How To Play Apples To Apples: Apples To Apples Rules


Apples to apples is a fun game for social gatherings. The game is easy to learn and play and is enjoyed by people from the age of 12 upwards. There is a junior version for younger players. In this game, players try to match Red object cards with Green descriptive cards.


To win the most rounds and earning the required number of Green Apple cards needed to win the game.

Apples to Apples Rules

A different judge is selected for each round.

A judge cannot play in the round they are judging to prevent bias.

Only the judge can select the winning Red Apple card for the round.

Number of Players Needed

4 to 10 players


Two Apple card decks are needed to play the game. A Red Apple card deck and a Green Apple card deck.

The basic pack of the game has 749 Red Apple cards and 249 Green Apple cards. Each Red Apple card depicts a person, place, event, or thing while each Green Apple card lists a characteristic of a person, place, event, or thing.

In addition, there are blank 7 Red Apple cards and 3 Green Apple cards that you can write on to add a personalized feel to the game for your family or group of friends.

Setting Up

The game is played in rounds and a judge is selected for each round. Players take turns to be the judge of a round. So at the start of each round, a judge is selected. The judge shuffles the card decks and must not mix the cards. The Red Apple cards are shuffled separately from the Green Apple Cards.

After shuffling, each card deck is placed face-down separately. The judge then deals 7 Red Apple cards to each player face-down. The judge may deal cards to themselves but cannot play until the next round. This is to prevent the judge from being biased towards themselves. Once each player has received 7 Red Apple cards for that round, they may take a look at their cards for strategic reasons.

How to Play Apples to Apples

With the sharing of the Red Apple cards out of the way, it is time for the game proper to start. The judge picks up the top card of the Green Apple card deck and reads out one of the words written on it. The Green Apple card is then placed face-up on the playing surface. Each player quickly looks through their given Red Apple cards and picks the Red Apple card they think best describes the word written on the Green Apple card displayed by the judge.

Each player then places their selected Red Apple card face-down on the playing surface. The judge mixes all the Red Apple cards played by the players so that it is no longer possible to tell who played which card. After this, the judge turns over each Red Apple card played and reads what’s written on each one aloud. After reading each one, the judge will select the Red Apple card they think is best described by the word written on the Green Apple card chosen for that round.

The player who played the Red Apple card selected as the best by the judge is awarded the Green Apple card for that round. After this, the judge collects all the Red Apple cards used in that round and discards them into the game box separately. Remember that there are 749 of them. However, the discarded cards may be added back to the deck if the players prefer that. Discarding the Red Apple cards used for a round concludes that round of play and a new round begins with another player as a judge.

The next player to the left of the previous judge becomes the judge for the new round. The process of playing the game is repeated as described above, starting with the shuffling of the card decks by the new judge. The game continues in rounds until one player has earned enough Green Apple cards to win the game.

It is possible to play the game in slightly different ways to that described above. Some may elect to reverse the rules and instead of the best matched Red Apple card getting the win for a round, the worst matched Red Apple card is awarded the win. This is called Crab Apples.

Also, when the number of players involved in the game is large, a Quick Pick rule may be enforced in which case the last person to place their Red Apple card on the playing surface will forfeit that round and have their card returned to them without being considered at all by the judge.

A third variation is the 2 for 1 Apples in which case 2 Green Apple cards are drawn by the judge and the winning Red Apple card must match the words written on not one but both cards.

Winning the Game

The game ends when a player has earned the number of Green Apple cards needed to win the game. The required number varies depending on the number of players involved in the game. The more the number of players involved in a game, the lower the number of Green Apple cards needed to win the game as you will see below.

Number of Players                                       Number of Green Apple Cards Needed to win

4                                                          8

5                                                          7

6                                                          6

7                                                          5

8                                                          4

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