There is no way I was going to be able to go one more year without giving a Major Fun Award to Cards Against Humanity. I would have written about it long before had it not been for one of our core principles that awards games that are (and I quote): “suitable for a wide audience.”
GOOD FAITH WARNING: There is nothing “suitable” about Cards Against Humanity. This is a game that derives its joy from making adults say incredibly perverse and transgressive things in mixed company. In many rating systems this would be rated “Mature” but that term often implies a level of restraint that you will not find in this game. “Adult” as in “Adult Novelty Store” is probably better suited for Cards Against Humanity but the game is not particularly pornographic. It can be. But it doesn’t have to be.
So we at Major Fun had to make a concession. This game is so much fun, it is so addictive, its execution and design so clean, and the underlying philosophy behind its publication is so compelling that we had to put aside this one criterion in order to serve the greater good.
This game will make you laugh.
In short, Cards Against Humanity plays like Apples to Apples. The judge draws a black card that has a question or an incomplete phrase. The other players have a hand of white cards that contain responses that could fit the black card. The judge reveals each of the white cards and chooses the one he or she thinks is funniest. Pop quiz: If you drew a black card that asked “What ended my last relationship” what response would you find most amusing (of these five I’m choosing at random)?
a) The big bang
b) Spectacular abs
c) Free samples
d) A middle-aged man on roller skates
e) Doin’ it in the butt
At least one of these responses is not something I’d particularly like to share with any of my children present. But forcing one of my friends to say these things? And it’s not just a matter of profanity. Relatively few of the cards contain profanity or explicitly sexual material. But it is most certainly not suited for the younger set. “Relatively little” profanity and graphic sexual material is not the same as “no” profanity or graphic material. Everything about the game is provocative so even if there are no explicitly lewd responses in a given round, most of the fun comes from the implicitly lewd responses.
You can buy the game online (which supports the creators) or you can download the PDF files they freely provide so that you can print your own. Under the Creative Commons licensing you can make as many as you want as long as you don’t sell it or make money from the distribution (such as from advertisements). There are lots of expansion packs and each one comes with lots of blank cards. The basic rules also come with a whole host of game variations.
For more about the development of the game and some of the philosophy behind it, check out this video by one of the creators, Max Temkin. Max gives a wonderful talk about the principles and foundations of games and creativity and fun.
Once you’ve had your fill of his erudition and earnest good humor, gather your best friends, ship the kids off to the grandparents, and slink your mind down into a convenient gutter. It’s Major Fun.
Cards Against Humanity is a party game for lots of horrible, horrible people. The more the better. Ages: adult (and yet still incredibly juvenile…)
Cards Against Humanity was designed by Josh Dillon, Daniel Dranove, Eli Halpern, Ben Hantoot, David Munk, David Pinsof, Max Temkin, and Eliot Weinstein. It was created in 2009 and published under a Creative Commons license. You can make your own Cards Against Humanity if you want but you can’t make any money from it.