Apples To Apples

A Game About Scary Warts & Frivolous Mud

Apples to Apples is a word matching game that came out sometime in late 1998 or early 1999 and was instantly a hit. In 1999 it was one of the Mensa select games and also name Game of the year by Games Magazine. Since this game requires at least four players to play it is best played at family get-togethers or at parties. This game is recommended for people 12 years and up.

The original Apples to Apples game came with 108 green apple cards and 324 red apple cards. When the game became a big hit there were 4 expansion sets offered to keep play new and interesting. Each of these expansion sets included 72 extra green apple cards and 216 extra red apple cards.

However, in 2005 the original game and its expansions were retired and replaced by a party box which included the original basic set plus the first two expansion sets: Party Box Expansion 1, which combines the original 3 and 4 expansion sets, and Party Box Expansion 2, which contains all new cards.

Other additions include: Party Crate, which is the same as the Party Box edition (only the cards are packed in a wooden box that looks like an apple crate), Apples to Apples Junior, Apples to Apples Kids, bible edition, Jewish edition, German edition, Yiddish edition, Disney edition, British Isle edition, Spanish edition, Family edition, and a To Go edition.

There is also an Online version of the game that has been released by Artuji. So needless to say there are plenty of versions of this game to choose from.

The game itself has a standard version of play as well as some suggested variations to help keep the game challenging and fun no matter how many times that you play it.

Skills Needed For Apples To Apples

Other than good reading skills, the only other skill that might prove useful in this game is a rudimentary knowledge of sentence formation. However, most people will go for the most interesting or humorous combination.

For example: If the adjective is 'ugly', one person may choose 'duckling', but others may choose things like 'face', 'smile' or even a specific person's name (be careful with that one!).

How To Play The Basic Apples To Apples Game

One of the nice things about this game is that it takes little time to set up, all you need to do is shuffle the red apple cards and the green apple cards separately.

  • You appoint someone to be the first Judge and hand him the two decks of cards.
  • The judge sets the green apples cards down in front of him and then deals seven red apple cards to each player. Each red card contains a noun or a gerund phrase; something like 'Booker T. Washington' or 'Getting my teeth cleaned'.
  • Once each player has a had a chance to look over their cards, the judge then turns up one of the green apple cards. This card will contain an adjective
  • As quickly as possible, each player lays down their red card that they think goes best with the adjective.
  • Someone then shuffles all the red cards that have been laid down and hands them to the judge who then reads them out loud and chooses the red apple card he feels goes best with the adjective. His choice is subjective and final.
  • The person whose red card he chose wins the round and takes the green card and becomes judge.
  • Everyone draws from the pile until they all have seven cards once again and the next round begins.
  • Play ends after a set number of rounds with the person having the most green apple cards being the winner.

Suggested Changes To The Game

It might be better if the judge position is passed around the table allowing each player a turn at judge. Otherwise if one person's red apple card is chosen most of the time he will keep becoming the judge and other players won't get a turn.

It is also suggested that when five or more players are playing, the last one to lay down his red apple card should take it back and sit out the round. This encourages faster play and gives less time for thinking through your choices.

If the game doesn't state that the first judge be dealt his seven cards at the beginning of the game, you might want to make that a game rule so he won't get seven cards in a row from the shuffled deck. He simply won't play any of his cards until the second round.

Tips To Help Play The Game

Knowing how the other players think can be a definite advantage to this game. For example, if one person tends to go for a laugh when that person is judge then you will want to choose a card that will appeal to their sense of humor.

If you have a red apple card where the noun will go well with almost any adjective, you might want to save that card for when a really weird adjective crops up. Chances are, others are going to be playing their best cards.

What Makes The Apples to Apples Game Special?

Apples to Apples is a great vocabulary building game, particularly when it comes to adjectives. Middle school children often grapple with the various parts of speech and playing a game where they will be learning adjectives and applying nouns to them should be very educational.

Besides creating lots of laughter, Apples to Apples also fosters communication as people will try to defend their answers. Best of all, this is one game in which mixed generations can play without any generation having an undue advantage.

If you love word games, have a large family, or do a lot of entertaining, Apples to Apples should definitely be added to your game inventory.

See also: This very helpful customer review of Apples to Apples

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