Critical Play: Bluffing, Judging and Getting Vulnerable

Cards Against Humanity is a “judging and getting vulnerable” game, where you are judged by your sense of humor and creativity. It’s a politically incorrect, offensive, and inappropriate game that everybody loves.

Name of the game: Cards Against Humanity

Creator: Cards Against Humanity LLC, designed by Josh Dillon

Target audience: It dubs itself as “a party game for horrible people”. Many of the regular Cards Against Humanity cards (at least those that I played) aren’t appropriate for most children. Players should be over 17 years old. Cards contain a lot of sarcasm, and dirty and awful jokes; therefore, this game should be played with a group of people who are comfortable with each other and have a similar sense of humor. I remember playing this game with a group of new people and it was super awkward.

Formal elements: This game can be played by a large group of people (4 to 20+ players). At the beginning of the game, everyone is given 7 response cards (throughout the game it is allowed to have only seven cards). A round begins when the leader chooses a fill-in-the-blank card from the deck of cards. The leader reads the sentence and waits for the others to give them answer cards. The leader chooses the best response and gives the fill-in-the-blank card to the winner. The first person to get 7 fills in the blank cards wins. At the end of each round, the players collect another answer card so that they have 7 in total. So, overall, the goal of the game is to pair the answer and question cards in the funniest, most provocative, or the cleverest way you can.

What kind of fun?: I think the fun part of the game is building fellowship through inappropriate and offensive jokes because people do not always have this opportunity to sit and tell “dirty jokes”. Maybe the game allows us to show our true nature (just kidding). Moreover, the game gives a sense of pleasure because cards have a very simple and attractive design.

Why does this game work: the provocative nature of the game makes it easy to pick up. This game is more about people rather than the game itself. You see the reactions of the people and understand what’s fine with them, what crosses the line, and what pushes the border. Sometimes, it is a great way to get to know someone new.

Comparison to other games: What distinguishes this game from others in its genre is its level of maturity in various topics.

Vulnerability: Its offensive nature makes people to be vulnerable and talk about various uncomfortable and inappropriate topics. I personally love playing this game only with people whom I know well because I do not feel comfortable being vulnerable among new people.

How to improve the game: I would propose to give card options for various humor levels by dividing cards into levels – super inappropriate, less offensive, etc.

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