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Apples to Apples

There’s a whole lot I like about Twitter. There’s a whole lot I don’t like, but that’s another post altogether. One of my favorite things about Twitter is that people on there are so helpful. Last week, when I tweeted that I was looking for some family friendly games, folks were very generous with their suggestions. Many suggested Apples to Apples, and since both of my kids have played this game with friends, I decided to purchase it.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the game, here’s a brief description via the fine folks at Wikipedia:


Each player is dealt seven “red apple” cards; on each card is printed a noun or noun phrase, or possibly a gerund.
The judge (a chosen player) draws a “green apple” card on which is printed an adjective (“scary”, “frivolous”, “patriotic”, etc.), and places it face-up on the table for everybody to see. Then each player (except the judge) chooses a card that they think is the best match for the green apple card, and places it face-down. The judge shuffles the red apple cards, reads them (often aloud), and decides which noun is the best match for the adjective. This decision is subjective; the official rules encourage the judge to pick the match that is “most creative, humorous or interesting”.

The player who submitted the chosen red apple card wins the round, and takes the green apple card to signify the win. All players then draw red cards until they have seven again, and the role of “judge” may pass to another person (generally going to the next player in line, though some rules have the round’s winner becoming “judge”). Some editions of the game suggest discounting the last red-apple card played, to encourage players to place their cards down more quickly.

The winner is the first player to accumulate a pre-designated number of green apple cards; the more players, the lower the total.

I had never played this game before, but it only took me a couple of hands to figure out that the key to this game is understanding how the person holding the green card (the judge) thinks.

For example, if, as judge, a person were to play this card:

you would have to know what that person might consider vile. My daughter might choose one of these cards:

Actually, my daughter played "Oil Companies" when this card was selected at which point we reminded her what her dad did for a living.

while my son would most likely choose one of these:

my husband would probably choose any one of these cards:

whereas I would most likely choose one of these:

Note: I should clarify. I don't think all Reality TV Shows are vile. Just the ones where people are shown at their worst in order to make the viewer feel superior by comparison. Deadliest Catch and pretty much any show Mike Rowe has anything to do with are excluded from this list.

The object of the game is to guess what the judge will consider the closest match, not what you think it is. I’ve only played it with my immediate family, but I have to think it would be the ultimate ice breaker game. What better way to get to know other people than playing a game where knowing what a person cares about and what he doesn’t means a better chance of winning in the end? Where letting others know what you think is less important than paying attention to what others think?

There’s a life lesson in there somewhere.

What do you think?

Ever played Apples to Apples?