Say Anything

North Star Games is one of those rare companies that places a high premium on quality over quantity. Although the company was founded in 2003, they have only published 3 games. Each of them has been Major FUN, and each production seems to be getting better than the previous one.

Say Anything, their latest creation, is a light-hearted party game that will get you and your friends talking and laughing in no time. Everything about the game reflects years of play testing, and finer and finer tuning. The rules are wonderfully easy to understand – clearly written and presented, every question answered. Everything fits in the box just so. The write-on, wipe-off boards (8 answer boards and a scoreboard) write on easily (golf-pencil-sized wipe-off-able markers included) and wipe off even more easily. The 400 Question Cards are pleasantly thick yet amply bendy. The little, graphic-and-color-coordinated Player Chips are non-bendy enough to be satisfyingly chip-like. And the state of the art SELECT-O-MATIC 5000…one can barely comment enough about the functionality, portability, and virtually cordless battery-freedom!

Of course, it’s the fun that counts – even more than all the well-thought-out-edness of the packaging and game components. Let’s start with a Say Anything card. There are 5 questions to choose from which means you’ll always be able to ask something that suits the people you’ve invited to your gathering. The question all have something to do with your right to, well, say, as it were, anything. Some of the questions solicit your pop culture opinions, some are about personal experiences, some are slightly serious, and a handful are seriously ridicules (designed just to make you laugh). If for example, we picked the question “What TV channel would be the hardest to live without?” Really, you could write anything on your Answer Board. I mean, you like what you like. Write anything. Say anything. What’s to argue about?

So you write what you write (it can be non-sequitur if you want), and toss your Answer Board face-up on the table. She or He Who Holds the SELECT-O-MATIC 5000 (SoHWHtS-O-M5000) will read all the answers, and pick a favorite response. Any favorite response – for any reason. Because SoHWHtS-O-M5000 can, of course Select Anything.

Now everybody else tries to guess what answer was picked. It turns out that the SoHWHtS-O-M5000 gets a point for everyone who votes for His or Her chosen Answer Board (up to a maximum of 3 points). They guess by using their well-designed, chip-like, color-coordinated Player Chips. They each have two. Which means they can put both chips down on the same Answer Board, or select two Answer Boards to carry their personal Player Chip-ness. Ah, an opportunity to demonstrate something to everyone in attendance – two chips to manifest your personal certainty, or your clever covering of the bases, so to speak.

Finally SoHWHtS-O-M5000 reveals the chosen board, and players gain points accordingly, which the Holder of the Write-On Wipe-Off-able Score Board dutifully records. And in the mean time, much laughter tends to erupt. Much laughter. Because of the unexpected answers people come up with, the unpredictable perspicacity of their votes, the verifiable silliness of the task, and, for some, because of the score they get.

Say Anything is the very kind of game the Major Fun Award was designed for. It takes a few minutes to learn, a good half hour or so to play, and can be played with your basic 3-8 people. Maybe 16 if you play in teams. Probably 24, tops.

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