How Apples to Apples Works

By: Dave Roos

How to Play Apples to Apples

Apples to Apples is best when played with four or more players over 12 years of age. Younger kids should stick with Apples to Apples Junior. The game is also great for large groups and parties, especially the Apples to Apples Party Box, which has hundreds and hundreds of cards.

To start the game, place a stack of Red Apple Cards and Green Apple Cards in the card tray and select who will be the first judge. It doesn't really matter who starts as the judge, since everyone will eventually get a turn. The judge then deals seven Red Apple Cards face down to all players, including him- or herself. Players should keep the content of their cards to themselves. The judge then takes a Green Apple Card from the top of the deck, turns it face up in the middle of the table and reads it aloud.


Once the card is read, all players should select a Red Apple Card from their hand that best matches the adjective on the Green Apple Card. This is the fun part. If you don't have an obvious match, be creative. Cater your choice to the judge. Remember that his or her opinion is all that matters. If the judge is obsessed with Star Wars, then it might be worth it to play your Darth Vader card. Players should try to select their red cards quickly to keep the game moving. A speedy version of the game disqualifies the slowest person to select a red card for that round. Red cards are placed face down on the table, so the judge doesn't know who submitted which card.

The judge collects the red cards, shuffles them slightly, then reminds everyone what the green card says. The judge then reads each of the red card submissions, and after some thought, chooses what he or she considers the best match. The winning player claims the prize of the Green Apple Card. The role of judge then shifts clockwise (to the left), at which point the new judge deals everyone another Red Apple Card to get each hand back to seven cards and flips over a new Green Apple Card. The game continues like this until you get tired of playing or an individual player collects a set amount of green cards. The official rules recommend eight green cards for a four-player game and as few as four for 10 players.

Apples to Apples is one of those games that begs for twists and variations on the standard rules. Head to the next page for some new ways to play.