Cards Against Humanity
|Manufacturer(s)||Ad Magic Inc|
|Designer(s)||Josh Dillon, Daniel Dranove, Eli Halpern, Ben Hantoot, David Munk, David Pinsof, Max Temkin, Eliot Weinstein|
|Publication date||May 2011|
|Setup time||1–2 minutes|
|Playing time||30–90 minutes|
Cards Against Humanity is a party game in which players complete fill-in-the-blank statements using mature-content phrases printed on playing cards. The game is available as a free download that players can print to create their own cards, and also available to purchase in published hardcopy. Its development originated from the successful Apples to Apples card game released years earlier and a Kickstarter campaign and received acclaim for its simple concept backed up by its satirical, mature content. The game is available under a Creative Commons license BY-NC-SA. Its title references the phrase "crimes against humanity", reflecting its politically incorrect content.
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. Heavily influenced by the popular Apples to Apples card game, 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 in 2011, co-creator Ben Hantoot said that the game was inspired by experiences with various games such as Magic: The Gathering, Balderdash, and Charades. He said that the game was developed by "eight of us who are the core writer-creators, five or six 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., a personalized printer of custom playing cards. As of 2015, Cards Against Humanity is available only in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
The Cards Against Humanity website provides the rules of the game:
To start the game, each player draws ten White Cards.
The person who most recently pooped begins as the Card Czar and plays a Black Card. The Card Czar reads the question or fill-in-the-blank phrase on the Black Card out loud.
Everyone else answers the question or fills in the blank by passing one White Card, face down, to the Card Czar.
The Card Czar shuffles all of the answers and shares each card combination with the group. For full effect, the Card Czar should usually re-read the Black Card before presenting each answer. The Card Czar then picks the funniest play, and whoever submitted it gets one Awesome Point.
After the round, a new player becomes the Card Czar, and everyone draws back up to ten White Cards.
The part of speech of a white card is a noun (which may be 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 flexible and can be 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 seen a rise of sales throughout the years. The Chicago Sun-Times estimated that CAH earned at least $12 million in profit, and according to the company customers have downloaded the PDF file 1.5 million times in the year since they began tracking the numbers. CAH has no plans to sell in retail as co-creator Max Temkin stated in 2014 that he did not want retail shoppers to "cheapen our 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 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.com and even experienced a minor spike in sales during that period. The following year, to "help you experience the ultimate savings on Cards Against Humanity", the game and its expansions were removed from the online store and replaced by "Bullshit"—a box containing actual, sterilized bull feces. Over 30,000 boxes were sold.
On Black Friday 2015, the website offered a "Black Friday only" special offer, the option to "Give Cards Against Humanity $5". There was a tick box to confirm that you understood "I am paying Cards Against Humanity $5 and receiving nothing in return". A total of 11,248 customers bought $71,145 worth of nothing during the campaign. Later the creator team announced the company would distribute all money equally among the team members, who were asked to report back what they spent their money on. Many of them made donations to different charities.
Expansions and additional products
Cards Against Humanity comes as a base set with six separate commercially available expansions, nine themed packs, and one additional accessory. There are also 3 international editions and 17 limited availability releases.
|Pack||Total cards||White cards||Black cards||Notes|
|Cards Against Humanity||550||460||—||90||—|
|Other Commercially Available Packs|
|2012 Holiday Pack||30||23||—||7||—||Profits donated to the Wikimedia Foundation|
|2013 Holiday Pack||30||21||—||9||—||Profits donated to DonorsChoose.org|
|2014 Holiday Pack||30||26||—||4||—||Profits donated to Sunlight|
|90s Nostalgia Pack||30||23||—||7||—||1990s themed|
|Science Pack||30||23||—||7||—||Profits donated to the Science Ambassador Scholarship|
|Design Pack||30||30||—||—||—||Fully illustrated by different graphic designers, profits donated to the Chicago Design Museum|
|Food Pack||30||24||—||6||—||Co-written with Lucky Peach magazine|
|Fantasy Pack||32||26||—||6||—||All profits go to Pat Rothfuss’ Worldbuilders charity|
|World Wide Web Pack||30||21||—||9||—||Cards written with anonymous users of Reddit. All profits go to the Electronic Frontier Foundation|
|The Bigger, Blacker Box||71||21||40||—||10||Foam filler, card dividers, blank cards the Box Expansion, and a card hidden under the inside paper lining of the box cover|
|International Base Sets|
|Canadian Edition||550||460||—||90||—||CAH "wrote a bunch of new jokes about Canada"|
|26||21||—||5||—||Canadian Conversion Kit Pack with two instruction cards|
|United Kingdom Edition||550||460||—||90||—||CAH rewrote about 15% of the game for UK players|
|Australian Edition||550||460||—||90||—||CAH "rewrote about 15% of the game, swapping gross Americanisms for fair dinkum Aussie corkers"|
|Reject Pack||24||16||—||8||—||Each co-creator picked three cards that were rejected from print|
|Reject Pack 2||34||24||—||10||—||Given out for attending Concert Against Humanity @ Gen Con 2015|
|House of Cards Pack||25||16||—||9||—||Cards are all associated with the Netflix series House of Cards|
|TableTop Expansion Pack||15||12||—||3||—||A $20 contribution reward for the TableTop Indiegogo campaign)|
|PAX East 2013 Promo Packs||10||8||—||2||—||Pack A|
|PAX Prime 2013 Promo Packs||44||37||—||7||—||Randomly given out booster packs|
|PAX East 2014 Promo Packs||27||22||—||5||—||Randomly inserted booster packs within packets of oatmeal|
|PAX East 2014 Panel Pack||10||8||—||2||—||Given out for attending the Cards Against Humanity panel|
|PAX Prime 2014 Panel Pack||10||5||—||5||—||Given out for attending the Cards Against Humanity panel|
|PAX Prime 2015 Food Pack Pre-release||30||24||—||6||—||Contained 1 different card from final release, given out inside a popsicle in 3 different flavors (cherry, coconut and mango). The packs were distributed from a re-purposed ice cream truck with Cards Against Humanity insignia (Cards Popsicle Humanity). Each of the three Food Pack parts were sold for $3.|
|Ten Days or Whatever of Kwanzaa Special Opener Card||1||1||—||—||—||"Being the crazy person who opened the safe." (12 copies found in the safe on Hawaii II Island)|
|Ten Days or Whatever of Kwanzaa Sloth Card||1||1||—||—||—||250,000 copies found in the safe on Hawaii II Island|
|2015 Holiday Pack||30||25||—||5||—||Eight Sensible Gifts for Hanukkah|
|The Retail Pack||5||3||—||2||—||A pack you get from purchasing cards against humanity from a standard brick and mortar store|
|Fascism Pack||—||—||—||—||—||A $30 contribution reward for the Secret Hitler Kickstarter campaign, an exclusive foil pack. Available only through the Kickstarter campaign|
In addition, with the help of the Cards Against Humanity team, the 2014 MIT Mystery Hunt held a Cards Against Wonderland event with MIT and Wonderland themed decks of 416 cards (346 white, 70 black) Some of the cards consisted of the Presidential family of 129 B.C committing incest (For the winsest) with aliens. A limited number of decks were printed for the event, but pdf versions of the cards were provided to all teams after the event ended.
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 Bullshit" 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 who contributed to this deal, amassing a grand total of $100,249.94 that was donated to several educational projects via DonorsChoose.
Cards Against Humanity announced a science-themed expansion pack in 2015, which promised to donate the profits to scholarships for women going into STEM. The pack has raised over $500k for the scholarship.
On July 28, 2015, Cards Against Humanity announced a design-themed expansion pack, featuring 30 cards that were created by famous designers riffing on the late comedian George Carlin’s legendary “seven dirty words.” All proceeds were donated to the Chicago Design Museum.
On November 19, 2015, Cards Against Humanity announced a fantasy-themed expansion pack, written by various fantasy authors including Patrick Rothfuss. For the first two weeks of the sale of this pack all of the proceeds were promised to be donated to Worldbuilders, in support of Heifer International. Worldbuilders is a charity organization started by Pat Rothfuss.
In December 2015, Cards Against Humanity launched their holiday gift campaign with "Eight Sensible Gifts for Hanukkah" in which humorous gifts were sent out over the course of the Hanukkah holiday. The first three gifts were pairs of socks, with later gifts including a year-long membership to Chicago Public Radio station WBEZ, as well as a week of paid vacation for their Chinese-based manufacturing plant staff.
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 A.V. Club, and "the game your party deserves" by Thrillist. The game received mediocre reviews at BoardGameGeek, garnering a 6.48/10 review as of December 2015, ranking as low as 146 in party games. 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 A.V. 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 content may offend certain audiences.
- "Cards Against Humanity Creative Commons License". Cards Against Humanity. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
- "Cards Against Humanity buys remote Maine island, calls it 'Hawaii 2' - The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram". The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.
- "A Card Game For Assholes". Interview with The Onion AV Club. Archived from the original on 2013-01-30. Retrieved June 13, 2011.
- "Cards Against Humanity: An Offensive Interview". Dice Hate Me Interview. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
- Kimball, Diana. "Case Study: Cards Against Humanity". Kickstarter. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
- "Cards Against Humanity Page on Kickstarter". Kickstarter Page For Cards Against Humanity. Retrieved June 11, 2011.
- "Cards Against Humanity Printed by AdMagic Inc". AdMagic Inc.
- "Cards Against Humanity Rules" (PDF). AdMagic Inc. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
- "Amazon Best Sellers , Toys and Games".
- Megan Graham (May 16, 2014). "Eight nerds get rich off a game where Oprah sobs into a Lean Cuisine". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved December 21, 2014.
- Lagorio-Chafkin, Christine. "The Humans Behind Cards Against Humanity". Inc. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
- "IndieCade Big Games 2011". IndieCade Big Games 2011.
- "Cards Against Humanity Expansion Sells Out in Three Days". Cards Against Humanity.
- Carlson, Nicholas. "Look What Happened When This Games Company Offered An Absurd '$5 More' Black Friday Deal". Business Insider. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
- "Cards Against Humanity calls bull**** on Black Friday, sells cow feces". Ars Technica. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
- Landau, Joel (16 December 2014). "Cards Against Humanity sells 30,000 boxes of actual bull poop on Black Friday". New York Daily News. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
- Olanoff, Drew. "Here’s What Cards Against Humanity Is Doing With The $71,145 They Made On Black Friday". TechCrunch. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
- "The Bigger Blacker Box". Cards Against Humanity.
- Rules Insert, AU Edition, published by AdMagic Inc.
- "Cards Against Humanity Releases Special Food-Themed Cards Inside Popsicles". Chicagoist.
- "Cards Against Wonderland (Events)". mit.edu.
- "Cards Against Humanity pay-what-you-want holiday pack". Cards Against Humanity. Retrieved December 17, 2012.
- "Cards Against Humanity 2013 DonorsChoose.org Classroom Shopping Spree"]". Cards Against Humanity.
- "Cards Against Humanity Scholarship For Women In STEM Raised Over $500K". The Mary Sue.
- "Cards Against Humanity offers Carlin's 7 bad words for good cause". ChicagoTribune.com.
- "Cards Against Humanity: Fantasy Pack". Patrick Rothfuss Blog.
- "Eight Sensible Gifts for Hanukkah Donation to WBEZ".
- "Eight Sensible Gifts for Hanukkah Factory Workers' Week Off".
- "Cards Against Humanity". Chicago Tribune Puzzler review. Archived from the original on 2013-01-29. Retrieved June 13, 2011.[dead link][dead link]
- "Cards Against Humanity". Thrillist review. Retrieved June 13, 2011.
- "Cards Against Humanity page on BoardGameGeek".
- "Cards Against Humanity: A Party Game For Horrible People (UK Edition) Review". Games & Tea. Retrieved April 3, 2014.