TABLETOP GAME REVIEW: Cards Against Humanity

written by David Steffen

Cards Against Humanity advertises itself as a “party game for horrible people” that was created by 8 Highland Park students in Illinois and is now published by Cards Against Humanity, LLC. The game is very similar to the children’s game Apples to Apples, but generally aimed at a mature audience (or at least, an adult audience, if not necessarily mature).

To play, each player is dealt seven white “answer” cards. Then a single black “question” card is played that everyone can see and each person apart from one person who is the judge for the round has to pick what they think would be the best answer card in their hand to combine with it to inspire some kind of reaction (whether it be laughter, disgust, confusion, whatever). The cards are all played facedown and then the judge decides which one they like best, and the one who played that card is the winner of the round and is the judge for the next round.

An example of a black card is “I drink to forget _____”. Which you could choose a white card like “Alcoholism” or “A PowerPoint Presentation”, to name a couple of the cleaner ones, to keep this review on the cleaner side. But many of the cards in the deck are not ones that you’d want to say in front of your mom, or at your average workplace (google for “cards against humanity examples” to find some favorites.

The game aims to be offensive in a funny way, which can admittedly be a hit-and-miss kind of prospect. Sex is probably the most common topic, but many of them also touch politics, adoption, pregnancy, race, a lot of other topics. The judge for the round reads all of the entries aloud to the group before deciding, so part of the fun is picking cards that would be funny for that person to say.

If you play you’re going to want to consider who you’re playing with, I’d probably only want to play with people I know pretty well so that they would know very well so I didn’t have to worry too much about what might bother them. Much of the humor is based around not expecting the cards that get read, so the game can wear out if you play it too many times, it’s not one you’re going to want to break out every weekend.

I wouldn’t play this with or around kids unless you want them to pick up some bad language that they might use at school. I would personally only try it with friends that I know well enough to know what offends them.

Not really challenging, it’s basically competitive multiple-choice punchline choosing. There might be a tiny bit of strategy involved in trying to pick a punchline that would appeal to that particular judge, or trying to save a particularly funny answer card for the perfectly suited question card. There is a high element of chance in how good the cards you get are, sometimes I’ve had to sit on a dud for the whole game because it wasn’t funny and I didn’t want to waste a round playing it.A

Session Time
You could play as many or as few rounds as you want, so very customizable. You could play for 5 minutes or for hours if you have a group that’s enjoying it who don’t know the cards.

Certainly some replayability, but if you play it too often the repetition of the cards, and the loss of the surprise-humor would make it less enjoyable.

Since it is basically “Apples To Apples for adults” the premise isn’t particularly original, though the individual writing for the cards (which is the highlight of the game anyway) is very original.

I’ve enjoyed playing this game now and then with friends whom I know well enough, but because of some of the content it is more limited in where and when I can play it (I don’t play it when kids are around, and I’m not going to bring it to work to play at lunch)–if you want one you can play anywhere and anywhen and with anyone you can grab Apples To Apples instead. I have played it enough times with people in a short stretch of time that the cards lost some of their humor from repetition. Overall it’s a fun game though, and can be a riot with the right group. You can find it at various retailers, the original and expansion packs for varying prices depending on the size of the pack and how new it is. There are also specific topic packs like a science fiction pack.

Published by

David Steffen

David Steffen is an editor, publisher, and writer. If you like what he does you can visit the Support page or buy him a coffee! He is probably best known for being co-founder and administrator of The Submission Grinder, a donation-supported tool to help writers track their submissions and find publishers for their work . David is also the editor-in-chief here at Diabolical Plots. He is also the editor and publisher of The Long List Anthology: More Stories From the Hugo Award Nomination List series. David also (sometimes) writes fiction, and you can follow on BlueSky for updates on cross-stitch projects and occasionally other things.

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