DIY: Apples to Apples Game

By Antonia Sorin

Apples to Apples is an award-winning party game, originally released in 1999. It is recommended for ages 12 and up and requires a minimum of four players. Apples to Apples is a card game, with a deck of green cards, which each contain a description, and red cards, which each contain a noun or specific action. Players try to match their red cards to a single green card. If you don't have the game on hand, you can do it yourself in a couple of different ways.

Apple to Apple Rules

To start, each player is dealt 7 red noun cards. One player (the dealer) is chosen to be the judge for the round and draws a green description card instead of receiving any red noun cards and places it on the table, reading off what's on the card. Except for the judge, each player must decide which of her red noun cards they think matches the most, and place her choice face down on the table. The judge shuffles the cards and reads off the different nouns and chooses the winner of the round, who gets to keep the green card as a point. All the cards are collected, and play continues clockwise, with each player getting a fresh hand of 7.

Creating Decks

It is possible to create your own Apples to Apples game decks. The words and phrases won't be completely the same, but that's fine, seeing as they'll all be words that resonate with you. You're going to need to create at least as many green cards as rounds of the game you intend to play and for the red cards seven times the number of players times the number of rounds--in other words, you're going to need a lot of cards.

One good way to make the cards is with green- and red-colored card stock. Twenty-five green cards and 100 red cards should be sufficient to start, seeing as you can always make more later. 100 red cards allows for a wide variety of combinations and will make it less of a big deal when they have to be reused as the game continues.

For each of the green cards, write a description of some kind. Keep it brief: "adventurous," "terrifying," "hilarious" or "well- traveled" are examples. For each of the red cards, really vary the content of the noun or action. Use actors, politicians, places, items, household chores.

Since it's a homemade set, you can have fun with it and include the names of people that the people you'll be playing with will know or local activities you all engage in. You could even make a theme for an organization or group. If you are making it for an English department, use authors and books. For a family reunion, use family members and references to family jokes.

Impromptu Apples to Apples

If you want to play Apples to Apples on the fly at a party, but don't have a game on hand, you can try this less formal method. Have all the players (except the judge) come up with seven nouns or specific actions as above and write them on sheets of paper. Mix all the sheets together and deal out seven a person (minus the dealer/judge) as usual. Have the judge come up with their own description. Play continues normally. After the round, each player (minus the new judge) writes down seven new nouns. The new nouns are mixed in with the old nouns and play continues until there is a winner.

About the Author

Antonia Sorin started writing in 2004. She is an independent writer, filmmaker and motion graphics designer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. She has completed work for the Long Leaf Opera Company, the former Exploris Museum and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She graduated from Thomas Edison State College in New Jersey with a Bachelor of Arts in communications.