Apples to Apples Junior
Your Price: $24.99
(Worth 2,499 Funagain Points!)
from 3 customer reviews
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The award-winning card and party game for ages nine and up. Players will delight in the crazy comparisons while expanding their vocabulary and thinking skills. The 576 cards provide hours and hours of fun!
The Kids and Junior card sets contain no duplicate cards. The sets may be combined for thousands of new comparisons!
I bought this for my kids, hoping to find a game that wouldn't bore my husband and I to death while we played with them. This was a lot of fun! My kids gave it two WAY thumbs up. They especially enjoyed how everyone gets a chance to be the judge. I also took this to the school where I teach special education students. They also loved it! I haven't seen the set for 7 year olds....but my kindergartner who can read had no problems at all with the 9 and up set.
Great game. My 6 year old reads very well, but the adult Apples to Apples confused him with names of people and some of the hard words. 9+ has been great.
The History - My brother brought the original Apples to Apples to a family gathering last year. Everyone (age range 8-73) dove in to try the new game. The younger children were having fun, but sometimes found it difficult to play because the original game has many cultural and historical references that they didn't understand, and they wanted to participate.
We played a few times around the table before my wife excused herself to "help in the kitchen". I continued to play, not because I thought the game was particularly fun or interesting, but just to be social.
Later, she said it was the stupidest, most pointless game she'd ever seen. I tried to weakly defend it: true, I wasn't in any rush to play again, but the kids seemed to like it.
We purchased Apples to Apples Junior for our own family (over my wife's objections) when our children (both age 8) saw it in a store. I figured that at least the kids will get some practice with reading and vocabulary. So, we've owned this for about a year, and I have played it many times with our children and with other families. As I had hoped, this version doesn't have any of the troubling cultural references found in the original.
The Good - The cardstock is good quality. The rules are simple to explain. 3- 8+ people can play, and people can come and go during the game. It's very flexible in that way. People of all ages can play on an equal footing.
The Bad - This game is really, really bad.
It doesn't require any skill. Zero, zilch, nada. And I defy anyone to show how it does. No strategy, no creativity, no educated guessing, nothing. The judge's decision, and therefore scoring, is completely arbitrary. You might as well have everyone take turns rolling dice, or everyone puts a marble into a bag and if the judge pulls out your marble, you win. Really, it's that dull.
It doesn't have any meaningful player interaction. Interaction, if there is any, doesn't influence the game in any way. Sure, people can talk about the cards, but, again, the judge's decision is arbitrary, and final. A better variation might be to eliminate the judge entirely, and instead have the entire group vote on the best answer. That might encourage meaningful interaction, and test persuasive skills. The way it is now, the judge is god.
This game isn't fun or funny, at least to this adult. Children like it because it's at their level of humor. My kids are currently experimenting with humor. The juxtaposition of discordant concepts ("an elephant wearing a hat! hahahaha!") is classic "kid humor", and that's all this game offers, again and again and again. Comparing "sad" to "hat rack" just isn't funny, especially after the umpteenth time.
The game doesn't develop in any way. Most games progress in some way, and you have to be engaged to adapt to the changes. This game is just a series of elementary-school one-liners, again and again, until one player reaches 5 points (completely arbitrary). Snakes and Ladders is infinitely more exciting.
The Ugly - True story - In the last time we played with another family, I was trailing in the game when I had to leave for a few hands to help in the kitchen, so the other players just played cards randomly out of my hand. When I returned to play, I was winning by a wide margin. So, scoring is complete luck and interaction doesn't affect the game at all. (I often just end up blindly playing the top card in my hand.) A few hands later the other dad got up from the table to "rest his eyes", and encouraged his children to play cards randomly out of his hand: he'd had enough.
Conclusion - As usual, my wife is right: this game is bad. I now cringe when someone suggests Apples to Apples. It's dull beyond words. As a "good trooper Dad", I'll play with my kids if they want, but only with a strict time limit. If the point of this game is to spend light-hearted time with the whole family, then there are much better ways to do so. Get some poker chips and teach your kids poker, they love it! My kids learned Carcasonne: Hunters and Gatherers within minutes, and they love it too. And Bohnanza?!! Fuggedaboutit. You haven't lived until you've played Bohnanza, and kids absolutely love it. These are real games with real player interaction, real skill-testing. They're dynamic and fun! (I'll review these and other games later.)
Apples to Apples (both original and Junior) is a poor excuse for a family/party game. It fails the first rule of game quality: it isn't fun. Although my kids like it, a family game should also be enjoyable by parents, and I have found few adults who like this. I had to give this 1.5 stars instead of 1 because it does help my kids with their vocabulary.