Base Game Review
Play Time (Box): 30-90mins
Play Time (Goof): Whatever you want really
Designer/s: Josh Dillon, Daniel Dranove, Eli Halpern, Ben Hantoot, David Munk, David Pinsof, Max Temkin & Eliot Weinstein
I feel it best to start this review by mentioning that this game may not be for everyone. Some of you out there may even take offence to elements of this game. If you feel like that may be you, and that reading this might be upsetting; I thank you very much for visiting The Goof Review and encourage you to check out one of our other reviews.
I’ll also say this however, if you decide to stick around and you do take a little offence. Good. That’s sort of the point. Offence in this game is like paprika in chicken paprikash (I’ve watched that movie twice now); a little enhances the flavour, a lot will cause runny noses and red faces.
Let’s take a step back for a moment. I’ve always prided myself on my knowledge of games, and I’ve been perfecting the art of table top game matchmaking. I set people up on a date with the game I feel they could have a connection with, in a group setting with more experienced daters around, and I let them test the waters. It’s cute to watch them go from being uncomfortable, then maybe looking at the cards a little coyly as they begin to understand what’s going on, to watch them be comfortable enough not to need encouraging to make a move. I love these moments. Introducing my family and friends to the likes of ‘Sentinels of the Multiverse’, ‘Ticket to Ride: Europe’ and ‘King of Tokyo’.
This game gets right to the fucking.
“Dad I think I have the perfect game for Aunty Belinda” I said a short while after discovering this game.
“Geoff come on mate, you know they’re not gamers.” He stated as he rolled his eyes.
“You don’t have to be. That’s the beauty of this game.”
Let me explain.
The rules to this game are incredibly simple, the ‘Card Czar’ (judge) reads a black card with a blank spot in it and the other players play a white card to fill in the blank. This works wonderfully because if you had to think too much about the rules you’d detract from the humour. I’m normally the sort of person that thinks alcohol has no place at the gaming table. You usually need your faculties to think through strategies and stay on task. In this game, it’s all about letting your inhibitions go and making each other laugh. I’ve found that the right amount of alcohol can enhance the experience.
One of the elements I love the most about this game is the suggested variants and opportunity for house rules. It allows you to adjust your game to the amount of people you’ve got, throwing in random cards if you’ve got too few people, or if you’d like to play loose with the cards for more laughs you can either pick up an additional card each turn or discard and pick up a card on your turn to be the Czar. I personally always play with the rule that you can pick up two black cards as the judge and put the other on the top or bottom, depending on how funny you think it could be. If you’re planning on having a few drinks, I’d suggest less rules.
One of the most fascinating things about this game is that by the end of it you just don’t care who wins. Sure, I’m competitive. The strategy to this game being you’ve got to make the judge laugh. And I like having the most points, but if I don’t…I really don’t care. If I lose at a game like ‘Star Realms’, I think about where I went wrong, moves I made that I could have gone another way on and changed the outcome. But in this game I think about the most hilarious plays of the night. And I usually have a chuckle or two for the next hour or so. It takes a special kind of game to be enjoyed purely for the process. And while I would argue that ‘Twilight Imperium’ fits that criteria, nothing even comes remotely close to ‘Cards Against Humanity’ in this regard.
Pros: ++Process is fun, +Simple Rules, +Variants
“What if I morally object to some of these cards?”
Whenever I think about whether this game has a theme, my mother sitting awkwardly at the end of the table looking at the hand I dealt her comes to mind. And trust me, it wasn’t long before mum was laughing about dead babies with the rest of us.
There’s this moment where this game clicks with people. For the first few turns they seem a little stunned that this is a real game. But when something resonates when them, they’re hooked. I guess this game is a little like Stockholm syndrome?
Do yourself a favour. Play this game with sweet old ladies (no mum…I didn’t call you old. We’re moving on). There is nothing funnier than having cards like “what would Grandma find disturbing yet oddly charming?” and being able to grin at your grandmother expectedly. Some of the funniest moments have been when the most innocent person at the table has played a card about sex toys or genocide. And really, isn’t that the theme of the game?
So yes, this game does have a theme. It’s not aliens, superheroes or sushi. Its laughter, offence and rudeness.
Pros: ++Game is theme, ++Theme is hysterical
The production value of this game is good. It’s basically just a box with cards. But everything is of a high quality. An interesting stylistic choice is that the cards are written with the answers from the top left corners instead of being placed in the middle like you would expect. What I think this adds to the game is a small sense of understatement, which I really enjoy in my comedy. If the words were plastered in big letters right in the centre of the cards it would be too loud and I feel a large part of the humour would be lost.
My biggest gripe would have to be that the cards don’t fit back in the damn box once you’ve gotten a few of the expansions and booster packs. And you really should. When we were playing the basic game over and over, you started to see the same cards come up and there was less excitement or shock, admittedly it can take some time before that happens because there are so many cards. This game’s shock factor is critical. It’s like watching too many ‘Southpark’ episodes in a row. You start by laughing out loud and by the end you’re barely registering a smirk. So either take this game in small doses so you don’t run out of the tasty treats, or buy more of the expansions if you’d rather gorge yourself.
It’s unprecedented for me to be talking about expansions in a base game review, I know. But I don’t feel that there is enough to talk about them in a separate review. They’re more cards, and more is usually better in this game (unless you want to go through and cull some of the duller cards. I’m not even really sure what an anti-drug is let alone having to google it every time). I even did something for this game I have NEVER considered doing before. I bought unofficial expansions (still trying to come to terms with it myself). More specifically, I bought the ‘Crabs Adjust Humidity’ expansions. And there are some good cards in there that have me crying with laughter. The simple style of game makes it easy for third parties to develop for it.
Pros: +High quality production, +Understated text placement, +Unofficial works, +Lots of cards
Cons: –Cards don’t fit back in the box
My Aunts, Uncles and Parents each have their own copies of the game now, and if you’ve made it through to the end of this review and you haven’t drafted an angry email to me, then I’d recommend you go buy it.
I give ‘Cards Against Humanity’:
And remember, at the end of the day. It’s all worth a laugh.
If you had a chuckle or two, please share to spread the laughter.