Cards Against Humanity

I’ve been talking about gaming as if I haven’t done any whatsoever in years, but the fact is, in fact I have done some…. just not RPG gaming.

One of the games I recently got and tried out is the infamous Cards Against Humanity cardgame, which is available under a Creative Commons License here. (Though if you’re looking to print them up in Korea, see my warning below.)

In any case, with a set of cards in hand, we tried out our first game with our neighbor Mark, and then his wife Jin when she got home from work. If you’re familiar with Apples to Apples, then you know how to play Cards Against Humanity. In fact, they’re essentially the same game, except the latter is simply designed to be the jaded, nasty version of Apples to Apples (and except that you need to keep score on paper, because some of the CAH cards require two cards be placed on the table, so that in theory two people can get points from one round).

We had great fun, of a particularly odd kind since inevitably one ends up playing (or, when one is playing the role of referee, choosing) cards that complete the prompt card in rather unsavory, disgusting, or bizarre ways. If you want to see some examples, check out the right side header of the Cards Against Humanity webpage — they’ve got a (presumably random) selection of cards running in animation there.

Or you can look at one picture I snapped of a “haiku” play:

The first “haiku”?

Teenage pregnancy.
Poor people.
Being fabulous.

That’s what Miss Jiwaku played in our second-ever game, last night with my coworker Joe. It was the winning play. The other two weren’t real plays, but they give the mildest hint of the horribleness possible with this game.

And it is horrible, yes. The fun of this game is that you get to be gross, horrible, nasty, cruel, and otherwise inhumane… no scratch that, the fun of this game is that you have to be all those things–you have no choice, most of the time–but that you also have to do it cleverly enough to be amusing when you do it if you want to win points.

The main deck of Cards Against Humanity is downloadable so you can print yourself a copy if you like. Warning: if you’re in Korea, it will not cost you the equivalent of $10 at a Kinkos to print up a set. Try closer to the equivalent of $30… which is frustrating, but not altogether surprising. (And it’s unlikely you’ll find a “perfect” packing box in a standardized size for it. I found a small gift box that fit them all relatively well, but you’ll have to scrounge to duplicate that success!

I’ll be honest: the one thing I think this game could use, when playing with SF geeks (which a lot of my friends are) is an SF-specific expansion pack. That’s probably too much to ask for someone else to make, but I’m tempted to do up my own little expansion set… the only problem being that I’d like for those cards to be removable, in case I’m playing with people who won’t get all the references. Sure, I think a lot of folks will get references to Slave Leia or Harry Potter’s “wand,” but not, say, to “/” (“slash” fanfic) or twisted movie catchphrase quotes or the like… Maybe printing the cards double-sided, with a logo on the backs of the SF-related ones, might be the way to go. Then, at least in theory, they would be more easily separable from the main deck.

Well, that’s not the only problem: I suppose probably a commercial release, full of references to SF, fantasy, and horror books and films, comics, and other geek-culture stuff might run into trademark issues… though probably a Creative Commons release would get left alone, right?

We’ll see, though: doing up an expansion pack of my own would be easy with the blank card templates they have up on the website, but it would also take some time, which is something I don’t really have a lot of right now. But eventually, I think it’d be fun… in the meantime, though, I’m just looking forward to getting more chances to try out this game with friends…

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