It’s Tabletop Tuesday, and today we’re talking Apples to Apples. At my alma mater, this game was a way of life.
You know the game, right? If you don’t, here’s a bit of an explanation. You get a bunch of friends together and crack open the box. There are two decks, a red deck and a green deck. The former has various nouns like celebrities, everyday objects, and even entire countries; the latter boasts characteristics like nice, smelly, or feisty. Each round, one player draws a characteristic and accepts nouns from the other player. Whoever has the “best” answer (the funniest, the most realistic, the most opposite – whatever the judge decides) gets the characteristic card. Then a new player becomes the judge and play continues until someone has earned five green cards.
At most colleges, the similar but far more risque Cards Against Humanity is the party game of choice. But I went to a Baptist university, and although Christians are supposed to stand apart from humanity, we’re all pretty sure that the aforementioned card game is NOT what Jesus meant. So when it comes to assigning cards to a topic with a large group of people, Apples to Apples was the way to go.
The other thing popular there – at least in my friend group – was the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. For my unprofessional explanation, keep reading. For the legit explanation from someone who knows what they’re doing, check out this website.
The Myers-Briggs personality test assesses four main categories divided into two different types. The 16 possible combinations of four letters summarize your personality in an easy-to-profile way. There’s Extroverted versus Introverted, Sensing versus iNtuition, Thinking versus Feeling, and Judging versus Perceiving. Each type evaluates (in order): where you get your energy, how you take in information, how you make decisions, and how you organize your life.
An extrovert gets energy from spending time with people, whereas an introvert draws energy from being alone. Sensing individuals focus on specific, concrete details perceived with the five senses, while intuitive individuals seem to read between the lines and trust their gut instincts. Thinkers make decisions logically while feelers make them emotionally. And finally, judging individuals like their lives organized in an orderly fashion, while perceiving individuals live in the moment.
While it may seem ridiculous to reduce everyone to these few categories, the combination of letters is just as important as each individual one. Each possible set of four creates a distinct personality type, with its own strengths and weaknesses. And figuring out which one you are (and then your friends, and then your pets, and then every fictional character you have ever devised) can be a lot of fun.
Now what’s the connection between Myers-Briggs and Apples to Apples? Well, they both evaluate your personality, one in a very scientific and technical way and the other in a more ridiculous, completely subjective way. But this blog is all about taking the ridiculous and making it applicable to real life, so let’s take Apples to Apples and make some psychological breakthroughs.
Apples to Apples is way more likely to accurately portray your personality. You get five cards with unique traits instead of the four letters that Myers-Briggs gives you. Plus, each card also has three little synonyms underneath the main characteristic. The card doesn’t just say optimistic: it says positive, hopeful, and expecting the best. Doesn’t that portray a more satisfying, multifaceted personality trait than just saying “sensing?” And to those that may argue that the combinations of letters create a larger, more satisfying range of personalities, I pose this question. Do you know how many green cards there are in Apples to Apples? Just in my set (which is a snack pack, not even the full game) there are 28 different personality characteristics. And since they come in groups of five, there are a total of 98,280 different personalities!*
*Special thanks to this calculator for figuring that up for me
That’s way more diverse and specific than the Myers-Briggs test. For my final demonstration of why Apples to Apples is a superior personality test, I’m gonna shuffle the deck of characteristics and then draw five cards at random, just to give you an idea of some potential personalities this game can create.
An irresponsible, arousing, street-smart, and exhilarating inventor
A crude, relentless, urgent, and intimidating pessimist
An in-your-face and adventurous, yet diabolical and warped optimist
A vicious yet helpless swashbuckler who is slick and damp
An unstoppable burly freak who is both devastating and inconvenient
Isn’t that so much better than being an INFP?
If you enjoyed today’s post, be sure to comment with your favorite Apples to Apples combinations. Or your Myers-Briggs, if you’re into that sort of thing.