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33 out of 56 gamers thought this was helpful

This is one of those rare games where everyone I know actually enjoyed it.

Most games, we have one or two people who are like “Eh, I’d rather not play again.” Then again, most games also have one or two people who are like “YEAH THAT WAS AWESOME!!!” — seriously. They speak three exclamation points. It’s very strange. This game just had a whole lot of people like “Yeah, I had fun, I’d play that again.”

Looking at the scores of reviewers here, I feel like that may be more universal. I see no 10s, and nothing below a 6? I think this game is just a generally well-received game that isn’t amazing but really is good.

A good buy if you like the artwork and interesting social game mechanics.

Go to the Cranium page


34 out of 39 gamers thought this was helpful

Cranium is one of the best game ideas I’ve seen. Take all the popular party games and combine them into a random mishmash of awesome.

However, they stuck with some basics that seem old-fashioned in game design, I think to appeal to mass audiences, with the basic Cranium game. Sure, you can get over it, and with the right crowd it doesn’t matter, but whenever I play the original Cranium, I kinda wish they had a more interesting underlying game mechanic or scoring system, and I kinda wish they picked better games to mish-mash… (But again, with the right group… – which brings me to my third note):

I’ve never played this game with a group of people who all love all the Cranium styles. I have friends who go “Charades? Guh.” because they are quiet, shy people who don’t like to get up and dance around like idiots. I, personally, go “Sculptures? Guh.” because I have no ability to make anything that is even remotely identifiable out of clay. Similarly with the other games. Nobody seems to love them all, so you end up with 50-75% fun and 25-50% annoyance while playing the game, which is sad.

All the Cranium games have similar problems for the “Never Perfect” situation (although I can think of solutions, maybe i should apply for a job there!), but some of the others have a more interesting approach to the game itself, which fits better in my mind to modern gaming. My personal favorite is Hoopla, as it is a cooperative instead of competitive game that still incorporates all the fun party-style games.

Go to the Apples to Apples page

Apples to Apples

60 out of 67 gamers thought this was helpful

I’ve been playing (and owned) Apples to Apples since shortly after its initial release.

At first, I absolutely loved the game. It was the best party game I’d ever played. It had none of the trivia and word game problems (smart people — well, sort of. when you have a “Berlin, 1952” and you don’t know what it is, it can be hard to play it well 🙂 ) — and it has none of the “category” problems (“things you hold” … oh man, the arguments!) — but it was still an open-ended, casual, fun game with laughs.

So, on the general assumption that the game is a great party game, here are the downsides I’ve found:

* Playing with the same people game-over-game leads to an incredibly predictable game. For instance, about a quarter of the cards happen to be “favorites” of various people, like Sarah loves puppies, so if I get a “puppies” card, I save it until Sarah’s judge, and I play it, and I always win, regardless of the category. “cute”? Puppies! “evil”? Puppies! “Enormous”? Puppies! Win, win, win. This works to your advantage sometimes, but most of the time it’s just frustrating, because you had a really “good” card (either funny or accurate, whatever your judge calls good 🙂 ), but you lose to a favorite.

* Playing with people you don’t know can lead to…bad situations. As other posters have said, you get some bad-taste jokes in Apples to Apples. Category: Hilarious. Cards played: Comedian, Toilet Paper, The Holocaust. The judge burst out laughing and immediately chose The Holocaust. The person who played Comedian (who I had just met) threw a fit, (“I don’t see what’s so funny about that!”) and to this day, she dislikes me.

So, as far as getting my money’s worth? I’ve had more great hours of fun out of Apples to Apples dollar-for-dollar than any other board game I’ve ever purchased. But if you ask me to play it tonight, I’ll groan. 🙂

Advice: If you’re in a group of friends or family who hasn’t already played Apples to Apples a ton, get it. (Or get Sour Apples to Apples.) — if half your friends have played a lot, skip it. And don’t play it during a first date. 😛