Critical Play: Bluffing, Judging and Getting Vulnerable

Cards Against Humanity was created in May 2011 by a group of 8 Highland Park High School alumni. It is a judging game heavily inspired by Apples to Apples, except the prompts and responses are not safe for work (NSFW). The game can be played by 3-10 people, but it is best with 5 or more. Since the game is NSFW, I think it’s more suitable for players who are risk-takers or know the other players decently well.

The rules of the game are simple. There are 2 types of cards: question cards and answer cards. Everyone starts with 7 answer cards and one player (the questioner) draws a question card. The other players (the answerers) need to secretly submit a card they think the questioner will select given 1) the answer question and 2) what makes the questioner ticks. The questioner reviews all the submissions and selects their favorite. The answerer who submitted the card gets the questioner card as a token for scorekeeper.  The goal is to be the first player to get 5 points.

There are several elements that make this a social, fun game. First, the question and answer cards are somewhat offensive and outrageous. They include questions like “What gives me uncontrollable gas” and answers like “Feeding a man a pie made of his own children.” Second, there are 500 answer cards and 100 question cards, which creates endless combination of fun. As a player, I find it so exciting to see what question and answer I draw. However, there is risk in playing since some cards push the envelop.  Lastly, it’s fun figuring out what makes other people tick so they select your card. Some people love crude humor, some people are sticklers. The downside occurs when players lose motivation to play when their responses aren’t selected. A way to solve is to create a mode where answerers randomly (instead of intentionally) select from their hand.


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