Apples to Apples is a party game originally published by Out of the Box Publishing, and now published by Mattel. The object of the game is to win the most rounds by playing a "red apple" card (which generally features a noun) from one's hand to best "match" that round's communal "green apple" card (which contains an adjective) as chosen by that round's judging player. The game is designed for four to ten players and played for 30–75 minutes.
Apples to Apples was chosen by Mensa International in 1999 as a "Mensa Select" prizewinner, an award given to five games each year. It was also named "Party Game of the Year" in the December 1999 issue of Games magazine and received the National Parenting Center's seal of approval in May 1999. The popularity of the game led to an increased interest in similar card-matching/answer-judging party games.
How to Play
Apples to Apples is an easy to learn game for 4 to 10 players age 12 and over. It should be a fairly fast game which makes it fun for the whole table. These Apples to Apples rules are simple:
- The red cards, (749) depicts a person, place, thing or event. (Example: Hollywood)
- Green cards (249) list a characteristic of a person, place, thing or event. (Example: Deadly)
- There are also 7 Red and 3 Green cards that are blank to write on for a more personal game for your house or group of friends.
- Arraign the cards in stacks in easy reach of all players.
Beginning the Game
- A JUDGE is selected, often the owner of the game, master of the house or the first person to recommend this game. He or she deals 7 Red Cards to each player, face down and they look at their hand for strategic reasons.
- The JUDGE takes a Green Card and announces what characteristic is listed. They may also say the three helpful hints on the bottom as a clue to the other players ( for example DEADLY: fatal, lethal, murderous…). The apples to apples rules do NOT require the JUDGE to do this. This card will then be laid face up in front of the JUDGE.
- Each PLAYER selects, out of their hand, something they think the JUDGE will identify as the best example of the characteristic. (Your ‘Hollywood’ card is not the best one for this hand. Some better ones would be: Gang Members, Cholesterol or, depending on what you know about the Judge: HMO’s)
- The JUDGE is the sole person to decide which card played is the closest match.
- The player that has that closest match will ‘win’ the hand and receive the green card to place in front of them as a way to keep score.
- All Red Cards played are retrieved and placed at the bottom of the discard pile. All players refresh their hands with a card to replace the one played and play continues around the table to the left.
- The winner is determined, either by timed play or by winning a certain number of Green Cards. For 4 players, 8 Green Cards is a winner, 5 players: 7 cards, 6 players: 6, and so on.
Strategy for your enjoyment:
- Apples to apples rules allow for an entire host of activities and mind sets to each and every one playing.
a. ‘Table Talk’, that is talking up, or down, one red card over another is allowed and encouraged.
b. It is helpful if you know something about the JUDGE. That will assist you in knowing what they think is deadly, creepy, charming, innocent or friendly.
c. Remember, the JUDGE can make their decision based on any criteria or none at all! This also gives you a LOT of leeway when you are the JUDGE!
A few Interesting apples to apples rules variations:
- All players choose a Red Card BEFORE the JUDGE unveils a Green card! The judging is done as before.
- The JUDGE plays 2 Green cards and the players must select a Red Card that matches BOTH characteristics.
Revisions and Expansions
- Party Box - a combination of the original game and the first two "Expansion Sets"
- Party Crate - a premium version of the Party Box a wooden box packaging.
- Party Box Expansion One - a combination of the original "Expansion Sets" 3 and 4
- Party Box Expansion Two
- Bible Edition
- Jewish Edition
- Junior Jewish Edition
- German Edition
- Yiddish Edition
- Disney Edition
- British Isles Edition
- Spanish edition: Manzanas con manzanas
- To Go - a portable version that includes all new cards.
- Family Edition
- Sour Apples to Apples - a variant in which the judge also chooses a "worst" answer. That player is given a punishment for the next round as determined by an included "spinner". All of the cards in this version are dual-purpose and contain a red half (noun) and green half (adjective) to be used depending on which role the card is used in.
- Big Picture Apples to Apples- a variant in which the red cards are pictures