Critical Play: Bluffing, Judging, and Getting Vulnerable

For this critical play, I chose to analyze Cards Against Humanity by Cards Against Humanity LLC which is an light-hearted adult judging card game where “… players complete fill-in-the-blank statements using words or phrases typically deemed offensive, risqué or politically incorrect printed on playing cards”. The game is targeted at players 17+ as the content of the game is NSFW for the most part and includes sensitive topics not suitable for a younger audience. The game is played with at least 3 people and there is no upper bound on the number of players. At each round, players compete to form the funniest sentence/phrase/question by submitting one the white cards in their hand to the judge to complete the prompt on the black card. Additionally, one person is deemed the judge (usually the person who won the previous round) and the remaining players compete to have their answer chosen. With the logistics of the game, it is clear to see that this is an example of multilateral competition in which players try to outwit each other. In terms of the type of fun the game brings, I think it definitely promotes fellowship and expression. The very nature of the game will force conversation, through the defense of an answer to a prompt, and overall laughter and enjoyment of others. Additionally, this game also promotes expression as players will get to learn more about each other and the way their humor and mind works.  I think this game works, in part, because of the setting in which it’s played. Commonly, Cards Against Humanity is introduced at an adult game night and is usually a hit, but even moreso when there is drinking involved. This is a game that, as the drinks increase, so does the level of fun achieved by the game. Plus, I think the fact that this game encourages people to try not to be by the book, it lets people be free of social pressures and thus, encourages continuous play and even returning to the game at later times. There are many other games that are similar to Cards Against Humanity, but what makes this game different is the subject matter of the game. Not only is this one of the few games with such adult themes throughout, the ever expanding inventory of expansion packs allows the game to evolve over the years. 

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