Cards Against Humanity bills itself as ‘a party game for horrible people’. That pretty much sums it up!
Nothing is off limits for this game. If there is a line in the sand that should never be crossed in terms of what should be laughed at, this game doesn’t teeter on the edge of it, this game leaps over the line as if it were attempting the long jump! Cards Against Humanity is the antithesis of the so-called Snowflake Generation.
Cards Against Humanity - The Game
Firstly, this card drawing game is only suitable for those over the age of 17, and this is for a reason. It is offensive and covers almost every taboo and awkward subject there is, and if for some reason it isn’t on one of the cards in this box, it most certainly will be in one of the many expansion boxes that are available.
The game itself is quite straight forward. The box says it can be played between four to over 20 people. Realistically it could be played with three people, but the ideal number is somewhere between four and eight.
To start Cards Against Humanity every player gets 10 white answer cards. Play starts with the person who pooped most recently (this sets the tone for things to come), this person becomes the ‘Card Czar’ (or judge) and reads a black card. The black card is either a question or a fill-in-the-blank phrase. Everyone, except the Card Czar, then places what they believe to be their best answer face-down in a pile. This pile is then shuffled, and the Card Czar reads the question aloud followed by one of the white cards. Once all the answers have been read the Czar picks the ‘best’ answer. Generally, the best answer is the funniest or most apt, but the Czar can choose whichever card they wish. The winner gets an awesome point, this can be represented by the black card they won.
Once this round has been decided, used white cards go in a discard pile and all players draw back up to 10 white cards. A new player then becomes the Czar, generally this would be the person to the left of the previous card reader. You play for as long as you want, you might say ‘first to five awesome points wins’ or ‘most awesome points after 45 minutes wins’.
There are a few other ways to play with so-called house rules and gambling of awesome points but frankly they don’t add any amazing mechanics. Some of the cards also require two white cards and for obvious reasons these should then not be shuffled before reading.
What it's Actually Like
This game is my go-to game if we have had friends round and drinks have been involved. However, you need to be aware of your target audience - I cannot imagine playing it whilst enjoying afternoon tea and cucumber sandwiches with the vicar for example.
Why? Well it is rude, crass and tries to be as offensive as possible. It encourages people to ridicule health, abuse, race, religion, gender, poverty, politics, alcoholism, drugs, sex, celebrities and more.
Now this is a family-friendly website, so it is difficult to give examples of some of the more extreme cards here, and for most people these are the cards that make the game. It is the partnering of black and white cards, generally in a wildly inappropriate way, that makes the game so brilliant. I have literally seen people crying with laughter playing Cards Against Humanity.
The cards are nothing special, easy to read and have lasted pretty well. With about 550 cards in total there is plenty to get started, however if you play this regularly, you will need to invest in some of the many expansions available. Once you get through these you can turn to the many unofficial expansions on offer too, such as those issued under the ‘Crabs Adjust Humidity’ brand, which I hasten to add, mix into the decks fine. You can also, like me, think up your own despicable answers to replace those you just don’t find funny.
There is an element of luck to the game, drawing a few overtly crude and therefore likely trump cards in your selection of 10 is an advantage. That said, the initially dud, offbeat answer can easily amuse the judge just as much as the perfectly reasoned and considered answer. Knowing the Card Czar’s sense of humour could potentially give you an edge but frankly it is about the cards in your hand.
There is limited skill involved but holding 10 cards in your hand is a challenge in itself - seeing all the answers is nigh on impossible to the average person, so you’ll find yourself riffling through your cards after every black card is read. You will also regularly be counting to ten to check you have the right amount.
Ultimately it is a very funny party game. You will laugh out loud, wince, cringe and pull an ‘oooo that’s harsh’ face regularly. Like all comedy though, it might not be your cup of tea, and that is impossible to tell without reading some of the more explicit questions and answers.
Final Thoughts on Cards Against Humanity
This party game may not appeal to you if you are a more experienced gamer - there is little or no strategy, no storyline and therefore no depth. It is shallow, but in its defence never tries not to be. It is also vulgar and perhaps, for some, linear. Some of the cards don’t work at all, others are gold dust.
If you do enjoy this game, you will need to invest in expansion packs or reach for white stickers and a marker pen. Thus, the replay-ability score is low below, as it is based on the game without additional packs. On the plus side a Bigger Box is available to house lots of extra cards.
In my opinion, Cards Against Humanity is one of the best party games ever. Quite a bold statement I know, but in the right situation, it is a great game.
I cannot recommend Cards Against Humanity enough but that is because the humour appeals to me, I am perfectly aware it may not to you. Comedy and humour are subjective. I have introduced this game to many people and however much they squirm or are appalled by what they sometimes have to read, they have all laughed and gone away having enjoyed the game. I am therefore, quite clearly, a horrible person, but so are enough of my friends to make it all a little less awkward!