Taboo + (grammar – skull-numbing boredom) = One Fine Game

I’ve been hearing for a while that the latest in party-game crazes is Apples to Apples, and I’m happy to report that after a single night’s shennanigans, I can declare myself a big fan.

See, my two favorite games so far have been Taboo and Drinking Jenga and Apples to Apples provides a combination of both those games. (I feel legally obligated to tell you that drinking apparently isn’t really a requirement– but, like I’ve been telling my writing students for years, there are just some things you shouldn’t try without being drunk.)

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The premise of the game is fairly simple. There are two kinds of cards: green and red. Green cards have adjectives on them, and the red ones nouns. One person turns a green card over, and then the rest of the players pick a red card each from their hand that they feel best matches the adjective. If the judge, the person who flipped over the green card, agrees with your noun-adjective matching, then you win– which means that you get to keep the green card. Whoever gets to ten green cards first wins.

Wait, did I say simple? I meant painful to explain, but the game ends up being fun anyway.

The main thing is that Apples to Apples is a sly game– winning at it is sometimes about having an imaginative vocabulary, or being quick with pop-cultural references, and other times it really is about you making connections that are weird enough to get noticed, but popular enough to get you get picked a lot. (For example, I picked Thunder as the best noun for the adjective Cranky– but I couldn’t tell you why.) Then again, sometimes it’s about an affection for puns, and sometimes it’s about simple associations between concepts. Who knows? Not me, since I didn’t actually win.

What I do know is that a sure-fire way to make it fun is to play this game with five other loud, oustpoken people. Or, to be honest, with four loud, outspoken people and a petite, quiet woman. (Well, to be perfectly fair, with one petite and quiet woman, one outspoken stoned guy, two moderately enthusiastic people, one fairly enthusaistic player, and a partridge in a pear tree. Plus wine.)

Regardless, it’s an incredibly fun game, and I know that some reader/contributor of 12apostrophes recently got it as a birthday present so I’m waiting to get invited over, especially now that I hear you can buy a bible expansion pack.

$24.99 at Target.com

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