Monday, October 10, 2022

Our son won’t let me escape Apples to Apples

After our son played Apples to Apples, the emoji version, he has been wanting to revisit the game. Now, I’d gotten rid of my copy of Apples to Apples ages ago. So we went to the nearest thrift shop because you can always find Apples to Apples at them.

While they didn’t have the emoji version our child craved, they did have the party box and the travel edition. Since I’m pretty sure the travel edition has unique content, getting both at thrift shop prices wasn’t a tough choice. (And a whole bunch of unopened Fimo clay so good trip)

Man, I cannot escape Apples to Apples. I own Dixit, for crying out loud, but not even that will save me from Apples to Apples.

And, while Apples to Apples bores me at this point, I can see why it still works.

When I was a wee little gamer, Trivial Pursuit became all the party game rage. It combined the worst aspects of roll and move with questions about minutiae. There can be good uses of both those elements (pub trivia, Backgammon, That’s Life) but Trivial Pursuit managed to be potentially long and frustrating.

Apples to Apples can end whenever the group feels like it and, quite frankly, strips away the skill requirement that almost all party games (or games at all) have. You don’t need to draw or to sing or to pantomime or have a large vocabulary or know the principle export of Zanzibar in the 1920s.  (Was it cloves?)

Which, on the face of it, sounds horrible. I mean, some kind of mental stimulation is the point of games. RCL is horrible because you just do whatever the dice tell you to do. Apples to Apples, though, is actually nothing but social interaction with a loose structure. 

Which can be horrible for some people.

But Apples to Apples has a very low entry bar. It can let a wide variety of people interact with each other. It focuses on the party part of party game, not the game  part.

And that incredible level of accessibility is why I can’t escape Apples to Apples. My child wants to play it. Random friends of his grandparents want to play it. It is the intersection of all kinds of people.

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