Critical Play: Bluffing, Judging and Getting Vulnerable

Apples to Apples was invented by Matt Kirby. His original concept took place at his in-laws where he posed the question “who is the better writer F. Scott Fitzgerald or Hemingway?”( He asked the question in the hopes of generating a stimulating conversation and doing so identified a pattern comparison. In his original launch, there was a board game component which, as we know, is no longer part of the structure. While attending an Origins Game Fair, Matt met and later partnered with Out of the Box Publishing in 1998 ( Fast-forward, Mattel purchased the rights to Apples to Apples in 2007 ( Fun fact—Matt created a spicy version of Apples to Apples, that could have been comparable to Cards Against Humanity, but was vetoed by Mattel.

The target audience consists of any gamer that is above the ages of 12. The physical game is predicated on the ability to read, process information and the physical ability to pick up the card. The digital version requires some dexterity in the form of finger control of a mouse, tablet or game console ( Four to eight players ensure optimal game play experience. One person is the judge who picks an adjective card and selects, from the other participants, the best noun that fits the adjective. To a certain extent, Apples to Apples represents a player verse player game. If the judge chooses your noun card as the best match you win that round. The boundaries of the game are limited to the card options. The objective of the game is to collect the first five adjective cards in order to win. The outcome of the game usually involves high energy and lots of laughter. There can be some strategy if you have a keen understanding of your judges’ mindset, but largely chance determines if you have an applicable noun that best matches the judge’s adjective. Am sure there are improvements that could be made to this game, I have not come up with any at the moment. The most comparable game in its genre is Cards Against Humanities ( The biggest difference centers around the content of the adjective and noun cards. Cards Against Humanities is designed for shock value and is oriented towards adult players. Both games have expansion packs. Cards Against Humanity expansion packs are usually more explicit in nature, but they do have a family and kid edition. Apples to Apples appeals to a broader base of players, whereas Cards Against Humanity’s primary demographic is between 20-45 years of age. Neither game requires vulnerability. With Apples to Apples the topics are neutral and do not evoke uncomfortable moments, the same cannot be said for Cards Against Humanity.  

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