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Tapple Board Game: Rules and Instructions for How to Play

Tapple Board Game: Rules and Instructions for How to Play

Objective of Tapple

The objective of Tapple is to acquire three category cards in order to win the game. You earn category cards by being the last player left in each round.


  • Insert two AA batteries into the Tapple wheel/game unit.
  • Turn the switch on the game to “on” and turn the unit over so you can see the letters.
  • Remove the category cards from the storage compartment. Place the category cards in a stack where all players can reach them.
Setup for Tapple

Playing Tapple

Choosing a Category

The player with the middle initial that is closest to “A” gets to be the first player. Play continues clockwise throughout the game.

To start your turn you will pick a category card from the stack. Each card has two sides. You can choose which category you want to use in the round. The darker side (black/dark blue) of each card contains “easier” categories if you are playing with younger players. The “lighter” side (gray/light blue) categories are more challenging. If “player’s choice” is one of the options on the card, the player can make up their own category for the round.

Choosing a category
The current player has decided to pick the Monsters & Mythical Creatures category. The players will use this category for the next round.

Starting a Round

Once you have picked the category for the round, announce the category and hit the timer button on the center of the Tapple wheel. You have ten seconds to name something that fits that category. You will press down on the button corresponding to the first letter of your answer. For example, if the topic is “sports teams,” they could say “Packers.” They would then hit the “P” button and tap the middle button to reset the timer.

Providing an answer in Tapple
The first player decided to use the answer Frankenstein for their answer. They will press down on the F button, and then press the center button.

The next player clockwise then takes the next turn. In subsequent answers you can no longer use pressed down letters. Each subsequent player can name anything that fits the category, as long as the letter it starts with is still available. You can’t press letters more than once each round, so finding suitable answers will get tougher and tougher as the round goes on.

Mid round gameboard
Over the next couple of turns the players provided a couple more answers. Players gave answers such as Cthulhu, Dracula, Godzilla, Loch Ness Monster, Nosferatu, and Werewolf. As they provided each answer, the player pressed down the corresponding letter.


Play continues in each round with players taking turns. You can be eliminated from the round for one of three reasons.

  1. If you can’t come up with an answer before your ten seconds expire, the buzzer goes off. You are eliminated from the round.
  2. Players can challenge that your answer doesn’t fit the category. All of the players will vote. If a majority say it doesn’t fit, you need to try and come up with another answer. If you can’t come up with another answer before the timer runs out, you are eliminated.
  3. The final way you can be eliminated from a round is by pressing a letter for an unacceptable answer. If the players vote that the answer is unacceptable, you don’t get a second chance to come up with an “acceptable” answer since you already pressed the letter button.

While the rules don’t say anything, presumably players are also eliminated if they hit the wrong letter button, either by accident or by not knowing how a word is spelled.

Eliminated players are out for the rest of the round.

Player elimination in Tapple
The current player said Barney the Dinosaur and pressed down on the B button. The players vote and determine that answer does not count as a monster or mythical creature. Therefore the player that provided the answer is eliminated from the round.

End of Round

If the current player is eliminated, play continues with the next player clockwise that is still in the round. They hit the button to start their ten seconds and play continues normally from there.

Play continues until just one player remains. The last player remaining takes the category card and scores it.

Winning the round
Only one player remains in the game. The last remaining player wins the round and takes the category card.


Should the players push all of the letter buttons down in a round but more than one player remains, the remaining players play an overtime round. Only the remaining players will play this round. Press the lever to reset the letter keys and pick a new category. This time, the remaining players will have to name two different answers each starting with a different letter (they’ll press buttons for both starting letters as well). You cannot use pressed down letters. The last remaining player wins the round. They get the original category card and also the overtime card. They score two cards instead of just one this round.

If somehow multiple players survive the overtime round, they will play a second round of overtime. Choose a new category card. Each remaining player has to name three answers that all begin with different letters. The last remaining player wins all three cards.

Overtime in Tapple
The players successfully gave an answer for each letter in the previous category. The remaining players then play an overtime round. For this round they have to name TV shows. The first player presses down L and S and says Lost and Seinfeld.

Starting a New Round

After the winner takes the category card, the next player chooses a new category card. Presumably the next player is the one clockwise to the player who started the previous round, but the game’s official rules aren’t clear here. They announce the category, push the release lever to reset the letter keys, and press the middle button to start the round. All eliminated players are back in the game for this new round.

Which Answers Are Acceptable?

Tapple’s official rules only give one example of an acceptable answer. Their example uses the “cars and trucks” category. For “J,” “Jeep” would obviously be an acceptable answer. However, they also state that both “jalopy” or “junker” should be accepted. You don’t necessarily have to be super specific with your answers. The rules outright state that “creativity and imagination is encouraged”. So as long as the answer fits the category reasonably well, I would tend to accept them. However, as the rules are not specific with any other examples you will have to decide for yourselves which answers are acceptable and which aren’t.

Winning Tapple

The first player to collect three category cards wins Tapple. However, if you want a longer game you can make the card requirement four, five, or as many as you like.

Winning Tapple
This player has collected three category cards. They have won the game.

Tapple FAQ

Note: If you have any questions about how to play Tapple, leave a comment below on this post. I will try to answer any questions asked as best and as quickly as possible.

Components for Tapple


  • 1 Tapple wheel (touch-activated press and play letter eliminator)
  • 36 cards (with 144 total categories)
  • Rules

Year: 2013 | Publisher: The Op

Genres: Word, Party, Electronic

Ages: 8+ | Number of Players: 2-8 | Length of Game: 10-20 minutes

Difficulty: Low | Strategy: Low | Luck: Low

Where to Purchase: AmazoneBay – Any purchases made through these links (including other products) help keep Geeky Hobbies running. Thank you for your support.

For more board and card game how to plays/rules and reviews, check out our complete alphabetical list of board game posts.