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Apples to Apples

4-10 players
Ages 12+
20-30 minutes

Apples to Apples is bound to become a party game classic. It takes a minute to learn and gets a room full of laughs every time I play. The rules are simple. Every player has a hand of 7 red apple cards. On each red card is a noun (people, places, or things) and often a funny little quote about it. Every round, one person acts as the Judge and flips over a card from a deck of green apple cards. On each green card is an adjective. Then the players (except the Judge) each pick a card from their hand that they think 'the Judge' will choose. Now this is where things get vague, but fun! What sort of criteria will the Judge use? Will he pick a noun that is best described by the adjective? Will he pick the one that's the funniest? Will he pick the card that appeals most to him? The players have to use some intuition. They then place the card face down in a pile and draws a new red card. The Judge shuffles the face down cards, reads them, and picks one. Whoever layed the card he picked gets the green apple card. First person to get 8 green cards, wins (or less if more people are playing). It's that simple.

What makes the game so much fun? The people you play with. I have to say that I've played this game many times with many groups of people, and the dynamics are different every time. That's because it's a totally interactive people game, and people are different. This is not for the overly serious gamer. This game is to be taken lightly and all in the name of fun.

The game claims that up to 10 can play, but I disagree. I find that 4, 5 or 6 are the best numbers, allowing each player to lay one red card each round. The rules suggest that if 6 or more people are playing, only use the first 4 cards laid down. This is fine if all the players are fast, but not if you're playing with slower non-gamers (Give Grandma a chance to play a card!). I tried playing this with a large group once and it was chaos. Those who didn't get to play a card felt left out, while others were throwing 'bad' cards onto the pile just to get them out of their hands. I'd suggest a smaller group, and if you do have 8-10 players, split them up into 2 smaller games. There are plenty of cards to go around.

Also, the game suggests ages 12 and up. Many of the red apple cards conain historical events and cultural references. If the players don't know who Jacques Cousteau is or don't remember the Challenger Explosion, they might not 'get it'. Then again, that can be part of the fun!

All in all I'd say that this is a great party game, and a great game to be played with non-gamers. Literally everyone I've played Apples to Apples with enjoyed this game, even those who hate board games. That has to say something.
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