Jay Button: In Cards Against Humanity, the cards win

April 26, 2012

Warning: there are no video games in this post! It’s all card games from here on out.

At first, Cards Against Humanity seems familiar, but its uniqueness quickly sets in. Many compare it to the more popular Apples to Apples, and with good reason: mechanically, the games are essentially identical. At least insofar as they even have mechanics. But one very important thing separates them both: sense of humor. By which I mean Cards Against Humanity has one.

In both games, a player draws a card that presents a question, and it’s everyone else’s job to answer that question with one of the cards in their hand. In Apples to Apples, the question may be “What is ‘nice-smelling’?” and the players will answer “Roses” or “Dirty socks.” Hilarious. In Cards Against Humanity, the Card Czar will choose between answers like “children on leashes” or “expecting a burp and vomiting on the floor.” But it’s not just that. My favorite cards are the wonderfully specific answers that instantly conjure up an image in your brain such as “Glenn Beck being harried by a swarm of buzzards” and, my personal favorite, “dropping a chandelier on your enemies and riding the rope up.”

When I say one game has a sense of humor and one doesn’t, that isn’t necessarily a slight against Apples to Apples. That game can lead to some very funny answers and is a great tool for your friends to make each other laugh, but the majority of the laughs are brought to the game from the players. Playing Apples to Apples with boring people is one of the most terrible experiences a person can live through. Cards Against Humanity, however, is funny all on its own. So funny, in fact, that no one gives a damn who wins or loses.

The “awesome points” are tallied and a winner is decided, but by that point everyone’s had so much fun with this ridiculous game that no one cares. This makes CAH an easy pick-up-and-play party game. Players can drop in and drop out at any time, and the flow isn’t at all disrupted. And with over 500 cards to choose from, this game can accommodate an insane amount of players at once. At PAX East, there were games of no less than 20 people going for hours. And this lasted all weekend.

No matter what room you entered, there were inevitably 2-4 games of Cards Against Humanity happening at any time during this year’s PAX East. This is due in no small part to the creators actually attending the con. After being funded by Kickstarter, CAH has sold out every printing. The few copies that were brought to PAX were gone on the first day, so the guys behind the game had the whole rest of the weekend to chat with fans, answer questions and even sit down to play a game with anybody who came by. In fact, they sat down with us for a good 90 minutes on the second day of the show and you can see the ridiculous-ness unfold in this video feature.

Cards Against Humanity is sold out now, but will return to Amazon with a new printing next month. You can keep up with the game’s availability through their newsletter from the CAH website. And while you’re there, suggest your own ideas for cards and drop the guys a line to let them know how much you enjoy (or would like to enjoy) their game.