Apples to Apples

Today’s Major FUN Award goes to Apples to Apples. In fact, it goes not only to Apples to Apples, not only to the two editions of Apples to Apples Junior or the Apple to Apple Booster Kits, but also to the veritable makers and marketers of Apples to Apples, Out of the Box Publishing.

But first, let’s talk Apples to Apples.

It’s a party game – from a little party of four players to a significant party of ten. It’s a card game. A lot of cards. 432 cards, by my count. Nicely made, highly-shufflable, plastic-coated, square-cornered cards. Well-designed, easy-to-read cards with cute commentaries. And a card tray to hold three stacks of ’em. And clear rules printed on stiff, coated paper. This is typical of Out of the Box products. Lots of consideration given to look and feel and longtime replay value.

But enough about how it looks. It’s how it plays that makes it so Major FUN Award-worthy.

There are two different kinds of cards. The Green Apple cards describe characteristics, like: Influential, Wicked, Distinguished. The Red Apple cards are people, places and things. Each player gets seven Red Apple cards. One player, who gets to be the Judge for that particular turn, selects a Green Apple card. Then everyone else more or less races to play a Red Apple card or two that fits that characteristic. What constitutes a fit can get very iffy in deed. Given, for example, a Green Apple of INFLUENTIAL, which of these cards would you play: COCKROACHES, HOOLIGANS, JAMES BOND, WHEAT, ICEBERGS, GRAVITY, or THE UNIVERSE? Some are clearly iffier than others. One could say that THE UNIVERSE is more influential than HOOLIGANS. In fact, one could even say that GRAVITY is even more influential.

It turns out that that very iffiness is what makes the game such a delight to play. There are no right answers. It’s up to the imagination of the players, the judgment of the judge, and whatever subtle pressures one puts on the other.

Because a different player plays Judge each turn, the iffiness gets spread around evenly enough to make the game as fair as it is fun.

As to its Gigglwattage, it varies in intensity. Generally, the game is about a 40-Gigglewatter. But, from time to time, it can get blindingly funny.

And then there’s the Major FUN Award that goes to Out-of-the-Box itself. Every game I’ve looked at from them so far has that well-designed, carefully considered, made-for-easy-fun feeling. And they make good use of their website, going to the extent of offering downloadable rules for each of their games – just in case you need an extra copy.

A Major FUN Award for the game. A Major FUN Award for the company that makes it. O, the enthusiastic endorsement of it all!

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