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How to Play Apples to Apples? Rules & Instructions

If you’re a 90’s kid then you likely remember Apples to Apples. This party card game was incredibly popular upon its release in 1999. While its popularity has waned over time it’s still plenty of fun, for both children and adults. 

But if you want to give this old favorite a try, you need to know how to play. So, read on and learn everything you need to know about Apples to Apples. 

What is Apples to Apples?

Apples to Apples was originally published by Out of The Box Publishing and is now owned by Mattel. During its original release, the game received a lot of praise. It was awarded Party Game of The Year by numerous publications and received an official seal of approval from the National Parenting Center. 

But it’s most impressive accolade was its selection as a Mensa Select winner. The award given by Mensa International was awarded to only 5 games a year. Now with a name like Mensa attached, you can likely guess that this game is going to have educational value. 

While that is certainly true, it doesn’t stop Apples to Apples from being fun! In this game, players need to match their red apple cards with the green apple card currently being played. Red apple cards feature nouns, while green apple cards usually feature adjectives. 

Each round a judge will decide who played the best red apple card. With the winner receiving that round’s green apple card. Once one player has won the required amount of green apple cards they win! 

Apples to Apples has inspired numerous games, with the most well-known being the more adult-oriented Cards Against Humanity. But, if you want to give the original wordplay party game a try, let’s see what you need.  

What You’ll Need 

Apples to Apples might not be quite as popular as it was in the 90s, but finding a set should still be quite easy. You can find numerous different sets online, including themed sets that use characters/ words from popular franchises like Disney. 

You will also likely see a lot of junior Apples to Apples sets available as well. The game is usually aimed at children so these sets are quite common. However, you can find Apples to Apples sets aimed at families/ older players as well. We recommend first-time players use one of these sets. 

Apples to Apples Party Box

When you open your set you might be surprised by the lack of equipment. But like any good party card game, you don’t need much to play Apples to Apples. 

Green Apple Cards 

If you want to win Apples to Apples, then you’ll want to collect as many green apple cards as you can. You will usually get between 100 – 150 green apple cards in a set. These cards normally contain adjectives, on each side. 

Red Apple Cards 

You generally get around 300 – 350 red apple cards in a standard set. These cards feature nouns on each side. During the course of gameplay, each player will have a set of 7 red apple cards. 

Each player will need to think fast to decide which red apple card goes best with the green apple card in play. Let’s now take a look at the gameplay involved with Apples to Apples. 

Apples to Apples Rules and Gameplay 

The aim of Apples to Apples is quite simple. You need to play your red apple cards to match up with the green apple card. If the judge chooses your card, then you win that green apple card. 

Once you win enough green apple cards, you win the game. 

Apples to Apples is designed to be a relaxed, party game. Like the card game it inspired, Cards Against Humanity, it’s not really got a scoring system. Winning is all about playing what you think is the best card and the opinion of the judge. 

Setting Up 

Apples to Apples can be played with up to 10 players. The number of players will impact the number of green apple cards you need to win. The grid below shows requirements using traditional rules. However, you can always change this rule if the group agrees. 

No. of Players No. of Cards Required To Win
8 – 104

Once all the players are seated, one player should be chosen as the judge. The judge position will alternate each round. Once the judge is chosen they should shuffle the red apple cards and deal each player 7 cards. The judge should draw themselves 7 red apple cards as well. 

The judge should then take a green apple card from the deck and place it face down in the center. They’ll then read the word aloud to the other players. Each player will then need to quickly choose one of their red apple cards. . 

You can use a smartphone or stopwatch to enforce a time limit on this if you like. However, if you are playing with 6 or more players, then the last player to play a card will have it instantly discarded. 

If you are playing with less than 6 players, then each player can play 2 cards. But only the first 5 cards put down can be considered. So, whether you are using a timer or not, every player will want to act fast. 

Winning Apples To Apples  

The judge will then take the red apple cards remaining and place them face down. They’ll then turn each over and choose the card they think best matches the green apple card. The player who played that card will then reveal themselves and receive the green apple card. 

All the red apple cards that were played will then be discarded. The judge position will move to the player on the left of the previous judge. They’ll then start a new round by dealing everyone 7 red apple cards and choosing another green apple card. Play then repeats itself till one player wins enough green apple cards. 

Apples to Apples – A Fun Family Party Game 

Apples to Apples is a fun party game ideal for family game nights. It’s relaxed and laid back but offers plenty of room for creative play. Younger children will also be sure to find it very educational as well.  

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