game

Similar to: Quordle, Wordle, Say Anything

Main Objective: Win the most cards through face-offs with your opponents.

Why We Love It: Anomia is a simple yet very entertaining word game for a whole family. 

What You’ll Need to Play Anomia

Anomia comes in a complete game set containing everything you need to play it.

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Tip: If you ever get bored with the classic version of Anomia, you can also try expansion packs like Anomia Party Edition or the adult-only Anomia X.

Anomia Rules and Instructions

Anomia is one of those games you can play anytime, anywhere, and with (almost) anyone. Its rules are simple and pretty much self-explanatory. 

Starting the Game

Before you start playing, you should know that there are several editions of the Anomia game set that can slightly differ in their contents. 

Whereas the original set contains two card decks, others can have more (up to six). In any case, you will always need just a single deck

Put the rest aside. You will take an additional deck later if you spend all the cards from your current deck during the game. 

Shuffle the cards well and split the pile in two (aim for even halves, but do not count the cards to make them perfect). Place the piles face-down, side-by-side, on the table.

Before you start playing, discuss with your opponents whether you will allow repeatings in the game (= repeated use of the same examples). It is up to you.

How to Play Anomia

The dealer takes turns first. This is how the game proceeds:

  • The player, on turn flips over one card from either of the piles in the center. All the players should see its face for the first time simultaneously, so no peaking!
  • The active player places the card face-up in front of them as the foundation of their playing pile. 
  • The next player to their left takes turns, following the same routine.
  • Notice that each card has a symbol. As you have more cards on the table after several turns, look for the cards that match each other. 
  • If there’s no matching card on the table, the next player takes a turn.
  • When you notice two matching cards on the table, it’s time for a face-off!


When you spot that your card’s symbol matches another card on the table, act FAST:

  • Quickly read the category of the opponent’s card while he does the same with your card.
  • Shout out a suitable example of your opponent’s card category as fast as you can.

Example: The category is Male Tennis Player. You can shout “Rafael Nadal.”

The category is Rodent. You can shout, “Guinea Pig.”

The fastest player with the correct answer wins the face-off. As a trophy, they keep their opponent’s card in a separate winning pile in front of them.

If the loser’s next card has a matching symbol with someone else’s card too, continue with another face-off (this is called a cascade and can go on for as long as needed).

Wild Cards

A wild card has not one but two symbols that can also initiate a face-off. Therefore, if you draw a wild card, lay it face-up between the draw piles at the center of the table.

It will stay in this place and cause a face-off when both of its symbols appear on the top of active playing piles of two random players (these two will compete in a face-off).

If you draw a wild card, you can draw one more card for your playing pile since this one stays in the center of the table. 

Even once the face-off initiated by a wild card is completed, the card stays in its place and can eventually cause another face-off. Another wild card can only replace it. 


If a face-off ends with a tie, a third player draws one more card and puts it face-up on the table. 

Both competing players simultaneously try to provide a correct example of the new card’s category. The faster one wins the face-off and collects the original card of their opponent.

The third card will be mixed back into one of the draw piles.

Anomia Scoring 

Play Anomia until both draw piles run out of cards. Each player now counts the cards in their winning piles. Whoever has the most of them wins the game.

How to Play Anomia – Video Tutorial 

Anomia Frequently Asked Questions

How many cards does Anomia have?

In the original Anomia game, every deck consists of 92 playing cards with eight symbols and eight wild cards. Altogether, you play this game with 100 cards.

Is Anomia a fun game to play repeatedly?

If you play the game often, it may become a bit dull since you already know all the card categories and have the correct answers memorized.

Can you play Anomia with small kids?

The classic version of Anomia is recommended for kids at least ten years old, as it can be difficult for younger kids. However, you can try Anomia Kids instead, which is suitable for 5+ years. 

Other Similar Games to Anomia (Our Guides) 

Are you looking for more great games that would stimulate your brain and entertain you at the same time? Here are our guides to some of the best Anomia alternatives out there:

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Read all the articles (121) written by Lucia Fajnerova