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Tapple Review — Survival of the Quickest

Tapple Review — Survival of the Quickest

Tapple’s Wheel — in all its bright primary color glory — may look like a funky spinning top or a flying saucer, but it’s actually the core of the game.

Read our Tapple review to see how this Wheel works and what the game’s all about.

Tapple Overview

Tapple is a game where 2-8 players race against the clock to name an answer that fits the round’s category.

The answer must begin with an available letter on the Wheel; with each answer, the pressure increases as more letters become unavailable and fewer options remain.

You’re eliminated if you can’t name an answer on your turn. The last player remaining wins the round — and the first player to win 3 rounds wins the game.

Tapple Components

The game includes:

  • 36 double-sided Category cards, each featuring 4 categories (144 different categories in total) and
  • the Touch Activated Press & Play Letter Eliminator — or the TAPPLE Wheel.

The TAPPLE Wheel only has 20 of the 26 letters in the alphabet. (Letters Q, U, V, X, Y, and Z are missing.)

Tapple Category Cards

Some of Tapple’s double-sided Category cards.

How to Play Tapple

There is very little to set up in Tapple.

  • First, make sure the Wheel has 2 AA batteries (not included) and is turned on.
  • Then, players gather around so the Wheel is within everyone’s reach.
  • Finally, put the stack of Category cards on the table.
Tapple Setup

A game of Tapple set up.

The first player reveals the top Category card and chooses 1 of its 2 options for the round. The blue/white categories are much easier than the red/yellow ones.

Next, they announce the category and begin the round by tapping the timer (the big red button in the center of the Wheel).

Player Turn

Once the timer begins, the first player has 10 seconds to name an answer that fits the round’s category and starts with 1 of the 20 letters on the Wheel.

If they do, they press down the letter their answer began with and tap the timer button.

This signals the end of their turn and play passes to the next player who must name an answer starting with an available letter (not pressed down).

Play continues this way until only one player remains in the round.

Tapple Turn Example

The category is ‘Birds.’ The first player answered “Robin,” pushed down the letter R, then tapped the timer button. The next player’s answer may not begin with R.


You are eliminated from the round if:

  • You can’t name an answer before your 10 seconds are up.
  • You name an answer that doesn’t match the category (as decided by the majority of players) and don’tcome up with another answer in time.
  • You press the wrong letter or the letter for an answer that is not accepted.

When you are eliminated, the next player in turn order presses the red button to reset the timer for their turn.

Tapple Elimination

This player couldn’t think of a bird that began with the letter D, I, L, M, N, or W in time, so they are eliminated.

End of Round

The round ends when all but one player is eliminated; they score 1 point and mark this by collecting the Category card for that round.

To start a new round, push the yellow release lever in the indicated direction to reset the letter keys. Then select a new first player who reveals the next Category card.

Tapple Reset Keys

Pushing the release lever in the direction indicated by any yellow arrowsresets the letters so that all 20 options are available at the beginning of the next round.


Tapple ends when one player has collected 3 cards; they are the winner. (For longer games, you can choose to play until someone collects 4 or 5 cards.)

Tapple Review

Tapple is a great party game. Its fast pace and high-energy gameplay keep players engaged the whole time, even those eliminated.

Additionally, it suits players of nearly all ages and works well with gamers and non-gamers.

The game’s tension is palpable as soon as the timer starts ticking. Over the course of the game, as the letters dwindle each turn, it continues to grow so that when you are eliminated, it feels devastating.

The frazzled player moments in Tappleare my favorite. Something about the ticking clock and the pressure of naming something seemingly so obvious will make the best players crumble.

No matter how hard I try, I always find myself preoccupied with mentally preparing answers for the remaining letters on other players’ turns.

This usually ends with me missing that it was my turn entirely or drawing a complete blank when the player right before me steals my letter and I’m unable to recover in time.

Tapple isn’t an inherently humorous game, but the players around the table naturally make the experience funny.

The Timer Isn’t for Everyone

Tapple’s timer is necessary for players to really feel the game’s tension, but it will annoy the heck out of anyone around who isn’t invested in the game’s outcome.

The timed element, too, isn’t going to be for everyone; those who need more time for processing or recalling won’t be on a level playing field with those who don’t.

Accommodations could absolutely be made to manually adjust the turn time using a phone timer, for example, but out of the box, Tappleisn’t a very friendly game for them.

Tapple Final Thoughts

Tapple is a fun party game that accommodates players of all ages. If you like fast-paced games that require your brain to think quickly, Tapple should be one you check out.

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