There are a lot of games out there that tout themselves as "fun for the whole family" or "for ages seven to seventy" but holy shamolley, Big Picture Apples To Apples actually delivers!
Based on the popular 12+ version, Big Picture Apples To Apples is a great way to stretch your imagination and improve your vocabulary while having tons o'fun.
Basic game play is this:
A judge deals out five red apple picture cards each to the players (stock photos of people & places, animals & activities) then turns up a green apple word card; the word is defined with three synonyms for younger players or those for whom English is a second language.
Players then select a red apple picture card from their hand that they feel best depicts the word on the green apple word card. The judge decides which is best and hands that player a token. The played cards go into their respective discard piles (picture or word), a new word card is dealt, and the next hand is played.
Play continues until one player has accumulated 5 tokens. If no one accumulates 5 tokens in five hands, the judge deals out five more picture cards to each player (or, alternately, refreshes each player's hand with a new picture card every turn) and play continues until someone wins.
The great thing about the game is it's a fast play (30 minutes for a game with 4 - 6 players) that allows even the youngest players to compete on an equal basis with older ones by combining random distribution with visual playing pieces.
And while one can argue that it requires subjective judgment, in truth there's usually an obvious best choice winner for every hand.
But wait! There's more!
Creative minds can hack this game like nobody's business, playing variants of Five Card Nancy or Creation Myth* with the stock photos. One can play a game where each player creates their own five card narrative or one where a group narrative is created by alternating images with story points.
If playing with an even number of players, deal each player five picture cards, then turn a card face up. The first player adds a story point then plays one of their picture cards; the opposing player responds in kind. Game continues until one player uses all five cards; if stuck, they draw from the picture card deck.
If playing with an odd number, Player One lays down a card, Player Two provides a story point, Player Three then lays down a card, Player One then provides a story point, Player Two then lays down a card, etc., etc., and of course, etc.
Game play continues until you run out of cards or the story reaches a satisfactory conclusion. Game story can be free form or assigned a specific genre.
* Creation Myth was described many years ago in the Whole Earth Review. Using images culled from magazines and glued to index cards, the deck is shuffled and five cards are dealt out to each player who must then construct a creation myth based on all five cards arranged in however sequence they desire; the players then vote on who came up with the best myth. Once again, it sounds (and technically is) very subjective but in actual play the winner is typically obvious to everyone.