Cards Against Humanity: Understanding the Craze

Post by:
21 Oct 13

cards against humanity

Cards Against Humanity

Depending who you ask, Cards Against Humanity might sound like either:

  • A war crime involving paper cuts.
  • A deeply misguided charity organization.
  • A Hallmark workers’ strike.
  • A firebombing, with business cards serving as ammunition.

Actually, Cards Against Humanity is a game — a card game, if the title wasn’t enough of a clue — marketing itself as “a party game for horrible people.”  But don’t worry: you don’t have to be a horrible person to play and enjoy the game.

How Does It Work?

Like an adult version of the popular Apples to Apples, Cards Against Humanity calls upon players to pair up a set of cards marked with words and phrases before players vote on which combination is the “best,” or funniest. The game uses a simple set of white cards and black cards. After dealing ten white cards to each player, one player draws a black card and reads it aloud. A black card may say something like, “Alternative medicine is now embracing the curative powers of ____________.”  The other players then fill in the blank in the card with one of their white cards, which may say things like, “Panda sex”  or “Spontaneous human combustion.” The dealer of the black card reads all of the white cards aloud, then picks which one she thinks is funniest. Whoever played the chosen card receives the black card, and the winner is the person with the most black cards at the end of the game (the game has no time limit or natural ending).

Just enjoy it

The game is a craze right now because of its humor. It also has very simple rules, limited equipment (cards and a sense of humor), and is perfect for parties where nobody is too sensitive. Don’t worry about sounding like a terrible person: a little dark humor can be great on occasion.

Who Came Up With This Thing and How Can I Get It?

Chicago native Max Temkin and seven of his friends were sitting around on a boring New Year’s Eve a few years ago and came up with this game by writing words on a bunch of cut-up cardboard.  The game was entertaining enough that they decided to Kickstart it, and after receiving more than sufficient funding, they knew they had a hit.  Eventually they made it available on Amazon for $25 and continued to offer a free, printable PDF version of it online.

You can also find cards against humanity on Ebay, but beware: you don’t know where they’ve been. Expansion packs — three have been released thus far — must be purchased in person, and aren’t available online.

Why Should I Care?

As stated above, it’s a pretty fun game. You get to offend your friends, and maybe even yourself.  At the very least, you’ll discover how much tolerance you have for this kind of humor (There’s a reason there are white cards which say simply, “Mom,” or “The Holocaust”).

Besides this, though, the game is endlessly adaptable and expandable. Play with an inanimate object or invisible person who generates answers at random! Fall over laughing while groaning in frustration that your ashtray keeps beating you at cards!  End the game by having each player create a haiku from three of their white cards, then intone them aloud and declare the final winner!

Best of all, you can create your own cards.  The website offers the ability to print out blank cards, and write in your own jokes.  Mix these into the deck for a personalized touch. Enjoy at parties, as a palate cleanser for ill-fated movie nights, or as entertainment on boring New Year’s Eves.

This article was provided by Deb Phillips, volunteer veterinarian and card game aficionado. If you’re looking for the right place to find Magic: The Gathering cards to add to your card game collection, Deb suggests visiting Card Kingdom.