Apples to Apples

The keyword was “charming.” My 20 year old sister had a choice between “Frank Sinatra” or “Pirates.”

She chose Pirates.

She also freely admitted she would have chosen “Count Dracula” over Frank Sinatra. That’s the last time I play that game with the twilight/Captain Jack Sparrow generation.

I fucking hate that game. There is no rhyme or reason why people pick the winners that they do. The rules allow you to choose whichever one you want. I quit playing when someone picked “shoes” as more attractive than a fucking BLACK HOLE! Yes, that’s right, the most attractive thing conceivable in the entire universe lost out to shoes.

Not to mention the ridiculously impossible choices that one has to make, like choosing which is hotter, “fire” or “bonfire”, or which is luxurious, “book” or “patio”.

I once deliberately trolled this game by just choosing a random card to play without looking. I won. :rolleyes:

It isn’t a logical game, it’s a psychological one. The object isn’t to pick the “right” response, but the one that will appeal to the judge.

I played it for the first time last Thanksgiving, with my sister, her husband, their two children, and my mother. I used a completely different strategy when my mother was the judge than when my niece was judging. When my mother was up, I would pick something “normal” (and from her era, if possible). When my niece was up, I would try to pick an answer at right angles to the logical one. The strategy worked very well.

Yeah, if you try to play it straight, you’ll only end in frustration. But if you can figure out people’s patterns and tendencies, you can do well. Although when I play it, the winning card is usually the one that makes the adjective dirtiest.

I used that strategy to good effect tonight. My very Republican brother got JFK and Hillary Rodham Clinton cards from me for negative keywords. I won both rounds. I appealed to my mother’s sense of humor with goofy responses, and I kept in mind the fact that my wife utterly disregarded any type of political or cultural reference. I never played “the 1970s” or “country music” type cards for her.

Yeah, “Michael Jackson” won the “touchy-feely” card tonight, over “picking your nose.”

When I played it, my circle of friends thought “Helen Keller” was the best response for anything. It was an unwritten house rule that when you played that card, you won the round.

I was temporarily taken aback when I lost a round after playing the Helen Keller card with different people.

I love this game for exactly these reasons.

Why would you think Frank Sinatra was charming?

My household loves this game. It such fun with a group of friends.

My favorite moment:

The word was “annoying” and I played “Girlfriend.” It was worth the dirty look I got from my girlfriend.

Best play ever was given by my brother’s ex-wife: the word was “touchy-feely” and her submission was “Helen Keller.” Nobody at the table could breathe for laughing for about 5 minutes.

Our general rule is that “Cher” is a good answer for anything. Doesn’t mean you’ll win, but it’s a good answer. “Play to the judge” is another important tip.

Biggest controversy ever: The word was or “Dangerous”. Two of the cards thrown were “Tornadoes” and “Crawl Spaces.” Mom, for her own reasons, picked “Crawl Spaces.” What followed was an indignant chorus of oh-come-ons and, as the play continued, the irrefutable statement was made, “You hide in a CRAWL SPACE to escape a TORNADO!” To this day that one still gets referenced whenever we play.

I like the game in principle but I dislike it when people pick the funniest ones as the winner. Yeah yeah, part of the game is figuring out what the judge will pick, but I would enjoy the game more if people picked winners based on relevance.

A black hole is not that attractive from a distance. It’s actually repulsive, as you try to avoid it.

The Beau played it with his (French Canadian but for the most part fluently bilingual) family a few Christmases ago and everyone remembered it as a lot of fun. Both of his brothers have Anglo wives /girlfriends and I think there were a few others around.

Last Christmas someone brought the game again, so it was my first year playing. We played it, but the mix was different. My father in law’s fiance’s grasp of English is functional but not nuanced. His brother in law was also struggling with the game. It turned out to be a dud and I think a few feathers were ruffled.

I think it could be fun, but not when too many people are struggling with second languages. (To be fair, I argued that I would suck just as much playing in French as the fiancee did in English, and the Beau and his siblings disagreed. One brother said you can account for language deficit, but not stupidity. I then figured out that Apples to Apples was only the excuse to gripe about Dad’s girlfriend and I excused myself from the conversation. I just won’t go there…)

I love this game but it is not Trivial Pursuit where the best way to play is to strain your brain over the most “correct” answer. If you do that when playing A to A then you will end up frustrated and miserable. It can be really fun but just be aware that some people actually prefer to pick joke answers (actually, most of the people I play with do this - and they’re a blast to play with).

We love Apples to Apples (and its cousin Loaded Questions, which we make particularly foul). It’s great if you have a group of people over at a party; it always makes an appearance at our annual Halloween mechaparty, since it goes so well with liquor and a big group. Usually when we get tired of musical chairs Rock Band and people are starting to get a bit soused.

The custom cards add a lot of flavor. One of our favorites is “The Current Judge”, which lends to some interesting plays and good laughs. (Generally flattering or insulting, respectively.) We also have a few others in the different boxes we have. Most of them are pretty crude, but I know Ralph Wiggum is one we’ve had a lot of fun with.

No accounting for taste though. I’ve made some brilliant – well, in my opinion – plays that went right over the head of the judge. The only time I didn’t enjoy myself is when we had a person who just wasn’t terribly smart, and picked her favorite card each time, rather than the one that was applicable to the played card.

We also do some variations:

Playing green cards on top of red (so you have adjectives instead of nouns)

Double green cards (two adjectives, you have to match both) - great if everyone’s played the classic game

I find Frank Sinatra sinister. At best his boozy familiarity with mob cliches is off-putting.

The chooser sets his or her own criteria, that’s the rule.

I find the game particularly good to play with the younger kids even if they’re clueless. They can still keep up with knowledgeable, witty adults saddled with cards like “clothespin.”

That’s brilliant – we’ll have to try that.

My favorite way to play was something that didn’t really affect gameplay at all.

Ryan Macklin (of the internet) coined it the “Baron Munchausen Varient”, whering the judge, before revealing his pick and reasoning, has to devise a very brief tale encorporating all of the words he/she has been given.

Makes for a lot of laughs.

I wish I had folks local to me who I could play with. :frowning:

We call it “pandering.” It’s an art, truly an art.

As people have pointed out, the whole point is to pick a card that will appeal to the JUDGE. If you just play what YOU think is the best match you’re Doing It Wrong and deserve to lose.

There’s even a second-order strategy: If you’re the judge you can analyze the cards played to see if you can figure out who played what by the type of pander. For example, my son doesn’t pander the same way my wife does. If you have a good idea who played what you can avoid picking a card from someone who’s close to winning.