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, conceptual statement, or similar phrase. The judge, officially known as the "Card Czar," reads a black card, which has a question or statement with at least one blank. The players then play a white card (or cards) for the Card Czar to evaluate, and the Card Czar chooses the winner. Players draw back up to 10 cards, and the next person in rotation becomes the Card Czar.
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 is a web version that includes the expansions and allows players to make their own card packs with HTML support, and a different web version that has more customizable rules, allows for the played white cards to be flipped one at time by the czar, and allows for blank cards to be filled with images from the web. (There was another web version, but it was unfortunately discontinued.)
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 note .
- The '90s: The theme of the "90s Nostalgia Pack", including cards like "The Great Cornholio.", "Pure Moods, Vol. 1", and "Stabbing the shit out of a Capri Sun."
- 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 Warnings: 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.
- 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.Play: Before I run for president, I must destroy all evidence of my involvement with [Destroying the evidence].
- 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:
- 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" in silver lettering.
- First-edition orders of the Theatre Pack had a very small chance of being replaced by its "understudy", the Cats Pack. Said pack came bundled with an apology and a complete refund for buying the regular version.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The "Bullshit" pack distributed in late 2014 contained literal bull shit. Lots of people bought it thinking it was an Expansion Pack, allowing the company to make $180,000, which they then spent on fake lobbies and sharing their findings.
- Expansion Pack: As of 2017, three main expansion boxes: the Red Box , Blue Box , and Green Box, each containing 300 cards.
- Specially themed bonus packs of 30 cards; current packs offered include the Period Pack, College Pack, 90s Nostalgia Pack, Weed Pack, Food Pack, Fantasy Pack, Sci-Fi Pack, Geek Pack, Science Pack, Design Pack, World Wide Web Pack, Pride Pack, and Theatre Pack. Most of these packs are co-written with outside collaborators and/or benefit a charity.
- Not to mention various limited edition releases, the annual holiday promotions, and third party expansions (like Crabs Adjust Humidity). A cohesive spreadsheet of all official CAH products and many third party expansions is now available here.
- 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.
- Historical In-Joke: Some of the cards such as the black and white pair "What do white people like?" "The Three Fifths Compromise". Whether or not these are funny, let alone being seen as funny, depends on who you play with as does most cards.
- 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.
- Insistent Terminology: Anytime the "Bees?" card gets drawn, expect everyone to say the word with a ridiculously overemphasized questioning tone, if not an overly hammy one in one's best Nicolas Cage impersonation.
- Junior Variant: A print-and-play expansion that was released tones down the crass nature of the game with black and white cards that are more family-friendly. This got a physical release much later.
- 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.
- Literal Metaphor: For one Black Friday, they sold boxes of bullshit. That is, literal feces from a male bovine.
- Literal Wild Card: This game features blank cards, wherein a player fills said card with whatever prompt they see fit.
- 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.
- Nobody Poops: Averted in the official rules. Players decide who is the first Card Czar based on who pooped most recently.
- Not Hyperbole: It's common for the company to advertise some sort of weird Black Friday deal, only to reveal that they were absolutely not kidding.
- For Black Friday 2016, they sold "bullshit." As in, literal feces from a male bovine. People ordered it, not thinking they were serious... only to be grossed out when they saw what they'd purchased.
- Black Friday 2017 saw the company livestream digging a giant hole. Not doing anything with it, just digging a gigantic hole.
- In Black Friday 2018, they offered a "99 percent off sale." While they used it to advertise their next expansion for twenty dollars, they also really did sell things at 99 percent off, including a trip to Fiji, a halbred, a ball tossing game, a four-door car, and even money, such as selling a $100 bill for $1. They even had a "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer on their site to say "yes, we are really, honestly selling these things at this cheap price". The catch is that only one person could order each of the 99-percent-off items, leading to an online version of a Retail Riot.
- Official Game Variant: The instructions feature a list of house rules for the players to potentially include, including using Rando Cardrissian as a ghost player or passing your turn so you can discard your hand.
- 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:[If 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 to be 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.
- Schmuck Bait: The successor to the "Bigger Blacker Box", simply called "Please do not buy this product." It's 69" long, and contains a single cardnote . And it's $100.
- Stealth Pun: Some expansion packs contain cards that seem irrelevant to the theme of the pack until you think about it. For example, the Box Expansion contains the white card "Pandora's Vagina", while the Fantasy pack contains the white card "Gender Equality".
- Take That!:
- By far, the longest and most intricate descriptions on the white cards belong to horrible actions to be done unto Glenn Beck.
- The nature of the game means that anything mentioned by a card (black or white) is fair game for players. This, of course, goes without saying.
- The entire Trump Expansion is about the apocalypse in the wake of Donald Trump winning the 2016 American presidential election, to the point that it came bundled with a survival kit, complete with gas mask, seed packets for restarting civilization, and a gold locket with a picture of Barack Obama. Then they took it a step further and founded a super PAC called the Nuisance Committee dedicated to making fun of Trump and discrediting his presidential campaign. Even the rulebook in the basic set takes a jab at Trump by telling people who have any complaints or legal threats can direct them at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort and it lists the address for it.
- Following the repeal of Roe v. Wade, they decided to support abortion by donating 100% of their website sales coming from states that banned abortion to the National Network of Abortion Funds. When you are told this, you have the option of just continuing, agreeing and adding in an extra $5 donation, or complaining and saying that you're pro-choice. Choosing that option takes you to another pop-up pointing out that sometimes, bigger and more powerful people like to force their values onto others against their will and proceeds to put in the extra $5 donation anyway.
- Take That, Audience!: For 2016's Black Friday, the creators dug a huge pointless hole for no reason, continuing to enlarge the hole with more donations, eventually amassing over a hundred thousand dollars. One of the FAQs asked why they didn't give this money to a charity, to which they gave the response "Why aren't YOU giving all this money to charity? It's your money."
- The Ghost: The Random Number God, Rando Cardrissian, which takes the form of random cards used to answer the black cards. This usually turns him into a Cloud Cuckoo Lander, since the responses rarely make any sense.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: A rare Tabletop Game example. Depending on the cards played and the Card Czar's tastes, some jaw-droppingly violent and/or perverted scenarios can occur.
- One play, popularized by the web show Table Flip:Play: After months of practice with [sexual humiliation], I think I'm finally ready for [my mom].
- Another, as seen on PewDiePie and Cutie Pie Marzia's Let's Play video:Black Card: How did I lose my virginity?
Marzia's White Card: Bees??
- Some fan-made card packs go even further.
- One play, popularized by the web show Table Flip:
- Vulgar Humor:
- Several of the cards have scatological and/or sexual themes that can be disgusting or horrific. This is especially true of many of the third party expansions and the online versions, which crank up the shock value by being as vulgar as possible.
- The "Bullshit" pack was literally bullshit.
Tropes referenced by card text
- Abusive Parents: "Abusive Fathers", "Daddy's Belt".
- Action Girl: "Strong female characters".
- Adolf Hitlarious: "MechaHitler".
- All of the Other Reindeer: "Public ridicule".
- Amazon Brigade: "A tribe of warrior women".
- Amusing Injuries: "Actually getting shot, for real.", "Multiple stab wounds.", "Ripping into a man's chest and pulling out his still-beating heart.", "Savagely beating a mascot.", "Throwing a virgin into a volcano."
- Asian Airhead: "Asians who aren't good at math".
- Autocannibalism: "Autocannibalism."
- A Wizard Did It: "Being a motherfucking sorcerer."
- Bears Are Bad News: "BEARS!"
- Bee Afraid: "Bees?"
- Bestiality Is Depraved: "Firing a rifle into the air while balls deep in a squealing hog."
- Black Comedy Rape: "Date rape.", "Raping and pillaging."
- Black Is Bigger in Bed: "A big black dick", "A bigger blacker dick", "The biggest blackest dick", "The even biggest, blackester dick", "A dick so big and so black it is a problematic stereotype."
- Blind Obedience: "Unquestioning obedience."
- Bloody Hilarious: "All of this blood."
- But We Used a Condom!: "A defective condom."
- Child Hater: "Being a dick to children."
- Church of Happyology: One white card consists only of the religion's name.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Most cards that aren't vulgar or offensive are just plain bizarre. Examples include "The mere concept of Applebee's.", "A good sniff.", "Synergistic management solutions.", "Stephen Hawking talking dirty.", and "A monkey smoking a cigar."
- Compensating for Something: "Overcompensation".
- Cool Starship: "A sweet spaceship."
- Cure Your Gays: "Praying the gay away."
- Cyborg: "Cybernetic enhancements", "RoboCop"
- Death as Comedy: "Dying.", "Dying of dysentery.", "Dying alone and in pain.", "Dead parents.", "All my friends dying.", "The 9,000 children who starved to death today.", "Mufasa's death scene.", "Kurt Cobain's death.", "Having been dead for a while.", "Seeing my village burned and my family slaughtered before my eyes."
- Death Glare: "Hillary Clinton's death stare."
- Deep South: "The South."
- Dem Bones: "An army of skeletons."
- Dirty Old Woman: "An older woman who knows her way around the penis."
- Dude, Not Funny!: "Poorly-timed Holocaust jokes."
- Fanservice Faux Fight: "Sexy pillow fights."
- Ferris Wheel of Doom: "An unhinged Ferris wheel rolling toward the sea."
- Gasshole: "Holding down a child and farting all over him."
- God: "God.", "The slightest bit of evidence that God is real."
- Godwin's Law: Four separate cards: "Nazis.", "MechaHitler.", "Auschwitz.", and "Poorly-timed Holocaust jokes."
- Grammar Nazi: "Grammar Nazis who are also regular Nazis."
- Groin Attack: "Glenn Beck catching his scrotum on a curtain hook.", "Kneeing a wizard in the balls."
- Humanity's Wake: "The dying breath of the last human."
- I Love the Dead: "Necrophilia."
- Incendiary Exponent: "A big hot fire that's burning everybody."
- Inept Mage: "A magician fucking up over and over."
- The Internet Is for Cats: "A cat video so cute that your eyes roll back and your spine slides out of your anus."
- Interspecies Romance: "Interspecies marriage."
- Intrepid Reporter: "Hard-hitting investigative journalism."
- The Klan: "The KKK."
- Killer Robot: "Flying robots that kill people."
- Last of His Kind: "Eating the last known bison.", "The dying breath of the last human."
- The Loins Sleep Tonight: "Erectile dysfunction."
- Lost Food Grievance: "Some punk kid who stole my turkey sandwich."
- Man on Fire: "Being on fire.", "Setting my balls on fire and cartwheeling to Ohio."
- Magical Negro: "Advice from a wise, old black man."
- Master Race: "The Master Race."
- Mob War: "Beefin' over turf."
- Naked People Are Funny: "Getting naked too soon.", "Not wearing pants."
- Nocturnal Emission: "Wet dreams."
- Noodle Implements: Beyond the illogic behind some possible plays, some white cards suggest these even without further contextualization, such as "An oversized lollipop.", "A stray pube.", "A bag of magic beans.", "A really cool hat.", and "That thing that electrocutes your abs."
- Noodle Incident: ...and by extension, some of these as well.
- Nose Nuggets: "Boogers."
- Nuclear Option: "A thermonuclear detonation."
- Oedipus Complex: "An Oedipus complex."
- The Old Gods: "The old gods."
- Ominous Owl: "Owls, the perfect predator."
- Pantomime Animal: "Two men in a horse costume."
- Pants-Free: "Not wearing pants."
- Parental Abandonment: "Dead parents."
- Parental Sexuality Squick: "The crazy, ball-slapping sex your parents are having right now."
- Police Brutality: "Police brutality.", "Shooting nonviolent protestors."
- Porn Without Plot: "The thin veneer of situational causality that underlies porn."
- Postmodernism: "This answer is postmodern."
- Potty Failure: "When you fart and a little bit comes out."
- Precious Puppy: "Puppies!"
- Product Placement: "The Tempur Pedic® Swedish Sleep System™.", "Five-Dollar Footlongs™.", "Go-Gurt®.", "Lunchables™.", "Adderall™.", "A Bop It™.", "Fancy Feast®.", "Domino's™ Oreo™ Dessert Pizza.", "Viagra®.", "Pabst Blue Ribbon.", "Cards Against Humanity."
- Raging Stiffie: "An erection that lasts longer than four hours."
- Revenge: "Sweet, sweet vengeance."
- Reckless Gun Usage: "Rubbing my clit with a handgun."
- Riding into the Sunset: "Riding off into the sunset."
- Running Gag: The core cardset includes "A Big, Black Dick" and one of the expansions follows up with "A Bigger, Blacker Dick." Of course, when the Bigger Blacker Box came out, it included a (foil-embossed) card for "The Biggest, Blackest Dick."
- Sassy Black Woman: "A sassy black woman."
- Satan: "The Devil himself."
- Science Is Bad: "Going too far with science and bad things happening."
- The Scream: "Screaming like a maniac."
- "Second Law" My Ass!: "Robots that just want to party."
- Self-Deprecation: "A bunch of idiots playing a card game instead of interacting like normal humans."
- Shockingly Expensive Bill: "An $80,000 bill from the hospital."
- Sideboob: "Tasteful sideboob."
- Slipping a Mickey: "Roofies."
- Statuesque Stunner: "A whole lotta woman."
- Stepford Smiler: "A cheerfulness that belies a deep-seated self-loathing."
- Studio Audience: "A live studio audience."
- Stuff Blowing Up: "Explosions.", " Spontaneous human combustion." "A thermonuclear detonation."
- Stupid Jetpack Hitler: "Mecha-Hitler."
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: "Getting bit by a radioactive spider and battling leukaemia for the next thirty years.", "Actual mutants with medical conditions and no superpowers."
- The Swarm: "A hopeless amount of spiders.", "An unstoppable wave of fire ants."
- Talk to the Fist: "Slapping a racist old lady."
- Teen Pregnancy: "Teenage pregnancy."
- Teeny Weenie: "A micropenis."
- Temporal Paradox: "A time travel paradox."
- Thanks for the Mammary: "Copping a feel."
- That Reminds Me of a Song: "Breaking out into song and dance."
- Trickster God: "Loki, the trickster god."
- Title Drop: "Cards Against Humanity."
- Too Dumb to Live: "Unfathomable stupidity."
- Took a Level in Badass: "Growing a pair."
- Too Smart for Strangers: "Stranger danger."
- Torment by Annoyance: "Throwing grapes at a man until he loses touch with reality."
- Walking Shirtless Scene: "Taking off your shirt."
- Weight Woe: "Bingeing and purging."
- Written by the Winners: "Historical revisionism."
- Your Mom: "My mom."
- Applied Mathematics: "_____ + _____ = _____."
- Ass Shove: "Help me doctor, I've got _____ in my butt!"
- Bond Villain Stupidity: "But before I kill you, Mr. Bond, I must show you _____."
- Cool and Unusual Punishment:
- "In the seventh circle of Hell, sinners must endure _____ for all eternity."
- "Instead of coal, Santa now gives the bad children _____."
- Deal with the Devil: "In return for my soul, the Devil promised me _____, but all I got was ____."
- Disgusting Public Toilet: "Dude, do not go in that bathroom. There's _____ in there."
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: "My gym teacher got fired for adding _____ to the obstacle course."
- Drowning My Sorrows: "I drink to forget _____."
- Drugs Are Bad: "I don't need drugs to get high, kids. I'm high on _____."
- Fallen States of America: "In the distant future, historians will agree that _____ marked the beginning of America's decline."
- Great Way to Go: "_____. That's how I want to die."
- Haiku: "Make a haiku."
- You must play three white cards, with each white card forming one line of your haiku.
- One house rule suggested by the official rules is to save this card for the very last round. This is generally a good idea, partly because it makes for a nice climax to the game, and partly because it's much easier to make a haiku in this game when you can plan for it in advance.
- Hitler Ate Sugar: "You know who else liked _____? Hitler."
- In a World…: "In a world ravaged by _____, our only solace is _____."
- Lifetime Movie of the Week: "Lifetime® presents _____, the story of _____."
- Mandatory Twist Ending: "In M. Night Shyamalan's new movie, Bruce Willis discovers that _____ had really been _____ all along."
- Missing Steps Plan: "Step 1: ________. Step 2: ________. Step 3: Profit!"
- Moment Killer: "What brought the orgy to a grinding halt?"
- No Indoor Voice: "BILLY MAYS HERE FOR _____."
- Noodle Implements: The "Step 1: _______ Step 2: _______ Step 3: Profit!" card requires this trope.
- Once Killed a Man with a Noodle Implement: "That's right, I killed ________. How, you ask? ________."
- One of the Boys: "She's just one of the guys, you know? She likes beer and football and ________."
- Slippery Slope Fallacy: "_____ is a slippery slope that leads to _____."
- Super Zeroes: "It turns out that _____ Man was neither the hero we needed nor wanted."
- Tempting Fate: "What's the worst that could happen?"
- They Called Me Mad!: "They said we were crazy. They said we couldn't put ________ inside of ________. They were wrong."
- We Will Spend Credits in the Future: "In 1,000 years, when paper money is a distant memory, how will we pay for goods and services?"
- Your Answer to Everything: "Dammit, Gary. You can't just solve every problem with _____."
- 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."White Card: "The end of all life on Earth."White Card: "World Wars 3 through 5."
- Circles of Hell:Black Card: In the Seventh Circle of Hell, sinners must endure ______ for all eternity.White Card: The Final Circle of Hell.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: This gem of an answer from MAG Fest 2013 (8:45):White Card: Auschwitz.
- Mushroom Samba:Black Card: When I was tripping on acid, _____ turned into _____.White Card: Tripping balls.
- 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:White Cards: "My humps.", "All the single ladies.", "A crazy little thing called love.", "A mulatto, a mosquito, an albino, and my libido."
- World War Whatever:
- "I don't know with what weapons World War III will be fought with, but World War IV will be fought with ______." in the main deck.
- "World Wars 3 through 5." in the Trump Expansion.
- You Shall Not Pass!: "My P.E. teacher was fired for adding Gandalf to the obstacle course."