Lake Saint Louis
Purpose: I'm in a situation where I feel a number of Geeks are in. You have a core group of people you play German/Designer games with, and you also have your non-gamer family and friends. I'm going to give my impression of this game from both sides, if it crosses over, and how much bang for the buck you'll get from the game between the two groups.
Overview: Apples to Apples is a party game published by Out of the Box. In the newest "crate" edition, you get a large selection of cards in two different colors. Red Apple cards contain people, places, things and events (Wheat, Steve Martin, etc). Green apple cards contain adjectives (Charming, Sensual, etc). During each round, one player is the judge and plays a Green Apple card to the table, while the rest of the players play a Red Apple card in an attempt to play something appealing to the judge. If the judge picks your card, you get to keep the green apple card and place it in front of you. Once one player gets to a determined amount of Green Apple cards (determined by the number of players), the game is over and that person wins.
Gameplay: Gameplay is usually quick, it usually causes a bunch of laughter, and discussion about the cards that are played. The decision to play a card that matches the Green Apple card, or one that is simply humorous depends on what you know about the person judging. Typically in the games I play, the most humorous (or perverted) result wins.. but your results may vary.
With your family and friends: This game is always a hit. It plays fast, the rules are very easy to explain, and there's usually a lot of laughter and socializing over the game. Of all of the games I have introduced to my non-gaming family and friends, this is the one that gets requested most often, and the one that has actually been purchased by the most people. This is almost always followed by: "Lets play again!" once the game is over. I would have no hesitation in introducing this game to any group of friends, and it's always proved a hit. Also, with this group, we never play with the rule where the last card in gets tossed out.
With your fellow geeks: Apples to Apples can be hit or miss with the gaming crowd. A lot of times, you're going to have a player in this group who will always go for the most literal answer. Introducing this as a "party game" may overcome this type of behavior, but also may lead to those same people turning it down flat out. My games of this with other gamers have been mixed. Typically in that setting, you're going to play the games that you can't play with just anyone, and a lot of times it feels like a waste of time to play a party game. I disagree personally, but its a common reaction. I think this will go over well with a gamer group, but should be treated as a filler, or a game you play at the begining of the night while talking about which deeper games to play.
Overall: Apples to Apples is truly a game worth owning for family and friends alone, I've yet to be in a situation where its not a big hit. One issue with the game is that with familiarity with the cards, the enjoyment level can go down over time. Luckily, there are plenty of expansions, and I would suggest mixing them all together for maximum enjoyment.
Friends and Family: 10
I love this either as a filler waiting for people to arrive or as a party peice, but I dont think I've ever played by the rules - we tend to play until we're ready for a different game.