A Look at How to Play the Apples to Apples game

A Look at How to Play the Apples to Apples game
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Ain’t No Party Like a Board Game Party!

So you’re throwing a party, but you need ideas on how to make it really fun. Throwing a party can be a great social interaction that involves actual face- to-face contact, but it can sometimes be a frustrating endeavor when trying to come up with something that everyone will enjoy.

One of the best things to get a party going is to introduce a fun game that the entire group can play. In this day and age of video games, you might look to that for a fun time; but what about those party goers who don’t want to play a video game? Or what if you only have controllers for four people and you’ve got ten people at the party?

It’s time to dust off the old board games, and one of the best of these modern classic games is Apples to Apples.

What is This Game?

Apples to Apples is a comparison game that’s meant for four to ten players, where you have to compare one thing to something else

. The game itself consists of two stacks of playing cards - one green and one red stack - and a tray to hold the cards.

The green stack of cards holds a variety of adjective words, while the red cards hold words that are nouns; the point of the game is for players to get as many green cards as possible by having their red card chosen by the judge. The number of green cards gained is determined by how many people are playing, but players can decide exactly how many green cards are needed to win.

The game itself can take from thirty minutes to a little over an hour to complete.

The Gameplay

Learning how to play the Apples to Apples game is fairly easy, once you have the general idea. There are several different variants of the rules that you can consider playing once the entire group understands the basics.

The general rules for playing are: Within the assembled group of players, chose a judge. The judge is the person who will pick the green apple card (the one with the adjectives) and judge which player’s red card works best with the chosen green card. Judges aren’t able to play while judging, but can be switched to different party members after each turn so that they can play.

The appointed judge passes out seven cards to the players or players can chose seven on their own, keeping their hands secret from the others. The judge then chooses a green card and places it face up for players to see. Players then select one of their cards that they feel matches the green card; after choosing, they place the card face down before them.

When all the players have placed down a card, the judge gathers them up, flips them over, revealing the answers. It’s the judge’s decision as to which red card matches the closest to the green card. What makes the game funny in context is that most of the time, the red and green cards will probably have nothing in common.

An example of a game would go something like this: The judge chooses a green card with the word “chewy” on it. Players then look through their cards to see which card is the closest to being chewy. Again, in most cases, a red card will be nowhere close to the actual green card and in these cases, this is what makes the game fun and entertaining.

When players have chosen their particular card, they lay it face down and wait until the others have played their cards. The judge then turns the red cards right side up for everyone to see. Let’s say that the red cards are for these different nouns “monkeys”, “Celine Dion”, “cars”, and “clouds”. The judge then determines which one of these is either the closest or the funniest. In this case, the judge chooses “monkeys”.

The player who had the monkeys card wins the green card. Players then pick up another red card to replace the one discarded and game play resumes until the desired number of green cards has been acquired for the winning player.


While the basic game play of Apples to Apples can be extremely fun, trying out variants of the game can also bring about a fun time for those that are playing. Here are some variants of the game -

  • Apple Traders - players pass one of their seventh cards to the person next to them, thus trading one of their cards for another one. This is before the judge picks and displays the green card.
  • Baked Apples - the chosen judge details why certain cards weren’t chosen before announcing the winner.
  • Infinite Apples - instead of playing to the player with the most green apple cards, play continues until players want to stop. Then the player with the most green cards is the winner.

Apples to Apples is a fun game to play, especially during a big party. The fun comes from the answers that are given by players, which will usually have nothing to do with the green card, such as “hot lava is flirtatious”. It could also be used as a great ice-breaker for people who aren’t familiar with other party members.


Apples to Apples game from Educational Learning Games, https://www.educationallearninggames.com/how-to-play-apples-to-apples-card-game-rules.asp

Munching Apples Fan Site, https://www.com-www.com/applestoapples/

Image Credit: Mattel/author