Card game aims to offend
Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 7, 2013 21:03
This isn’t your mother’s board game — unless your mother’s board game has answers like “dick fingers” and “genital piercings.” This is Cards Against Humanity, the ultimate politically incorrect game that’s been sweeping across college campuses. The game is either $25 or free — if you’re willing to print out the cards on cardstock and cut them yourself.
Each player starts out with 10 white cards. One player is randomly chosen to start out as the Card Czar and plays a black card. The Card Czar then reads the black card out loud, which will have either a question or a fill-in-the-blank phrase.
Stephen Louie, a mechanical engineering senior, plays about once a month with his friends.
“It’s kind of like Apples to Apples,” Louie said. “Every player has seven cards. They put down the card that fits that [category].”
The black cards, which have a category, are seemingly innocent at first. One category, for instance, is “The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History has just opened an interactive exhibit on…” The white cards, which have the answers, can range anywhere from “menstrual rage” and “smallpox blankets” to “a Super Soaker full of cat pee.”
“Games are usually meant to be kid-friendly,” Louie said. “It’s an adult game where you can be as immature as you want to be.”
After each player has played their white card for the round, the Czar shuffles them all and reads them out loud. He or she then picks the best answer to the category — either the funniest or the one that fits with the phrase the most. Each winning card gets an Awesome Point. The first player with 10 Awesome Points wins the game.
In December 2010, Cards Against Humanity started out as a two-month fundraiser on Kickstarter.com with a $4,000 goal. Eventually, 758 people backed the project, with a total of $15,570 pledged to the team.
Last year, the group did an Ask Me Anything, or AMA, thread on Reddit, where users — often with previous experience playing CAH — could have an online question-and-answer session, no holds barred.
Due to the game’s overall politically incorrect phrases, words and jokes, many of the questions dealt with the content on the cards themselves.
“We often have disputes about whether or not the ratio of funniness to offensiveness is high enough for any given card,” David Pinsof, one of the designers, wrote on Reddit. “No matter how offensive something is, we’re always willing to put it in if it’s funny enough. So it’s not about how terrible it is. It is about whether the funniness outweighs the terribleness.”
Even though users touted the game as being easy to explain, using Apples to Apples as a jump-off point, the CAH team doesn’t define their game as such.
“Honestly, our game is very different,” Max Temkin, another designer, said in the AMA. “We both use the idea of someone asking a question and everyone answering, but many other games use this mechanic as well.”
According to players online and arguably the developers, CAH is meant to be as offensive as possible when played, but it’s not all social jabs and offensive jokes. The team recently donated the entirety of their holiday expansion pack profits —over $70,000 — to the Wikimedia Foundation, the organization that runs Wikipedia.
The founders and designers do have a target, however: everyone.
“Nothing is off limits, provided it is funny enough,” Pinsof said to users. “We are an equal-opportunity offender.”