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Creating your own Apples to Apples game is simple, cheap and freaking hilarious. Only scrap paper, a pen for each person, and a few minutes are required! Everyone from elementary-aged kids to teens to adults will love this silly game.
What is Apples to Apples?
Apples to Apples is a party card game where players make comparisons between different nouns and adjectives in order to create amusing and unexpected matches. It’s a lighthearted and social game, so the main goal is to have fun and enjoy the creative and often hilarious comparisons that arise during play.
If you’re not familiar with Apples to Apples, which is now discontinued, here’s the description from Mattel:
“The family-friendly card game…creates lots of laughter and party-time joy! Apples to Apples challenges you to think on your feet, get a little silly, and find out how your friends and family think…
Easy to Learn, Fun to Play
There are just two types of cards: Things and Descriptions. Each player takes turns being the judge and pulling the next Description card. The other players try to pick, from the cards in their hands, the Things they feel best match that Description—in the eyes of the judge. So it helps to know your judges a little better, too.
Winning the Game
You have to collect a certain number of Description cards to win the game – it depends on how many players you have (more players = less cards needed to win). And with so many cards and possibilities, it’s never, EVER the same game twice.”
How to Make Your Own Apples to Apples Game
Our homemade version is very similar to Mattel’s, except it is personalized to your group–ages, various social connections, etc.–and a little more low-key. Here’s how to play DIY Apples to Apples:
Number of Players
4-10 people will work fine
To have the most Description Cards at the end of the game. (But, really the point is to laugh and have fun!)
To play one game, which takes about 15-30 minutes depending on your group size, you’ll need…
- Enough small pieces of scrap paper (about post-it note size) for each person to have about 20 pieces
- A pen or pencil for each person
- Distribute Supplies: Pass out about 20 pieces of paper and a pen to each player.
- Make Things/Noun Cards: Instruct players to write one noun–person, place, or thing–per sheet of paper and then place them face down in a pile in the center of the table/room. The goal is to get about 10-15 Noun Cards per person, but players can certainly write more. Important Note: Here’s where you can have some fun. Encourage your group to think about connections they might have with one another (i.e. people in the room, a favorite blankie of a child’s, an ex-boyfriend that everybody laughs about now, etc.). We even use phrases like “Uncle Ryan’s muscles” or “Hannah’s pink blankie”. This makes for some potentially hilarious rounds in the game.
- Make Description/Adjective Cards: Next, have each player write down about 3 descriptive words and place them face down in a separate pile (i.e. stinky, bumpy, pungent, etc.).
How to Play
- Select Noun Cards for Your Hand: To start the game, each player should choose 5 cards from the Things/Noun Pile. Do not let others see your cards.
- Select Judge & Description Card: For each round, select a judge. This person will draw a Description/Adjective Card from the pile and place it face up in the center of the table. This person will not play this round but will instead judge the winner.
- Play Noun Card That Best Fits Description Card: After seeing the Description Card, players will look at their Noun Cards and select the one that they think fits that description the best. (Sometimes this is hard because nothing really does!) Place that card face down by the Description Card. Note: Since this game is subjective, players should take into account who the judge is for that round and what he/she may choose.
- Judge Chooses Winner: The judge will then read each Noun Card aloud, but no one in the group is allowed to tell which card is theirs yet! Then the judge will select the Noun Card that he/she feels best fits the Description Card. The winner of the round gets to keep that Description Card. All of the other Noun Cards that were laid down should be discarded.
- Set Up Next Turn: For the next turn, each player draws a new Noun Card to replace the one laid down. The judge for the next round is the person to the right. He/she turns over a new Description Card and play continues.
- Game Ends: The game ends when everyone has been the judge OR you run out of Noun Cards (whatever you prefer). The winner is the one who has collected the most Description Cards. SILLY BONUS: In our family, instead of announcing a winner, we make everyone go around and read their Description cards. The game lore is that the cards supposedly describe the holder. 😉
To play, one player acts as the judge each round and draws a green (adjective) card. The other players select a red (noun) card from their hand that they think best fits the adjective. The judge then chooses the funniest or most appropriate match, and that player wins the round.
This is a great game for a larger group because 4 to 10 players can play.
The objective is to win rounds by having your card selected by the judge as the best match for the adjective card. The player who collects the most description/adjective cards as the judge’s choice wins the game. For our homemade version, we add in that everyone must read their description cards aloud and “game lore” says that they describe your personality. 😉
The game’s duration can vary depending on the number of players and how many rounds you choose to play, but a typical game can last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
What It Looks Like to Play with Family
My kids starting playing this DIY Apples to Apples game when they were just 5 or 6 years old with the adults. Now, as teens, they request we play at every extended family holiday!
Here are some examples of how this game can play out in a pretty funny way even with younger kids…
For one game where the Description card was “hot”, I put down the “Daddy” noun card from my hand, lol. My very literal, young kids decided I only won because, “Well, Daddy does sweat a lot.”
Perhaps this was the best word combination of all. Can you guess which Things/Noun Card won this round?…
Poor Uncle Ryan was a good sport as always (who, by the way, happened to have won a state weightlifting title in high school)…
Have fun making your own Apples to Apples game. You never know what will draw a good group laugh!
More Fun Family Activity Ideas
We have a collection of other fun games (with free printables included!) your family might like or that you can use for parties. Be sure to Pin these!