How to play Apples to Apples Rules Guide

Fast to learn easy to read how to play Apples to Apples rules guide. Access from various devices. You no longer need to share a single rulebook or download the Apples to Apples board game rules pdf.

Players: 4 to 10 | Game duration from: 25 mins | Game Complexity: EASY Apples to Apples rules pdf / rulebook

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Apples to Apples Rules FAQs

How does the game Apples to Apples work?

Choose the card from your hand that best describes the card played by the judge. If the judge picks your card, you win. Everyone gets a chance to be the judge! A wide range of people, places, things, and events are compared in each round.

How many cards do you need for Apples to Apples?

Each player is dealt seven red apple cards face down.

Game setup

  • Mix all the red apple cards thoroughly. Divide them evenly into the four deep wells in the card tray.
  • Mix the green apple cards thoroughly. Divide them evenly into the two shallow wells in the card tray.

Starting the game

  • Either card tray can be placed on the table. Place the box aside.
  • Pick a player to be the first judge.
  • The judge deals seven red apple cards face down to each player (including himself or herself). Players can look at their cards.


  1. The judge picks a green apple card from the top of the stack, reads the word aloud, and places it face-up on the table.
  2. Each player (except the judge) quickly chooses the red apple card from their hand that best describes the green apple card. They then place it face down on the table.

    Quick Pick Option:
    Try the Quick Pick Option if you have five or more players. The last red apple card placed on the table is not judged and is returned to the player\’s hand. You lose if you snooze!

  3. Judge mixes the red apple cards so no one knows which one was played. As the judge turns over each red apple card, he or she reads it aloud and chooses the one best described by the green apple card. The green apple card is awarded to the player of the red apple card.
  4. In order to keep score, players keep the green apple cards they have won until the end of the game.
  5. All of the red apple cards played in that round are collected and discarded at the bottom of the box.
  6. A player on the left receives the card tray and the role of judge. The new judge deals enough red apples to make each player\’s hand seven again.
  7. Follow steps 1–6 until someone earns enough green apple cards to win the game!

How do you win?

Number of Players and Green Apple Cards Needed to Win

4 players: 8 cards
5 players: 7 cards
6 players: 6 cards
7 players: 5 cards
8 – 10 players: 4 cards

Playing Tips

  • You can play a red apple card that isn’t perfect. Judges often pick the most creative, humorous, or interesting response.
  • “Table talk” and lobbying are encouraged! Comments can be made on cards to try to influence the judge to pick a particular card – either their own or a favorite choice.
  • You can increase your chances of winning by playing red apple cards that appeal to the judge.
  • Cards that begin with “My” should be read from the judge’s point of view. When the judge reads “My Love Life,” it can be assumed that the judge’s love life is being described by the green apple card.  

Variation of the Apples to Apples game rules

Apple Turnovers

Deal each player five green apple card. An apple card from the top of the stack is turned over. From their hands, players choose the green apple card that best describes the word on the red apple card. The judge then selects the green apple card he or she thinks is best, and awards the red apple card to the player of the selected green apple card.

Quick Pick for Four

A group of four players may play one or two red apple cards from their hands. In order to play two cards, players must place them one at a time on the table. Judging will be limited to the first four red apple cards placed on the table.  

Crab Apples

Choose and judge red apple cards that are the opposite of the words on the green apple cards for a tart twist. 

Big Apples

Two or more players claiming that the judge will pick their card may agree to each wager one of their green apple cards. This player wins the green apple card and all wagered green apple cards if the judge picks one of their red apple cards. When the judge does not pick one of the red apple cards, the wagered cards are forfeited. 

Apple Potpourri

In an unpredictable mix, each player picks a red apple card from their hand before the judge turns over the green apple card. After the red apple cards are played, the judge turns over a green apple card. As usual, the judge then selects the winning red apple card. 

2 for 1 Apples

To start the round, the judge will turn over two green apple cards. A red apple card is selected by each player from his or her hand that is best described by both green apple cards. After the judge selects a red apple card, both green apple cards are awarded to the winner.

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