Dale Yu: Review of Everything Ever

Everything Ever

  • Designer: Nathan Thornton
  • Publisher: Floodgate Games
  • Players: 2-10
  • Age: 12+
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Played with review copy provided by publisher

Per the publisher description on BGG: “You’ve prepared your whole life for this. Every movie you’ve seen, every show you’ve watched, every song you’ve listened to, every place you’ve visited, every book you’ve read, every kind of food you’ve eaten, and every person you’ve ever heard of makes you better at this game. It’s finally time to get credit for everything you already know!

In Everything Ever, you and your friends take turns listing things from categories like “Every Dinosaur Movie” or “Every Brand of Soap”. Two category cards are in play, and on your turn, you must say something that fits in one category and something that fits in the other, with both of those somethings not having been said previously. If you can’t think of something, you can play a category card from the three in your hand to cover the one you’re blanking on, then name something from that new category. If you can’t think of something for a category, you must take that pile as a penalty, then flip a new category from the deck.

If you say something that fits both categories at the same time, you can either discard one of your penalty cards or draw a new category card from the deck, then play a third category card to the table. (Once someone is penalized, drop back to two categories.)

Keep your friends’ iffy answers in check with judge cards, and win by collecting the fewest cards once the deck runs out.”

Umm seriously, I really almost don’t have to explain anything else about how to play the game! The subtitle of the rulebook is: “Rules for a game that barely has any”.   Truth.

The game comes with 250 different Category cards and ten two-sided Judge Cards.  Each player gets a Judge card and is dealt a hand of 3 Category cards.  A draw deck of Category cards is then made; 3 cards per player in the game.  Flip the top two cards from this draw deck face up on the table – these are the starting Categories.

On a turn, you have ten seconds to say two things, one thing that fits each category, and it can’t be something that was previously said for that category.  If you are stumped, you have two options.  1) Play one of the cards from your hand and say something that fits.  No penalty other than losing a card in your hand.  2) Take a penalty by taking the category card and any cards stacked beneath it.  Now draw the top card from the deck and optionally say something for that new category.  

If you are a genius and can say one answer that satisfies both Categories, you get a bonus – you can discard one of your Penalty cards AND you can draw a card from the deck and then add a third category card to the table.  There will now be three categories until someone takes a penalty.  Until that time, players must give three answers each turn.

Judge cards are like soccer yellow/red cards. If you think someone has given a dodgy or dubious answer, you can play your Judge card in front of them for that first offense.  If that player makes a second offense, any player can flip that card over to the red side, and the offender must now take a penalty.  There aren’t really guidelines about this other than “Be Cool” and the table votes if there is dissension on what is cardworthy.

Continue playing until someone takes a penalty and there are no cards in the deck to replenish.  The player with the fewest penalty cards wins. Ties broken in favor of the player with the most hand cards left.  That’s it!

My thoughts on the game

Everything Ever was one of the games that I heard a lot of chatter about while traveling through the halls at GenCon 2023.  One of the reasons was their pretty awesome guerilla marketing strategy.  Floodgate Games had made up mini-packs of the game which had 20ish cards in it (and rules) that they were handing out to people who were standing in line for whatever it is that people stand in line at GenCon for.

While it might be possible to play just holding cards with hands, it’s a little easier if you have a bit of convention hall carpet to play – but you really only need space for three stacks of cards.  And, if you’re in a slow moving line, it’s pretty easy to nudge along your cards as you oh-so-slowly creep towards the destination.

This game creates fun by trying to get you to remember all these disparate pop culture tidbits – in a quick fashion.  It’s always funny to watch someone struggle to remember something; so many things are right at the tip of my tongue when I play this – only for me not to be able to remember them, or worse, have my brain make up some monstrosity of a portmanteau due to a faulty memory connection.

Personally, I am not a fan of the policing card system.  Sure, the game needs a way to police bad answers, but the loosey goosey system of giving people yellow cards is so subjective (and easy to game).  Why not just give people double sided cards with pass/fail, and if someone thinks an answer is bad, all players vote with their card. If a majority say fail, the bad answerer has to take a penalty.  

Over the course of the game, you get up to three free passes – when you choose to skip an answer and play a card out of your hand.  Figuring out when to use those free passes is the key to a good score (if that is even your goal!) – as there are times it’s perfectly fine to take a penalty if it only gives you… three or fewer cards – or whatever your threshold number is.  Once your hand is empty, then you no longer have that choice, and you simply take a penalty for each time you can’t give a correct set of answers.

The range of topics is surprisingly wide, and I have not perceived any group having an advantage – I think as long as everyone in the game is at least a teenager, everyone should have a fair shot at giving answers to the categories.   The only thing I’d say about the categories is to make sure that you really shuffle the cards well when you first unwrap them.  We found that many related categories came next to each other in the shrink wrap decks; i.e. 20 different movie Category variants in a row – so a good mix from the start show keep things fair.

The artwork on the cards is simple but entertaining.  Astute players will note that many of the card art pieces give you a decent clue at an answer for the category.   Most of the categories are pretty basic, and I’m fairly certain I could come up with at least a few answers for each one that I’ve seen.  The catch, of course, is having an answer for both of the cards that are up, and it’s surprising just how common it is to have an answer for one card but to be totally stumped by the other!

The game comes in a surprisingly large box given the fact that there are just 260 cards in the game – but this can easily be made pocket size in a pinch.  Even if you wanted to make a 6 player game, you’d only need to carry 42 cards in your pocket.  Even in the tight skinny jeans that are somehow cool these days, you could probably jam that into a pocket without too much trouble.  

Everything Ever can be a fun filler / party game at home, but it also would be super suitable for things like waiting in line at a con, played at a restaurant between ordering and eating, or maybe even in the car which you’re waiting for the charging to finish.  It’s not super serious, but it’s also not meant to be.  Just try to name more things than your friends and have a blast while doing it!

Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers

  • I love it!
  • I like it. Dale
  • Neutral.
  • Not for me…

About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
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