Cards Against Humanity
|"A party game for horrible people."|
Two views of the published Cards Against Humanity first edition box
|Designer(s)||Josh Dillon, Daniel Dranove, Eli Halpern, Ben Hantoot, David Munk, David Pinsof, Max Temkin, Eliot Weinstein|
|Publisher(s)||Cards Against Humanity, LLC|
|Publication date||May 2011|
|Setup time||1–2 minutes|
|Playing time||30–90 minutes|
Cards Against Humanity is a multiplayer party game available in published hardcopy via purchase and as a free download that players can print off to create their own cards via print shops. Its development originated from a successful Kickstarter campaign and has since received nationwide[clarification needed] acclaim for its simple concept backed up by its satirical, mature content. The game is available under a non-free Creative Commons license BY-NC-SA. Its title references the phrase "crimes against humanity", reflecting its politically incorrect content while its tagline serves as a basic overview of Cards Against Humanity due to the game's mature content and, often, dark comedy-like results.
Cards Against Humanity was created by a group of Highland Park High School alumni as a party game for a New Year's Eve celebration. It was initially named "Hyper-theticals" and involved a group of players writing out the most abstract and, often, humorous response to the topic question. The name was later changed to Cards Against Humanity, with the answers pre-written on the white cards known today. In an interview with co-creator, Ben Hantoot, he states that the game was inspired through experience with various games such as Magic: The Gathering, Balderdash, and Charades. He further states that the game was developed by "8 of us who are the core writer-creators, 5 or 6 additional 'part time' developers" and "dozens of friends and acquaintances who have played the game".
Cards Against Humanity was financed through the website Kickstarter, in a campaign that went live on December 1, 2010; it met its goal of $4,000 in just two weeks. The campaign concluded on January 30, 2011, with the project raising over $15,000; just under 400% of its original goal. With this enormous amount of money raised towards the game, the creators added fifty more cards to the game itself. Cards Against Humanity is printed by AdMagic Inc. As of 2013, Cards Against Humanity is available only in North America and Britain.
The Cards Against Humanity website describes the rules of the game:
To start the game, each player draws ten white "answer" cards. One randomly chosen player begins as the Card Czar, and plays a black "question" card. The Card Czar reads the question out to the group. Each player answers the question by passing one white "answer" card, face down, to the Card Czar. The Card Czar shuffles all of the answers, reads them out loud in a humorous fashion, and picks their favorite. Whoever played that answer gets to keep the Black Card as one Awesome Point. After each round, a new player becomes the Card Czar, and every player draws back up to ten cards.
The part of speech of a white card is either a noun or a gerund, including both single words and phrase constructions. Black cards either present fill-in-the-blank statements, or they directly ask a question. Both white and black cards break these rules on rare occasions.
The rules in Cards Against Humanity are highly flexible and can be easily altered with the many house rules (which are listed in the manual and website) that players can incorporate (e.g., winning cards are chosen democratically, ability to trade points for cards, points given by ranks, etc.). The game also incorporates rules for so-called "Pick 2's" and "Pick 3's"; black question cards that are answered with multiple white answer cards. The official rules include additional provisions for gambling previously won "Awesome Points" for the right to play additional white cards during a round.
Release and sales
After six months of development, Cards Against Humanity officially released in May 2011. A month later, it was announced that Cards Against Humanity was the number-one game on Amazon.com. Since its release, CAH has gradually become more popular and has resulted in a rise of sales throughout the years. It is speculated that Cards Against Humanity has amassed $12 million in profit and that the PDF file has been downloaded 1.5 million times. Furthermore, Cards Against Humanity has no plans to be sold in retail as co-creator, Max Temkin, states that he doesn't want retail shoppers to "cheapen their brand." In October 2011, the game was exhibited as part of the "Big Games" area of the annual IndieCade games festival in Culver City, where the release of a first expansion was officially announced. The first expansion, which contained 100 new cards and 12 blank cards, was released in November 2011 and sold out in three days. On March 15, 2012, they re-released an updated base set as well as the first expansion and sold out almost immediately, becoming the top two products in Amazon's Toys & Games category in the process. The second expansion set was released in August 2012 at PAX Prime and included 25 new black cards, 75 new white cards, and 12 blank cards. The third expansion pack was announced via email from the Cards Against Humanity team on March 22, 2013, during PAX East. Like the second expansion pack, it included 25 new black cards, 75 new white cards, and 12 blank cards. Following that, the fourth expansion was released on November 21, 2013. On Black Friday 2013, the creators unveiled an "anti-sale" where the price was raised five dollars much to the enjoyment, and popularity of fans and media. Despite its higher price, the game went on to maintain its best-selling status on Amazon and even had a minor spike in sales during that period of time.
Expansions and additional products
Cards Against Humanity comes as a base set with four separate commercially-available expansions, three themed packs, and one additional accessory.
- Cards Against Humanity - 550 cards (460 white, 90 black) (a special Canadian expansion is included in starter sets sold only in Canada.)
- Cards Against Humanity: First Expansion - 112 cards (80 white, 20 black, + 8 white, 4 black blank cards)
- Cards Against Humanity: Second Expansion - 112 cards (75 white, 25 black, + 8 white, 4 black blank cards)
- Cards Against Humanity: Third Expansion - 112 cards (75 white, 25 black, + 8 white, 4 black blank cards)
- Cards Against Humanity: Fourth Expansion - 112 cards (70 white, 30 black, + 8 white, 4 black blank cards)
- Cards Against Humanity: Fifth Expansion - 112 cards (70 white, 30 black, + 8 white, 4 black blank cards) Announced but not yet released
- 2012 Holiday Pack - 30 cards
- 2013 Holiday Pack - 30 cards
- 90s Nostalgia Pack - 30 cards
- The Bigger, Blacker Box - Foam filler, card dividers, 50 blank cards (40 white, 10 black), the Box Expansion (20 white/black cards related to boxes), and a card hidden under the inside paper lining of the box cover
There have been seven limited or unevenly distributed expansions:
- 2013 PAX East (available in three different booster packs)
- 2013 PAX Prime (randomly inserted booster packs with rarity levels)
- 2013 Reject Pack (each cocreator picks three cards that were rejected from print; this pack is usually given away when a product was damaged.)
- 2014 House of Cards Pack (cards are all associated with the Netflix series House of Cards, and came out in conjunction with the second season)
- 2014 PAX East (randomly inserted booster packs with rarity levels inside packets of oatmeal)
- 2014 PAX East Panel Pack (given out for attending the Cards Against Humanity panel)
- 2014 TableTop Expansion Pack (a stretch goal for the TableTop Indiegogo campaign)
Despite the satirical nature of Cards Against Humanity, the creators have done charity work in affiliation with the game. In December 2012, Cards Against Humanity released a special holiday expansion pack and allowed users to choose their price. The average amount paid was $3.89 (with the majority of contributors paying $5) which resulted in an overall profit of $70,066.27, which the makers donated to the Wikimedia Foundation. The following year, in December 2013, the creators released a "12 Days of Holiday Bullsh-t" promotion where contributors would pay $12 to receive 12 random presents over a span of 12 days. On the tenth day, Cards Against Humanity donated $1 for every person that contributed to this deal, amassing a grand total of $100,249.94 that was donated to several educational projects via DonorsChoose.
Critical and popular reception of Cards Against Humanity has been positive. The game was praised as "Simple, yet well-executed" by the Chicago Tribune "Puzzler", "pretty amazing" by The Onion AV Club, and "the game your party deserves" by Thrillist. The game review and discussion website Dice Hate Me reviewed the game as well, stating it was "Brilliantly crafted," though warned that the game was "not for the faint of heart, nor the easily offended" citing the often offensive nature of the cards included with the game. The game was generally well received by BoardGameGeek, garnering an 7.0/10 review as of April 2014. Reviews tend to note the similarity between the game's core mechanic (match answers from each player's hand to a shared question) to that of the 1999 family card game Apples to Apples (match nouns from each player's hand to a shared adjective). The Onion AV Club interview calls the game "a sort of Apples To Apples for the crass and jaded". Criticism for the game stems from its enjoyment primarily depending on the number of players participating as well as many reviewers' concern that its politically incorrect nature may offend certain audiences.
- "Cards Against Humanity Creative Commons License". Cards Against Humanity. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
- "A Card Game For Assholes". Interview with The Onion AV Club. Archived from the original on 2013-01-30. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
- "Cards Against Humanity: An Offensive Interview". Dice Hate Me Interview. Retrieved 14 June 2011.
- Kimball, Diana. "Case Study: Cards Against Humanity". Kickstarter. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
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- "Cards Against Humanity Printed by AdMagic Inc".
- "Cards Against Humanity Website". Cards Against Humanity. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
- "Eight nerds get rich off a game where Oprah sobs into a Lean Cuisine". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
- Lagorio-Chafkin, Christine. "The Humans Behind Cards Against Humanity". Inc. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
- "IndieCade Big Games 2011". IndieCade Big Games 2011.
- "Cards Against Humanity Facebook Post". Facebook Post.
- "Cards For Humanity?". Blog Post.
- Carlson, Nicholas. "Look What Happened When This Games Company Offered An Absurd '$5 More' Black Friday Deal". Business Insider. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
- "Bigger, Blacker Box Page". Cards Against Humanity. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
- "Cards Against Humanity pay-what-you-want holiday pack". Cards Against Humanity. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
- "Cards Against Humanity 2013 DonorsChoose.org Classroom Shopping Spree". Cards Against Humanity. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
- "Cards Against Humanity". Chicago Tribune Puzzler review. Archived from the original on 2013-01-29. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
- "Cards Against Humanity". Thrillist review. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
- "Cards Against Humanity page on BoardGameGeek".
- "Cards Against Humanity: A Party Game For Horrible People (UK Edition) Review". Games & Tea. Retrieved 3 April 2014.