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Tips & Strategies (39)

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8
Explorer - Level 6
Critic - Level 2
Sophomore
20 of 20 gamers found this helpful
“Cycle through all the cards”

The first couple of times I played this with friends we noticed that we were seeing a lot of the same cards, far more than expected. So now after a game we put all of the discards into the box first, and then put playing card jokers on them (though of course anything distinct from the apple cards will work). Then the next time we play we don’t pull those under the jokers out, and as a result we cycle through all the cards and get as few repeats as possible.

We also do this for Cards Against Humanity.

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8
Senior
Critic - Level 3
Junior Reporter
Explorer - Level 4
27 of 28 gamers found this helpful
“Choose a temperament”

It can be very frustrating for people to lay down the perfect card only to have a judge choose something goofy one turn and something serious the next. Unpredictability adds to laughs sometimes, but it minimizes what little skill is available to players.

When turning a green card, the judge should state something about what he/she is looking for. This could be “best match”, “most sappy”, “wacky”, “hilarious”, “clever”, etc. — depending on the card. The judge can also say “I have no idea how I’ll choose”.

As long as the judge attempts to follow his/her statement it allows the players to choose cards that will maker judging a little more relevant.

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4
Gamer - Level 3
Amateur Advisor
Noble
20 of 21 gamers found this helpful
“Great to play with English learners”

I played this game a lot while I was in Japan. It was a lot of fun with a group of English students (either kids or adults) that had a pretty good grasp of english. Beforehand, I went through and took out cards that I felt were either too difficult or wouldn’t be familiar to my students. here were lots of fun an laughs, and even when they didn’t know what the card meant it could be fun to play it and learn what the judge thought.

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5
Gamer - Level 5
Sophomore
Bard
28 of 30 gamers found this helpful
“End Game”

At the end of the game, when everyone is getting ready to call it quits, don’t draw any more red cards. You have to play the cards you have in your hand until you have 1 card left. For the last play, everyone plays their last card and you vote for the best. You end up with some even wilder and funnier rounds as players try desperately to convince who ever turn it is to choose their card.

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8
Rosetta Stone
Football Fan
Explorer - Level 5
Junior
26 of 28 gamers found this helpful
“Less gaming, More fun!”

We highly encourage discussion and chatter when playing Apples to Apples when we play with the extended family. Sometimes, the discussion gets so long-winded that we can go 20 minutes between hands!

This is NOT a game to rush people. Let people take their time, discuss the cards and have fun playing.

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3
I play red
8 of 8 gamers found this helpful
“Reading the cards for context”

My group has picked up the habit of describing, in descending order which card we like the best. It makes for a longer game, but we love the time to tell a bit of a story and build some tension. It really makes the game come alive when you can use story telling elements.

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7
Knight-errant
Old Bones
The Silver Heart
16 of 17 gamers found this helpful
“Apples to Dixit”

After playing a Dixit for the first time, I think playing Apples to Apples using Dixit’s rules makes for a better game. For one, it may remove the “play to the judge” baseline, but it removes the often random pairings that make this less of a game and more of an activity. The social activity may be the whole point of the game as published, but I think Dixit does the same basic game better.

Essentially Dixit is played like this: Each player is dealt a hand of cards (could even mix reds and greens with this variant), active player picks a card and gives a clue to the card. Other players pick a card that fits with the clue. The selected cards are shuffled and placed face up. The other players pick the cards they think best match the clue. If everyone/no one guesses the active player’s card, they all get 2 points, active player gets 0. If at least one, but not all of the players guess the active player’s card, active player and correct guesses get 3 points. Bonus points to each of the other players who have someone else guess their card instead of the active player’s card. Play to 30 points.

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3
I Own a Game!
Follower
Sophomore
14 of 15 gamers found this helpful
“Official Variations”

Out of the Box has a list of “Official” variations on their site, almost every “rule” posted here seems to be included there, as well as many others. Quite interesting to check out, I think I’ll suggest some of them next time I play!

http://www.otb-games.com/apples/apples_variations.html

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8
Gamer - Level 8
Expert Recruiter
Count / Countess
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
25 of 28 gamers found this helpful
“Let everyone play”

A strict reading of the rules of Apples to Apples says that the last card is not counted (to speed things up)… I advise against this. Since you’ll most likely be playing with nongamers, arbitrary rules that exclude are not good and may leave some with a bad taste in their mouth if they tend to be slower to decide or more prone to analysis paralysis. If the game slows, have the judge randomly choose the last one’s card.

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5
Phoenix Clan - Legend of the Five Rings
Pet Lover
13 of 14 gamers found this helpful
“Play to the Judge”

Know your judge and play your cards towards what you think he/she will pick. I have played with my cousins and know that a majority of the time playing something funny will get mine picked. My husband, for instance, will lean towards more serious avenues so playing toward that strength has netted me many victories also. It turns out to be a great strategy when you are winning hand after hand. So basically, read your judge, know your judge and win the game.

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6
I play purple
Petroglyph
Baron / Baroness
12 of 13 gamers found this helpful
“Don't bother trying to match the hint”

I learned this when the green card was “Fuzzy” and my card was “Fuzz”. Guess what took the point? “General George S. Patton”. Yeah. Just go for the bizarre answer. More than half the time you’ll take the point just for weirdness’ sake.

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5
Intermediate Reviewer
Amateur Advisor
Sophomore
17 of 19 gamers found this helpful
“Just Because They Gave You Blank Cards...”

Apples to Apples (and each of it’s expansions) comes with extra blank red and green cards that allow you to add your own favorite nouns and descriptors to the game. It’s tempting to write in things from your personal experience; your ex-girlfriend’s name, the name of your neighbor’s loud dog, your boss, or the place you and your friends hung out at in college.

Don’t do it.

Apples to Apples is first and foremost a social game that depends on universal, or at the least, common reference points. You’ll most likely play this game with a variety of different people along the way, and while “Stinky Rover” may evoke hilarious memories of the time the dog knocked over and dug through every trash can on the street for you and your roommates, the hosts of the dinner party you’re invited to next year will have no idea what to do with that card when they draw it.

Or worse, and intensely embarrassing, the new friend your roommate brings to the game actually knows that specific person you’ve named, and has an entirely different take on them.

Better to write the general “awful exes”, “skeevy restaurant”, or “noisy neighborhood dog” than to make a reference that requires a deep contextual understanding.

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8
Rosetta Stone
Football Fan
Explorer - Level 5
Junior
21 of 24 gamers found this helpful
“Be mysterious and know the Judge!!”

Obviously, you should know how the Judge thinks, so that you know whether making him/her laugh is going to get you a point.

But more than that, don’t ever think that telling people what you played is going to help you. Always be secretive! It really makes a difference!

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3
I Own a Game!
Follower
Sophomore
16 of 18 gamers found this helpful
“Political Apples”

Our group of very friendly, outgoing, hard-core social gamers has a hard time with the default ruleset. We remove two rules when we play:
1. The cards are not anonymous. Everyone knows who played what.
2. The players are allowed to make arguments for their card.

This adds a few things to to game that some people might like and others won’t. Primarily, it adds a lot of yelling, arguing, and laughter for us. The point of the first rule is to allow the second (can’t really argue if it’s anonymous), and the second is to make the game social instead of just a bunch of people quietly considering their hand of cards.

I’ve seen tons of great outcomes from this:
Four players make awful arguments, and the quiet guy with the worst card wins it because the other four people said such stupid things. (Judge can judge on anything they want!)

Two people have a serious debate over the merits of their two, and Judge makes a judge-like ruling on the case at hand.

One person puts down their card and just repeatedly says the name (“KITTENS. KITTENS. KIT. TENS.”) — manages to win it due to the hilarity of their argument…

Of course, there’s downsides to this. Bribery, truces, deals… But that’s all part of the social game aspect, too! 🙂

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8
Intermediate Reviewer
Paladin
Tinkerer
Novice Advisor
20 of 23 gamers found this helpful
“Get rid of strange cards”

Often you find yourself with bizarre cards that are unlikely to be useful. Make sure such cards are easy accesible, and if you make a quick assesment that none of your cards is a winner candidate, throw in the odd card instead. You get a fresh card and the bizarre card quite often makes people laugh (which really is what this game is about anyway…) and every now and then it actaully wins.

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5
Novice Reviewer
Novice Advisor
Knight
Baron / Baroness
20 of 23 gamers found this helpful
“Discarding Cards”

If you’ve played this game enough you know that inevitably you will wind up with junk cards that are boring or just don’t seem to ever get used.

To help fix this, simply add in the rule that any player may discard his or her entire hand at the beginning of each round and redraw the same number of cards.

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5
Novice Reviewer
Novice Advisor
Knight
Baron / Baroness
20 of 23 gamers found this helpful
“The Worm”

I read about this variation and thought it sounded pretty interesting to try:

After all of the players have added their card facedown for the round, the judge takes another card from the deck and adds it into the mix.

If this card is picked as the final answer, all the players (including the judge) lose a point. This causes some pretty interesting additions to the pile and also slows the game down a bit as “The Word” might actually win a few rounds throughout the game.

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7
Marquis / Marchioness
Advanced Reviewer
Professional Advisor
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
24 of 28 gamers found this helpful
“Play your card to whoever is the acting judge”

Get to know the other players. Some players will pick cards that most closely match the adjective. Other players will pick cards that are the most hilarious or make no sense at all. Clearly different cards will fit with each of these personality types, so know who is picking the card and play the card based on that.

Additionally, there are cards titled something like “My bank account”. When you play these cards that are self-referencing, remember that you’re not referring to your own bank account, when the card is read, it will be interpreted as the judge’s bank account. That can completely change the meaning of the card, and many people forget this.

But in the end, just have fun!

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4
Gamer - Level 3
Professional Grader
Sophomore
8 of 9 gamers found this helpful
“End of Game Description”

At t eh end of the game the cards you have won decribe you! Read them all out with everyone saying, I am… (Selfish, creative… etc.)

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4
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Critic - Level 2
Gamer - Level 3
22 of 27 gamers found this helpful
“Take turns”

I played with a group where the person whose card was picked got to be “it” next. In a big group, this got really frustrating for some of the people who never got picked. I don’t even know if this is the official way to play or not but either way, take turns!

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