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Would You Really Say Anything?: Say Anything Reviewed

Game Name: Say Anything

Designer:  Dominic Crapuchettes, Satish Pillalamarri

Publisher: North Star Games

Year: 2008

Players: 3-8

Ages: 13+

Playing time: 30 minutes

Retail: $24.99

Contents

  • 400 topics on 80 question cards
  • 8 dry erase boards
  • 8 dry erase pens
  • 1 Select-O-Matic 5000
  • 16 player tokens
  • 1 dry erase score board
  • 1 full color rule book

If you’ve played Apples to Apples then you’re familiar with the basics of this kind of party game: One person asks a question and everyone else provides the answers. Yep, not like we haven’t see that before… Essentially, Say Anything takes the answering and wagering mechanic of Wits & Wagers and adds the subjectively chosen answer mechanic of Apples to Apples.

I’m going to be very up front here and tell folks that normally I hate “party” games. That’s the truth, I just don’t dig the great majority of them. They often seem contrived and shallow and often I end up feeling like there wasn’t really a point to playing. For the most part I find party games to be a bore and to be geared toward the dopier types out there.

Now we have that out of the way…

Say Anything is a rare thing among party games – simple to play and, for most, a lot of fun. The game relies on an easy set of rules (taught in no more than five minutes) and a very simple mechanic that makes it interesting to play. Essentially this is a game about how well you know people or, better yet, how well you can guess how well others know them. This can make for some very interesting lessons about the people that you’re playing with. It’s also a very creative game and, with the way the game is designed, there is almost no limit to the kinds of things that come up. This means the game is different every time you play, and it almost tailors itself to the crowd that you’re playing with. If you play with family, you should have a fairly fun, wholesome experience. Bust out Say Anything with your adult friends (or at least my friends) and it’s bound to get risqué pretty darn quick!

The best part about Say Anything is that you are not limited in your answer. You can write down anything that you feel would be the best answer for the person asking the question.

This is the kind of game you’ll want to get a group of people together to play. The set up works like this: one person (the Selector) asks a question from one of the cards, like “Where would I most like to live?” or “Where would be the worst place to wake up?” and each person writes what they think will be the answer the Selector will pick. Remember it isn’t what you would answer but something you think the person asking the question would. Or at least an answer that you think they’ll like best. You’ll write down the answer on the dry erase boards provided and then all the players will place these answers in the middle of the table. At this point the Selector secretly chooses their answer on the rather flimsy Select-O-Matic 5000 (don’t ask me what happened to the previous 4999 generations of the Select-O-Matic, I simply don’t know!) and places it face down on the table.

Now we have a betting mechanic that comes into play. Each player has their two tokens and start placing bets on what they think will be the most likely choice, then the answer is revealed, the scores are tallied and normally a bit of conversation commences about what someone was thinking or how outrageous some answer was. It’s important to remember that the Selector also has a stake in the proceedings because, just like those answering the question, he can score up to three points based on the answer people think was picked on the SOM5000. This leads to one of the issues I have with the game but I’ll tackle that in a moment.

Here are examples of a few of the questions:

Who is the most important person from the last 100 years?
What would be the coolest thing to have in a mansion?
What is your favorite place to spend time while in high school?

Everyone gets a chance to ask a question at least once (at least for 7-8 players, twice for 5-6 players and three times for 3-4 players). You can expect the game to run about a half hour or so but for the most part this isn’t the kind of game that most party gamers will do a one and done.

The subjectivity of submitting and selecting the best answer is the heart of the game. The Selector’s choice is sure to raise a few eyebrows and even spark some (hopefully) friendly debate. Putting your own opinions aside and playing to the Selector is essential if you want to win. As a result, the better you know the judge, the more likely your chances of winning. Still, a creative or universally appealing answer will work more times than not, when you’re unsure what to toss out there. Yet for a stranger in the group the chances of winning will probably be none and nil.

As far as the components, we’re looking at what you should expect from North Star Games; Good, not great, but this isn’t some $60 dollar game we’re talking about here. Those of you own Wits & Wagers will feel right at home with what’s included in the box.

Say Anything is a fairly fun party game but in my opinion I don’t see it giving Wits & Wagers a real run for its money. Wits & Wagers can be played with people you’ve either known for years or that you met five minutes ago while Say Anything isn’t the sort of game that I would break out for strangers. I’m not sure it would be the first off the shelf for my family and friends either. In fact, even though the tag line on the game is, “Find out what your friends really think,” I don’t believe most players will honestly find out. And that’s where I have an issue with the game.

I pointed out earlier that I’m not the biggest fan of party games. Very few are as clever as they advertise to be and those that try to tell you that you’re really going to learn about your friends are even less clever. The game’s element would seem to be seeing how well you know your friends and, for me, that’s not something that jumps out to me as a game; If you’re my friend I already know you well enough …otherwise we wouldn’t be friends. Say Anything’s tag should be more along the lines of “Find out what your friends really think you think they think,” because, like it or not, we now live in a time where people don’t actually have the stones to tell you what they really think – just what they think you’d like to hear. If my friends can’t tell me what they really think I suppose that would make them liars? Or maybe not really my friends?

This isn’t to point out that Say Anything is a bad game by any stretch. It’s just not something that’s going to be in the first three or four I’d pull out at a party. It’s the best ask-each-other questions game out there by any stretch (it certainly isn’t some “roll and move to a space to tell me a story about XYZ that none of us care about” sort of thing – that might induce me to put a gun to my head) but, the way I look at it, if you have to resort to a game along these lines to find out about the people around you, I’d say you’d be best served brushing up on your social skills as opposed to playing a game. Or give Truth or Dare a run.

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Summary
I’m not the biggest fan of party games. Very few are as clever as they advertise to be and those that try to tell you that you’re really going to learn about your friends are even less clever. The game’s element would seem to be seeing how well you know your friends and, for me, that’s not something that jumps out to me as a game; If you’re my friend I already know you well enough …otherwise we wouldn’t be friends. Say Anything’s tag should be more along the lines of “Find out what your friends really think you think they think,” because, like it or not, we now live in a time where people don’t actually have the stones to tell you what they really think – just what they think you’d like to hear.
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5.5

I’m not the biggest fan of party games. Very few are as clever as they advertise to be and those which try to tell you that you’re really going to learn about your friends are even less clever. The game’s element would seem to be seeing how well you know your friends and, for me, that’s not something that jumps out to me as a game; If you’re my friend I already know you well enough …otherwise we wouldn’t be friends. Say Anything’s tag should be more along the lines of “Find out what your friends really think you think they think,” because, like it or not, we now live in a time where people don’t actually have the stones to tell you what they really think – just what they think you’d like to hear.

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Jeff McAleer

Founder, editor-in-chief, and host of The Daily Dope and other TGG media. Jeff tackles any and all topics but his main gaming focus is war and strategy, RPGs, and miniatures. He's also a fan of independent and small press comics. Plus, Jeff is certainly never at a loss for an opinion...

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