Apples to Apples
Publisher: Out of the Box
Outrageous Imagine: you have to pick the answer that best matches the word 'outrageous'. Your choices are: 'a bowl of cherries', 'Betty Crocker', 'my family' and 'going to the dentist'. Tough choice? Apples to Apples is full of moments like this.
The premise behind this entertaining party game is very simple. One player is judge. This player takes a card from the green apple deck, which contains an adjective such as 'outrageous'. (There are synonyms printed on the card which will help if the players' vocabulary isn't huge.)
Now every other player chooses a card from his or her hand of seven red apple cards, each of which contains, usually, a noun (and some explanatory text for those who don't know who, say, Betty Crocker is). All players play their red apple cards face down simultaneously. The judge then collects them all and decides which red apple (noun) card best matches the green apple (adjective) card. The player of the winning red apple card then earns the green apple card as a prize.
Then all players draw back up to seven red apple cards and the next player around the table is judge. Play continues until one player has collected a set number of green apple cards. That player is the winner.
What makes Apples to Apples so much fun is the need to think fast. When more than four players are playing (up to ten can be accommodated without loss of speed) the last red apple card played to the table is ineligible to win; as a result there is a mad dash to play a card - any card - as soon as the adjective is read out. This results in some very surreal answers, which may even have a chance at winning, since the judge's decision is both arbitrary and final.
With over 100 green apple cards and over 300 red apple cards, it would take quite a while for answers to repeat themselves. The publisher already has a contingency plan for this, however, and there are expansions and theme sets in the works. It should take quite a while before they become needed, though.
It has been quite a while since I played a game so completely fun as Apples to Apples. I can imagine this party game being useful for introducing players to how another player thinks (by what answers they pick as judge), or as a vocabulary expander, but honestly these thoughts don't occur to me as I frantically pull out a card to match 'outrageous' and then realize that I neglected to play 'Andy Warhol.' Oh well, there's always next round.