Cards Against Humanity

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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
Genre(s) Party game
Players 4–20+
Age range 17+
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 typically offensive, risque or politically incorrect words or 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[citation needed] for its simple concept backed up by its satirical content. The game is available under a Creative Commons license BY-NC-SA.[1] Its title references the phrase "crimes against humanity", reflecting its politically incorrect content.[2]

Cards Against Humanity is printed by AdMagic Inc., a personalized printer of custom playing cards.[3] As of 2016, Cards Against Humanity is available in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.


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.[4] 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."[5]


Cards Against Humanity was financed with a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. The campaign started on December 1, 2010; it met its goal of $4,000 in two weeks.[6] The campaign ended on January 30, 2011 and raised over $15,000; just under 400% of its original goal. With this additional money raised towards the game, the creators added fifty more cards to the game itself.[7]


A black "question" card and a white "answer" card

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.[8]

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 are either fill-in-the-blank statements or questions. 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[edit]

A stack of Cards Against Humanity boxes at Fan Expo Canada 2013.

After six months of development, Cards Against Humanity officially released in May 2011. A month later, it became the number one game on[9] 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.[10] Despite co-creator Max Temkin stating in a 2014 interview that he did not want retail shoppers to "cheapen our brand," The game and expansion packs are currently being sold in select Target retail locations, as of August 2016.

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.[11] In November 2011, the expansion was released. It sold out in three days. The first expansion contained 100 new cards and 12 blank cards.[12]

On Black Friday 2013, the creators unveiled an "anti-sale" that raised the game's cost by five dollars. Despite its higher price, the game went on to maintain its best-selling status on Amazon and experienced a minor spike in sales during that period.[13]

In 2014, 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, sterilized bull feces.[14] Over 30,000 boxes were sold.[15]

On Black Friday 2015, the website offered a "Black Friday only" special offer: the opportunity 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". 11,248 customers spent $71,145 on the offer during the campaign. The company announced the company would distribute all money equally among the team members. Team members were asked to report back what they spent their money on. Many of them made donations to different charities.[16]

Expansions and additional products[edit]

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. vv

Pack Total cards White cards Black cards Pack Symbol Notes
New Blank New Blank
Base Game
Cards Against Humanity 550 460 90 The original game
Only available in the US
Canadian Edition 550 460 90 Maple Leaf Has specialized Canadian geared cards.
Only available in Canada
UK Edition 550 460 90 Bulldog Has specialized UK geared cards.
Only available in the UK
Australian Edition 550 460 90 Emu Has specialized Australian geared cards.[17]
Only available in Australia and New Zealand
Expansion Packs
First Expansion 112 80 8 20 4 1
Second Expansion 112 75 8 25 4 2
Third Expansion 112 75 8 25 4 3
Fourth Expansion 112 70 8 30 4 4
Fifth Expansion 112 75 8 25 4 5
Sixth Expansion 112 75 8 25 4 6
Smaller Themed Packs
2012 Holiday Pack 30 23 7 Snowflake Profits donated to the Wikimedia Foundation
2013 Holiday Pack 30 21 9 Santa hat Profits donated to
2014 Holiday Pack 30 24 6 Broken ornament with a '10' inside Profits donated to Sunlight
90s Nostalgia Pack 30 23 7 90s 1990s themed
Canadian Conversion Kit 26 21 5 Maple leaf Contained two instruction cards with suggestions on how to swap out American cards from the US base set with Canadian ones
No longer available (superseded by the Canadian Edition base set)
Science Pack 30 23 7 Erlenmeyer flask 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 Crisscrossed knife and spoon Co-written with Lucky Peach magazine
Fantasy Pack 32 26 6 A magic wand Profits donated to Pat Rothfuss’ Worldbuilders charity
World Wide Web Pack 30 21 9 @ Symbol Cards written with anonymous users of Reddit; profits donated to the Electronic Frontier Foundation
The Bigger, Blacker Box[18] 20 20 Box The Box Expansion
51 1 40 10 -- Also contains blank cards, 10 card dividers, foam filler, and a card hidden under the inside paper lining of the lid
Geek Pack 30 24 6 Previously released at PAX East & PAX Prime in 2013 & 2014.
Jew Pack 30 25 5 Previously released as Cards Against Humanity’s Eight Sensible Gifts for Hanukkah.
Limited Release Expansions
Reject Pack 24 16 8 Thumbs down Each co-creator picked three cards that were rejected from print
Reject Pack 2 34 24 10 Thumbs down Given out for attending Concert Against Humanity at Gen Con 2015
House of Cards Against Humanity 25 16 9 Upside-down American flag Based on House of Cards

10,000 copies (sold out in 45 minutes)

TableTop Expansion Pack 15 12 3 A meeple A $20 contribution reward for the TableTop Indiegogo campaign. It also came with a white pin with the words "+20 to making TableTop" on it
PAX Prime 2012 Goof Pack 14 9 5 Given out to replace misprints in v1.2; also included new cards (since included in v1.3)
PAX East 2013 Promo Packs 10 8 2 X Pack A
10 8 2 X Pack B
10 8 2 X Pack C
PAX Prime 2013 Promo Packs 44 37 7 X Randomly given out booster packs
PAX East 2014 Promo Packs 27 22 5 X Randomly inserted booster packs within packets of oatmeal
PAX East 2014 Panel Pack 10 8 2 X Given out for attending the Cards Against Humanity panel
PAX Prime 2014 Panel Pack 10 5 5 X 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 three 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.[19]
Ten Days or Whatever of Kwanzaa Safe Opener Card
Being the crazy person who opened the safe.
1 1 A person opening a 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 Star of David 150,000 copies sent to people signed up for "Eight Sensible Gifts for Hanukkah"
The Retail Pack 5 3 2 Paper Shopping Bag Special pack of cards only available through independent brick and mortar retailers approved to sell the game
Hanukkah LOL Pack 7 7 Only been printed 3 times
Fascism Pack 17 15 2 Fascism skull A $30 contribution reward for the Secret Hitler Kickstarter campaign; in an exclusive foil pack
Vote For Hillary Pack 15 12 3 Check Symbol
Vote For Trump Pack 15 12 3 Check Symbol
Trump Bug Out Pack 25 22 3 Radioactive Symbol Packaged with the Donald Trump Bug-Out Bag
Retail Product Pack (Target) 20 19 1 Money Bag with Dollar Sign Silver Pack Sold at Exclusive Target Stores (Includes $1 bill inside package)

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.[20]


In December 2012, Cards Against Humanity released a special holiday expansion pack. Proceeds were donated to the Wikimedia Foundation.[21] Individuals chose how much to pay for the pack. The average amount paid was $3.89 (with the majority of contributors paying $5) which resulted in an overall profit of $70,066.27.

In December 2013, the creators released a "12 Days of Holiday Bullshit" holiday promotion. Individuals paid $12 to receive 12 random presents for 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.[22]

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.[23]

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.[24]

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.[25] 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,[26] as well as a week of paid vacation for their Chinese-based manufacturing plant staff.[27]


The game was praised as "Simple, yet well-executed" by the Chicago Tribune "Puzzler",[28] "pretty amazing" by The A.V. Club, and "the game your party deserves" by Thrillist.[29] However, in December 2015, the game received a rating of 6.48/10 in reviews on BoardGameGeek. The score earned it a ranking of 146 in party games.[30]

Reviews note the similarity between Cards and Against Humanity and the 1999 family card game Apples to Apples. The A.V. Club interview calls the game "a sort of Apples To Apples for the crass and jaded."[4] 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.[31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Cards Against Humanity Creative Commons License". Cards Against Humanity. Retrieved March 23, 2012. 
  2. ^ "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. 
  3. ^ "Cards Against Humanity Printed by AdMagic Inc". AdMagic Inc. 
  4. ^ a b "A Card Game For Assholes". Interview with The Onion AV Club. Archived from the original on 2012-06-24. Retrieved June 13, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Cards Against Humanity: An Offensive Interview". Dice Hate Me Interview. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  6. ^ Kimball, Diana. "Case Study: Cards Against Humanity". Kickstarter. Retrieved April 3, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Cards Against Humanity Page on Kickstarter". Kickstarter Page For Cards Against Humanity. Retrieved June 11, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Cards Against Humanity Rules" (PDF). AdMagic Inc. Retrieved 7 February 2015. 
  9. ^ "Amazon Best Sellers , Toys and Games". 
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ "IndieCade Big Games 2011". IndieCade Big Games 2011. 
  12. ^ "Cards Against Humanity Expansion Sells Out in Three Days". Cards Against Humanity. 
  13. ^ Carlson, Nicholas. "Look What Happened When This Games Company Offered An Absurd '$5 More' Black Friday Deal". Business Insider. Retrieved April 2, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Cards Against Humanity calls bull**** on Black Friday, sells cow feces". Ars Technica. Retrieved 30 November 2014. 
  15. ^ 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. 
  16. ^ Olanoff, Drew. "Here's What Cards Against Humanity Is Doing With The $71,145 They Made On Black Friday". TechCrunch. Retrieved December 16, 2015. 
  17. ^ Rules Insert, AU Edition, published by AdMagic Inc.
  18. ^ "The Bigger Blacker Box". Cards Against Humanity. 
  19. ^ "Cards Against Humanity Releases Special Food-Themed Cards Inside Popsicles". Chicagoist. 
  20. ^ "Cards Against Wonderland (Events)". 
  21. ^ "Cards Against Humanity pay-what-you-want holiday pack". Cards Against Humanity. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Cards Against Humanity 2013 Classroom Shopping Spree"]". Cards Against Humanity. 
  23. ^ "Cards Against Humanity Scholarship For Women In STEM Raised Over $500K". The Mary Sue. 
  24. ^ "Cards Against Humanity offers Carlin's 7 bad words for good cause". 
  25. ^ "Cards Against Humanity: Fantasy Pack". Patrick Rothfuss Blog. 
  26. ^ "Eight Sensible Gifts for Hanukkah Donation to WBEZ". 
  27. ^ "Eight Sensible Gifts for Hanukkah Factory Workers' Week Off". 
  28. ^ "Cards Against Humanity". Chicago Tribune Puzzler review. Archived from the original on 2011-02-25. Retrieved June 13, 2011. [dead link][dead link]
  29. ^ "Cards Against Humanity". Thrillist review. Retrieved June 13, 2011. 
  30. ^ "Cards Against Humanity page on BoardGameGeek". 
  31. ^ "Cards Against Humanity: A Party Game For Horrible People (UK Edition) Review". Games & Tea. Retrieved April 3, 2014.

External links[edit]