Apples to Apples: Critical Play

Game: Apples to Apples

Creator: Matthew Kirby

Platform: Analog, Cards

Target Audience:

     Age (12 +): Due to the level of vocabulary and the pop culture references on the Apple-to-Apple cards that younger kids may not understand, I would say that the original Apples and Apples should ideally be played with people over 12 years of age.

     Friends (Closer the better): What makes Apples-to-Apples so fun is not the game itself but rather the people playing it! While it could be played from total strangers, the game is so much better with close friends, as one can incorporate inside jokes and more easily facilitate conversation, which make the game significantly more enjoyable!

The Formal Elements:

     Number of Players: 4 -8 Players

     Rules and Procedures: The game is quite easy to follow! Players start with a hand of seven “red apple” cards that contain nouns. Each round, a player is selected to be the judge and that judge draws a “green apple” card that features an adjective. The judge determines what “red apple” card is the best match for the “green apple” card, and the player who player who played the chosen “red apple” card wins. Each round, the role of judge rotates; the number of rounds is determined by the number of players. The game is designed for four to ten players and can be played until someone obtains a certain number of green cards, everyone has had the chance to be the judge, or the deck runs out!

A fun and interesting mechanic of the game is the fact that the judge rotates every round! This mechanic helps keep the players active and engaged throughout the game. It also forces other players in a different view of thinking!

Types of Fun: The game is first and foremost a fellowship game! While players have an objective to obtain the most “green apple” cards, I would argue that the game is centered around the interactions and conversation between players. As the judge decides who wins these “green apple” cards, knowing the other players is essential to winning. The cards that players submit and hearing their reasoning behind their choices make the game incredibly fun and entertaining!

Improvements: My friend group and I may just not be the target audience of the game; however, I found some of the references and vocabulary on the cards to go completely over my head, inhibiting me from fully enjoying Apples-to-Apples. I wish the cards did not reference specific people and events of certain decades, as those cards quickly be outdated as time passes. The lack of out-dated cultural cards makes me perfer apple to apples for kids.

Comparison: Apples to Apples like many other judging games can get repetitive after a while. I would love it if there was some type of twist that keeps me on my toes.

Vulnerability: While I do love Apples to Apples and believes it forms connection and conversation, I do not think it regularly goes in to deep conversation that games such as Never Have I Ever do.

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