Tabletop Game: Cards Against Humanity

Cards Against Humanity is what happens when you make a party game out of an unholy union of Apples to Apples, Mad Libs, and Refuge in Audacity.

Players start with 10 white cards, each with a different noun or gerund verb (one that ends in -ing) on them. The judge—officially known as the "Card Czar"—plays a black card, which has a question or a statement with at least one blank. The players then play a white card (or cards) for the judge to evaluate, and the judge gets to choose who is the winner. Players draw back up to 10 cards, and the next person in rotation judges.

Much like Apples to Apples, there is a theoretical win condition, but it's frequently played just to see who can be the most hilariously inappropriate.

The cards can be downloaded for free to print yourself, and are also available for purchase on actual card stock. There's also two web versions that are free to play,, and includes the expansions.

At Gen Con 2013, the CAH creators hosted a competition reality show called Tabletop Deathmatch for up-and-coming dev teams, with a first printing of their game as a reward. The show was judged by a panel of industry professionals and produced by LoadingReadyRun, and airs here.

The March 19, 2015 episode of Tabletop was dedicated to Cards Against Humanity.

Funnily enough, Apples to Apples has its own competitor, Rotten Apples.

General tropes:

  • Black Comedy: Much of the appeal of the game. In fact, some of the white cards are perfectly innocuous things (like Heartwarming Orphans) just to bring how terrible some of the other cards are into sharp relief, as well as to highlight how off-color some players' senses of humor are.
  • Body Horror: Some cards are rather gruesome.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Like Apples to Apples, "playing to the judge" is highly encouraged.
  • Butt Monkey: Two of the biggest and most consistent ones are Glenn Beck and Henry Goto.
  • Canada, Eh?: Has a whole pack of its own.
  • Content Warning: The game itself doesn't have one, but for the episode of Tabletop that featured CAH, Wil Wheaton made a point to break the show's normal format and start off with a warning that that episode would be outrageously offensive.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: The entire point. If you're easily offended, this is not the game for you.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: It's possible to do this.
    Play: In M. Night Shyamalan's new movie, Bruce Willis discovers that [Sarah Palin] had really been [Sarah Fuckin' Palin] all along.
  • Double Entendre: The bigger, blacker box, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin and also comes with a small expansion pack about boxes.
  • Easter Egg: Believe it or not, one exists. If you have "The Bigger, Blacker Box", tear away at the top of the lid. There is a white card that says "The biggest, blackest dick."
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The "Bullshit" pack distributed in late 2014 contained literal bull excrement. Lots of people bought it thinking it was an Expansion Pack, allowing the company to make $180,000.
  • Expansion Pack: Five so far, not including the 2012 Holiday Pack, the bonus cards that come with The Bigger Blacker Box, a handful of limited-edition cards given away at events like PAX or as part of the 2013 "12 Days of Bullshit" promotion, and a third-party expansion called Crabs Adjust Humidity which has three packs. Various browser-based online clones have their own expansion packs custom-tailored to specific fandoms.
  • House Rules: The instructions feature a list of house rules for the players to potentially include.
  • Game Mod: The base set and expansions include blanks for making up new cards.
  • God Is Dead: This is the name for one of the suggested house rules.
    Play without a Card Czar. Each player picks his or her favorite card each round. The card with the most points wins the round.
  • House Rules: The ability to pass on a turn and instead discard as many cards as you like and then draw back up to a full hand is a common one.
  • I'm Going to Hell for This: A very common player reaction.
  • Inherently Funny Words: Hilariously deconstructed. While the words are inherently funny, the situation they are involved in is not.
    White Card: Helplessly giggling at the mention of Hutus and Tutsis.
  • Large Ham: It's almost mandatory for the Card Czar to read certain cards in a hammy manner. Famous hams Nicolas Cage, William Shatner, and Christopher Walken each have a white card as well.
  • Literal Metaphor: For one Black Friday, they sold boxes of bullshit. That is, literal feces from a male bovine.
  • Minimalism: Purely from a design standpoint—the cards are either white with black Helvetica letters, or black with white Helvetica letters. This is to bring the game's focus sharply on the content of the cards themselves, which are frequently anything but minimalist.
  • The '90s: The theme of one card pack.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted in the official rules. Players decide who is the first Card Czar based on who pooped most recently.
  • Precision F-Strike: Despite the general vulgarity of the game, it is not a Cluster F-Bomb and most cards don't have serious profanity on them. Except for "Being a motherfucking sorcerer." The Precision F-Strike (along with Noodle Implements and, depending on what black card it's answering, Power Perversion Potential) makes this one of the more popular and likely-to-win cards.
  • Random Number God: Called "Rando Cardrissian" in this game. Should you choose to have Rando as a "player", "he" gets a pile of cards that only "he" can draw from. Quoth the rules:
    [I]f [Rando] wins the game, all players go home in a state of everlasting shame.
  • Refuge in Audacity: If there is anything that someone will not want insulted, it'll be put on a white card so that folks can come up with terrible ways to discuss it.
  • Serious Business: This is the name for one of the suggested house rules. It's also an example, in the sense that it adds what some people would consider an unneeded layer of complexity to the game.
    Instead of picking a favorite card each round, the Card Czar ranks the top three in order. The best card gets 3 Awesome Points, the second-best gets 2, and the third gets 1. Keep a running tally of the score, and at the end of the game, the winner is declared the funniest, mathematically speaking.

Tropes referenced by card text

    open/close all folders 

    White cards 

    Black cards 

    Both black and white cards 
  • Apocalypse How:
    Black Card: "This is the way the world ends. This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but with _____."
    White Card: "The dying breath of the last human."
  • Circles of Hell:
    Black Card: In the Seventh Circle of Hell, sinners must endure ______ for all eternity.
    White Card: The Final Circle of Hell.
  • Overreacting Airport Security:
    Black Card: TSA guidelines now prohibit _____ on airplanes.
    • Played straight if the white card is something innocent, harmless, or so obscure that you find yourself scratching your head about how this could possibly be a rule.
    • Inverted if the white card is something obviously dangerous like, say, Kamikaze Pilots. They must have been Underreacting Airport Security if it took this long to put a rule like that into effect.
  • Shout-Out: Cards often reference works or characters, especially in themed expansions like the 90s Pack.
  • Waxing Lyrical:
  • You Shall Not Pass: "My P.E. teacher was fired for adding Gandalf to the obstacle course."

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