Review: TAPPLE
Publisher: USAopoly
Year: 2013

The cover shows the TAPPLE wheel

how we met

TAPPLE was almost free, and the gameplay looked quick and fun. I was happy to pay 50 cents to give it a go. I’m pretty sure I even had to run out to the car to grab quarters. Worth it!

how it plays

FUN FACT: TAPPLE stands for Touch Activated Press & Play Letter Eliminator

TAPPLE can be played by anywhere from 2-8 players. The player with the middle initial closest to ‘A’ goes first. That player draws a category card and chooses a category for play. Then they announce the category for all players and press the large red timer button in the middle of the TAPPLE wheel.

An overhead shot of the Tapple wheel
The keen observer will note that six letters are missing: Q, U, V, X, Y and Z

The player then has 10 seconds to name something related to the category, press the letter that their answer begins with, then press the red timer button to reset the timer for the next player. That player can name any answer that begins with the remaining letters. After each successful answer the timer is reset by that player.

For example, a category might be Pizza Toppings:
– Player 1 says Pepperoni and presses P and then the red button
– Player 2 says Mushrooms and presses M and then the red button
– Player 3 says Anchovies and presses A and then the red button
– Player 4 says Sausage and presses S and then the red button
– Player 1 says Cheese and presses C and then the red button
– And you get the idea..

If players are unable to think of an answer beginning with one of the remaining letters within 10 seconds then the timer will buzz and that player is eliminated. Continue play with remaining players until only one player remains. That player gets to keep the category card (in the above case Pizza Toppings).

Example category cards include Actresses, Books, Footwear, Flowers, Historical Figures
A sampling of the category cards. Blue/white is meant to be simpler than Red/yellow

Then simply push any of the yellow buttons clockwise to reset the letters. The player to the left of the first player then chooses a category, sets the timer and begins a new round.

The first player to collect three category cards wins TAPPLE!

If by some miracle there is more than one player left after all letters are taken in a round, reset the letters and continue play with a new category except each player must give two answers using two different letters. The last player standing in this scenario gets both the original and the second category card.

how it went

TAPPLE is a super fun filler party game. Yours truly was not particularly good at it, but it was still fun to play. And player elimination is, fairly, a pet peeve for many people. But with TAPPLE play goes so quickly that watching remaining players is exciting. Even allowing for some players to run out of time, a full round would likely take less than 3.5 minutes.

I am not a fan of the TAPPLE box. It uses a tuck box, and my game storage is not loving enough to protect this style of box (nor was the thrift cycle). So it’s a bit crushed. But here’s one of the beautiful things about TAPPLE: the category cards fit into the bottom of the TAPPLE wheel itself! So while my box falls open all willy nilly, the cards are safe.

The back of the wheel with cards tucked away
The storage solution I never knew I needed

We played through a couple of times in our group of four. It was fun. Bill ultimately won, and according to my sticky note Bill and John cheated. How awful. We played long enough ago that I don’t remember the details. I’m not sure how you would cheat at TAPPLE except to insist on words matching categories that maybe don’t. The rules address this with a simple “majority rules” in the event of conflict.

Our play showing the wheel in use
The only photo I took of our initial play, where you can see most letters taken. Whatever the category was it looks like E, L and N are available.

It may be worth discussing some ground rules before play. As an example, say the category is Pizza Toppings and someone said Pepperoni so the letter P is taken. Can I say Chunks of Pineapple and take the C? The game encourages creativity, but only your group will know how your majority will settle.

A quick glance through the BGG ratings show that most people appreciate the light, fun play of TAPPLE. Many people suggest using cards from other games with it, which is an interesting idea that I will have to try soon.

play or pass

TAPPLE gets a play from me. It is perfect for a gaming household that sometimes wants to play a light game or enjoys hosting mixed groups. I only saw it the one time at thrift, but judging by BGG comments many have found it at thrift. What is that saying about good things coming when you wait?