Review: Cards Against Humanity, part 2

One of my first articles on the Proud Mammal Chronicle was about my experiences with and opinions on the game Cards Against Humanity henceforth referred to as CAH (Here’s a link to that review – http://proudmammalgames.com/pmc/game-review-cards-against-humanity/ ). I took the stance that CAH isn’t really a game, and I stand by that assessment because there is no goal besides either making people laugh or making them uncomfortable. I also stated that it takes too long to play and isn’t fun when nothing is happening, which is also true and especially so in large groups of people (and sometimes it’s not fun at all). I just feel like I may have been a bit unfair to the people who made the game who really did a great job from a creative standpoint and I feel I must rectify any misgivings that my last review may have set.

 

taken from http://www.chicagogrid.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/cardstogether.png

There’s no way 8 people can put in equal work on a game this scale. Who wants to place bets on which guy contributed the least?

CAH has become the quintessential game of my generation, everyone has played it and most of them enjoy that first foray into its exotic and virulent depths. It’s tailor made for denizens of the internet because every card combination is a potential meme, every card has the chance of provoking a laugh, and they only pull punches when called out by their audience. They created something that has become a cultural cornerstone in the gaming community and has shaped the way people think about games today. It’s actually impressive how comic the vast majority of the cards can be since they probably wrote them by making up the most awful things they could imagine then cutting those phrases apart.

 

from http://static.deathandtaxesmag.com/uploads/2014/06/Screen-Shot-2014-06-20-at-12.51.22-PM.png

An example of their audience calling them out on a transgressive card.

Now… let me backpeddle to that last sentence, and clarify via paraphrase “It’s impressive how amusing people think this game is when it’s based off dirty and mean things.” So don’t read that previous paragraph as an endorsement of the content, more as a nod from an aspiring creator to an accomplished set of them. I want to be as successful as they are, and I know they’re proud of their triumphant game. Hell, I’d be choking back $12 bottles of champagne everyday if I sold 500,000 copies of a game. And in their situation that booze would probably help the creative process, especially when said creative process is based around appealing to a mean-spirited, gimpy culture.

art by Tom Humberstone

I grabbed this image from Shut Up & Sit Down, they’re pretty great, almost as awesome as the PMC… almost. Go check them out.

Back in my first review, I compared CAH to Olive Garden and that was just cruel of me, nothing in the world of games is that bad. I’m truly sorry Cards Against Humanity lovers, I really don’t know what came over me that day. It’s much more like a Macaroni Grill. It has an air of density, it looks like it knows what it’s doing, they serve you a good portion at a reasonable price… but at the end of the day, they’re still writing their names on table with crayons and there are screaming kids literally everywhere. CAH is the highest tier of the lowest common denominator, which gives it some credibility and power but every meal is still dug out of an overflowing freezer in the backroom.

Maybe that simile got lost at the end.

Anyway, my issues with the game stand, but I wanted to make clear that I don’t look down on the game’s creators. Quite the opposite. What they’ve done is make something that people can revel in that is both reprehensible and attractive at the same time. Despite the fact that I no longer enjoy playing the game, I admire the CAH creators for the fact that they made something that their audience can love, and in turn the creators loved it enough to make it a success. I always root for the little guy, and that right there is a win for the (formerly) little guys.

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