Say Anything Review
Another party game that I have played recently (yes, I've played way more of these recently than I normally do) was Say Anything.
In Say Anything (also known as "what Apples to Apples wishes it could be"), players take turns as the moderator. The moderator selects the top card and then picks one of the 6 questions on the card for the other players to supply their best answer to (questions like "In my opinion, what is the best animated movie of all time?" and "In my opinion, what would be the most ridiculous thing that could happen right now?" - and they are all opinion questions). After the moderator has provided a question, each of the other players must write a response on their small dry erase board. The moderator selects which answer is his favorite (at which point Apples to Apples would have ended the round), but in Say Anything, the non-moderator players now have 2 bidding tokens on which they can select which answer they think the moderator has picked! Finally, the moderator reveals the "best" answer, and players score for having supplied that answer, but also for bidding that the moderator would pick that answer. The game goes around until each player has been the moderator twice, and then whoever has the most points wins.
The first thing that I like about Say Anything is that you are able to bid on which answer the moderator will guess. Whereas in many other games like this you can only score points by supplying the "best" answer, I really like that you can score points in different ways in this game. This way, even if you're not quite on the same wavelength as the moderator (they might not think your jokes about Michael Jackson are funny, for example... when they definitely are hilarious), you are still able to score points. This aspect of the game really keeps players from becoming disengaged in the game. I have played several party games where certain players thought they were coming up with great answers (yes, I was one of them, but I've also seen it happen to other people), just to have the moderator select someone else's answer; those players normally give up on the game about halfway through. And that makes the game less fun for everyone.
The next thing that (I think) I like about Say Anything is that the answers aren't supplied for you. This, honestly, can be both good or bad. If you are playing with a group of people that aren't especially creative, then it could be really good to have answers already supplied that you simply pick from. However, if you are playing with creative people, you can get much better answers to questions like "In my opinion, what would be the most shocking secret that someone's mother could reveal?" than would be available on a card. (The winning answer was "Her nipples are on her back; and you were breastfed," just in case you were curious. And as a point of note, there is also a Say Anything: Family Edition that tries to have questions that will get a bit more tame of answers. Though, really, it should be pretty easy to scale the level of "adult" answers based on who is playing.)
Now that you know the pros, I really only had one con for Say Anything. Say Anything has a target number of players that it works best with. The game is officially 3-8 players (and you really can't easily go above 8 players since the game wouldn't really work very well in teams and the "Select-O-Matic" (secret selector for the moderator) only has 8 answers. Though now that I've started rambling to myself, I guess you could make it more than 8 players if you had extra dry erase boards, and the moderator just wrote who had the best answer. Anyway...) Unfortunately, I don't think the game is nearly as much fun with 3-4 players, either, because of the limited number of answers and the fact that everyone will be bidding on the same few answers available - you really need 5-8 players to play. This is really unfortunate, since most party games have more of a "the more the merrier" aspect to them. With that said, 3-8 players is actually quite a broad spectrum for most games; it's just somewhat limiting in the party game genre.
Overall, I give Say Anything an 8.5/10. I really enjoy the game, and I think that it has bumped Apples to Apples out of circulation in my gaming world. I would recommend this to anyone that likes party games or that likes games that require creativity.
I would like to thank North Star Games for providing a demo copy of Say Anything for me to play - twice! (They provided one before and one after the tornado.) I would also like to thank them for the generosity they showed towards the people of Joplin by donating several games to the tornado victims in the city.