shameful judging in apples to apples

Apples to Apples is one of the best party games out there. If you're unfamiliar with the game, here's a summary:

There are red cards, and green cards. Red cards have the name of a person, place, thing, or event. Green cards list a characteristic of a person, place, thing, or event. Players start with seven randomly selected red cards. In each round, the "judge" draws a green card, and the other players must play the red card that they feel best fits the green card - or what they think the judge would think was best. The player who plays the winning card wins the green card. The position of judge rotates each round.

The beauty of the game is that judgments are completely subjective, though players are allowed to lobby for what they feel is the best choice. The demo on the game's official site presents a scenario where the judge had the card, "Brilliant", and had to choose between Cell phones, Vincent Van Gogh, Casablanca, Electricity as most brilliant. Ironically, the fake player "Julia" wins with the "Cell phones" card in the demo, while in real life, my friend Julia once tore up the "cell phones" card in her own game because she hated it so much.

Judging only gets uncomfortable when a particular judge decides to ham it up, making elaborate explanations of his or her choices, and taking forever to choose. The judger isn't the star of Apples to Apples; the game is. It only gets tedious when a judge has a little monologue about every single card. Read the cards, choose a winner, and move on, I say!

However, judging does occasionally present a dilemma. In my most recent game of Apples to Apples, I drew the card "Selfish". I wasn't thrilled by the cards submitted. In fact, the only one that really caught my eye was "Anne Frank".

"But Sean," you might be saying. "Anne Frank wasn't selfish! how could you choose that?"

I'll admit I picked that card mainly to be funny. But when I thought about it, the choice began to make a lot of sense. When you hear about Anne Frank, it's always, "I'm going to write in my diary." "I hope the Germans don't find me in this attic." "I don't want to die." Think about someone else occasionally, you know?

Only later did I feel guilty about my choice, or specifically, my retroactive justification of that choice. I apologize to Anne Frank, and to Jason, who played the card that really should have won that round, "Parenting".

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Keane published on April 20, 2006 10:59 PM.

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