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Cards Against Humanity

image of black-and-white cards and a box reading "Cards Against Humanity"

Cards Against Humanity is a game that is fiercely popular, constantly requested, and perpetually sold out. In tabletop gaming, it is a cultural phenomenon. It's also deeply problematic.

Over and over at conventions and parties I hear people say that the game is "like Apples to Apples for horrible people." The comparison to Apples to Apples certainly helps set the expectation for how the game is played; a card comes out ("What ruined my last relationship?), everyone plays a card that seems to fit it, the person with the current turn (the Card Czar) judges the cards everyone has played. The winning card ("Being a motherfucking sorcerer") nets the player who won an Awesome Point and the black card from that round. Play passes, everybody draws back up to ten white cards, the next person with a turn becomes the new Card Czar. Repeat till everyone runs out of cards, gets bored or invents a house rule (a player made rule) about how to end the game.

CAH is at every con and every party I've been to in 2012. It was released in 2011, and the original run sold out in three days. The holiday expansion that came out this month brought in more than $70,000, which the game's creators donated to the Wikimedia Foundation.

CAH is a card game written deliberately for a maximum amount of awkwardness. Though it's capable of clever, satirical moments, it's really an arms race among players for how dark, sick, or weird things can get. If you're a strong believer that our humor should be used with care, that sexism and racism aren't funny—CAH has the potential for being offensive, nauseating, and emotionally upsetting. There are a number of cards related to sexual violence in the deck, for instance, as well as domestic and child abuse, genocide, and a cornucopia of racism. It also has an assortment of cards related to terrible things happening to conservatives, so if you prefer your entertainment to be potentially offensive in every way possible, Cards Against Humanity is your game.

I'm often torn about offensive media and games, especially when a game like CAH can make an incredibly powerful statement about humor, prejudice, and our society at large. Controversial media sparks conversation, debate, sometimes even positive dialogue and change. But when it's a card game people play at parties, it has the very real possibility of being an upsetting experience that people feel peer-pressured into, and which they leave feeling ill and upset.

So what's a woman got to do to play a game her friends love, without walking through a sea of rape jokes?

In my social group—and plenty of others—there has been the very real need to somehow make CAH safe for people emotionally. What people have done is "sanitize" their copies of Cards Against Humanity. That word's usually used derisively, like when someone writes off cleaned-up fairytales books that lack an earlier version's grimness.

Sanitizing a CAH deck doesn't make it magically all-ages and all-people appropriate. But it does demonstrate the power game players have to remix their games, into forms that are sharable and enjoyable for each other. Sexism, racism, and other isms in tabletop games are not purely flat and static.

Communities can react to problematic content in ways that maturely handle volatile and emotional issues. I can't play with an unsanitized deck of CAH. It is emotionally fraught, and that's not what I look for in a good time. Making me cry also isn't on my friends' to-do lists (unless it's awesome crying, like what results when they send me cute octopus videos).

If one of my friends hands me their sanitized Cards Against Humanity deck at a party, I can play and know I'm in a safe space. I don't have to listen to rape jokes or cracks about domestic violence. I am still horrified, sometimes extremely, by things I see played, even in a sanitized deck. But the things that hurt me, that reinforce a violent kind of humor against women, aren't ever on the table.

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Comments

51 comments have been made. Post a comment.

I think CAH provides a safe

I think CAH provides a safe space to make those jokes, because we know exactly how horrible they are. Humor is a way human beings have of dealing with truly horrifying and scary things. I am not one to say what is less or more offensive, what we, as a society, can and cannot find humor in. Shalom Auslander told a great story on the Moth about how finding humor in the holocaust takes away its power. I don't think you can really understand the humor of CAH without being acutely aware of the issues our society has around sexuality, rape, gender, and race. As a personal rule, I don't think a safe space is one that eliminates all the possible harmful objects in the space. I think a safe space is one where you are encouraged to be honest about your feelings, and taken seriously when you speak up. What's the point of having your friends sanitize their decks? Eventually you'll end up somewhere and people will be playing a not-sanitized-to-you deck. I think it is far better that we encourage people to either speak up when they don't want to play, or, as hosts, warn people how upsetting the game might indeed be for someone.

"Safe" is in the eye of the beholder

While I agree in broad terms that CAH provides a space to let loose and drop your inhibitions, and that that is a good thing, I don't think it's necessary that everyone go into that space.

On a similar, but probably less emotionally charged, note, my wife has severe arachnophobia. Really severe, not playing around "spiders are icky". So, we ask friends to respect that, and avoid trying to freak people out with spider pictures, spider descriptions, etc. Because, really, it's not asking that much.

Lillian has found a solution that works for her. That is the single most important thing, honestly. She still gets to play, without having to worry about getting freaked out. If someone else finds it silly, they don't have to play. If it really gets tense, then someone is taking a party game way too seriously.

Because, honestly, a party game is not an appropriate place to explore exposure therapy.

Agreed

I agree safe is in the eye of the eyeholder. I also appreciate you mentioning your wifes phobia as a serious issue I have coprophobia and it is extremely stressful because my family always jokes about it.

I have to agree with

I have to agree with anonymous. The game could certainly be uncomfortable depending on the crowd and individualized triggers of the individuals -- enough so that perhaps the game should have come with a trigger warning, HOWEVER, I have only been in situations where I have played the game with close friends, and it has been a refreshing space for exposing inequalities in a progressive way. Some of the cards have even sparked teaching moments -- for example, there is a card that simply says "heteronormativity", and some of my friends have learned this term through the game and through humor have learned how it can be oppressive.

There are certainly a few cards I could do without -- some of the more violent cards or the handful that make fat jokes about Oprah or Rosie O'Donnell. I love the idea of removing these cards since they make me cringe every time we encounter them in the game. But there is profound possibility in the blank cards that come with the game! You could write really thoughtful and/or progressive things on them to create new possibilities and ways of injecting feminism into the jokes.

re: I have to agree with

Tracey,

It is so awesome that you and your friends are having a good time with CAH (I am always super gleeful when folks are having fun with games.) The teaching moment is especially powerful for me to hear about, I am so happy that moments like that can come up with games.

And the blank cards are totally a great resource for keeping the game fun and/or replacing cards some folks may find really UnFun to deal with. I've seen my friends go two ways with the blanks; jokes that make sense if friends are playing, and broader pop culture stuff (movie refs, superheroes, etc.)

Rosie O'Donnell jokes

Rosie O'Donnell jokes shouldn't be in there on the basis that jokes about Rosie O'Donnell are objectively unfunny.

Last game I played produced this gem: "Women's suffrage? High-five, bro." The image of a couple frat boys high-fiving in support of women's rights was awesome.

"Safe Space"

A "safe space" is precisely as safe as the person who feels the least safe perceives it to be. Most of my friends feel extremely safe in any tabletop game space that isn't deliberately designed to be unsafe, so we can play CAH with an unmodified (I won't used the word "sanitized" for the cultural context established in the post) deck. Have a house rule that certain cards aren't present is completely appropriate for any game - I know a group of gamers who remove cards from their Dixit games because of triggering content - and recognizing that a random group at a convention won't have your house rules is a part of any gaming, whether you're making the house rules because you don't like a rule in the game, something many groups do, or to remove content that a player or multiple players are sensitive to. If someone isn't comfortable with some content, and can change the content to reflect something they're more comfortable with in their group, I see no reason to criticize something for playing a game in a manner that maximizes the enjoyment of everyone at the table - and I would much rather, as someone designing games, have a group modify my game to fit their desired play experience than have them avoid the game entirely because they are uncomfortable with some aspect of the game.

Re: "Safe Space"

John,

Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I should have perhaps used a word like 'scrubbed,' or 'modified,' and I'm seeing 'sanitized' may have been a poor word choice on my part. In all honesty, I think my mental assoc. was that removing triggering content was for me, like cleaning a psychological wound, which is likely what linked it modding a deck to being 'sanitized.'

You have very, very much echoed my thoughts and grasped what I wanted to convey, so thank you again for the reply. And for being a designer who would want to see players mod a game rather than be forced to avoid it.

Speaking as a woman who has

Speaking as a woman who has been on the Internet lately...the world does not need more "safe space" for misogyny.

Yes!!

Well said!

I played it once but wouldn't

I played it once but wouldn't play it again without certain cards being removed. I'm not happy with the racism or sexism either.

How?

I'm interested in how you sanitize the deck. Does that mean you simply take some cards out, or do you change cards to be less offensive?

Katie, we took out the ones I

Katie, we took out the ones I found the most traumatic to deal with (rape, domestic violence), and just tuck them in the deck box when we play. I've been in a few games where we polled to see if anyone needed other cards taken out as well (which I think of as maximizing the amount of fun possible.)

I've found that the direction

I've found that the direction the humor takes over the night has much more to do with the people you're playing with than the cards themselves. If nobody at the table finds jokes about Rush Limbaugh particularly funny, people will self-censor and not play those cards, because they know they won't win with it, and that's not the sort of joke that people are laughing at.

The game itself, I think, provides a safe way to laugh about how terrible the world can be.

I was going to say this -

I was going to say this - I've only played Cards Against Humanity a small number of times, but there's a very big difference in the mood and humor of the game depending on the people you're playing with.

Depends on the group

I've found that the direction the humor takes over the night has much more to do with the people you're playing with than the cards themselves. If nobody at the table finds jokes about Rush Limbaugh particularly funny, people will self-censor and not play those cards, because they know they won't win with it, and that's not the sort of joke that people are laughing at.

The game itself, I think, provides a safe way to laugh about how terrible the world can be.

Mire, I think that people

Mire,

I think that people def. self-censor (either out of consideration to others or because no one will find a particular play funny), and that the game is a safe way to laugh about how terrible the world can be. CAH has an expectation set before ever opening a box that it's pretty terrible content wise. I just want to encourage more people to play with/remix/mod their decks in ways that make the game more fun for them and friends; sometimes those mods are simple, like pulling a few cards so more people can feel comfortable--and laugh at different terrible things.

The Creative Commons

The Creative Commons licensing for CAH means that as long as you don't sell it, you're both allowed and encouraged to alter or remix the game as you see fit. The game's website even offers files with blank cards on them that you can fill in. I've never had the time/patience to make one myself, but if someone set up a shareable file of a CAH deck with common triggers and bigotries edited out and replaced, that would be fantastic.

Cricket, I would give this

Cricket,

I would give this reply all the thumbs up if that was in the UI. I will make do with throwing the horns, internet style.

\m/ \m/

Also, compiling a good "scrubbed" deck for people to look over a list of sounds amazing, and I'll see what I can do about making that happen. Will likely bring it up on Twitter and/or G+.

Even Apples to Apples can get

Even Apples to Apples can get problematic if you play it with certain people :( I got CAH for Christmas though and I'm glad I have a heads up that I should go through the cards before I play it.

Fuck it

You know what fuck this game I deal with misogyny everyday I'm not paying to experience more! Boycott it!

House Rules

In my house we don't remove cards - but we do have rules about who gets to play some cards. See, we're people with pretty terrible senses of humor - and what gets to me isn't necessarily the cards themselves, but how they're played.

So the rule is this: All cards relating to HIV/AIDS are given to me. Why? Because my father died crom complications related to AIDS when I was a child.

It can be hard for me to watch other people be funny about his disease - but I have more than enough wisecracks on my own. Sometimes the need for house rules is to give permission to those who live with horrible things to make fun of that dreadful subject matter - not necessarily removing the cards, but gifting people with the ability to laugh at themselves or their situations. Humor can combat hurt if used correctly.

We also don't tend to play CAH with people we don't know, saving me from explaining the House Rule Of AIDS if I'm not feeling up to the task of the explanation.

Where's the Misogyny?

So I usually play this game with large numbers of gay men. And usually there are a few straight men and some gay or straight women present as well.

I do not recall misogyny in the game. "Rape" alone, to me, is not misogynistic because men get raped too, as people in the gay community or people who volunteer in the prison community are particularly aware of, likewise with scandals in boy scouting and the catholic church.

I would also remind everyone that people have seven to ten cards in their hand and can choose to play whatever card they want. So is there anything misogynistic about the game itself? The mixing and matching of the cards is done by the players. And the players are human beings, who might be misogynistic, homophobic, racist, or whatever. Don't blame the game.

Ugh. Do we really need to be

Ugh. Do we really need to be reminded that "men get raped too" every time we talk about rape? The overwhelming majority of sexual assault victims are women. A few men tossed into that category does not make rape suddenly a gender-neutral act. Seriously, the next time someone says "men get raped too" I am going to pull my hair out.

The game is deeply misogynistic. Just because you have 10 cards in your hand doesn't mean that a rape joke or a "get back in the kitchen" joke is OK.

Do we really need someone to

Do we really need someone to minimize rape against men every time someone brings up the fact that men get raped too? You know, I think you do need to be reminded, given how flippant you seem to be about the subject.

I hope you can afford a good wig.

Ugh. Do we really need to be

Ugh. Do we really need to be reminded that "men get raped too" every time we talk about rape? The overwhelming majority of sexual assault victims are women. A few men tossed into that category does not make rape suddenly a gender-neutral act. Seriously, the next time someone says "men get raped too" I am going to pull my hair out.

The game is deeply misogynistic. Just because you have 10 cards in your hand doesn't mean that a rape joke or a "get back in the kitchen" joke is OK.

The game is supposed to be

The game is supposed to be offensive.
I think it's a problem when we take everything too seriously and take offense to everything. It's a game that's supposed to push boundaries and make you uncomfortable. Sometimes its good to laugh at the very serious issues in our culture. If you can't do that, then you're carrying the world on your shoulders and that really can crush you. (I've been there quite often.)

I don't like rape jokes AT ALL. I hate misogyny. But in the form of comedy and games, you have to learn to let it pass you by. You can't get upset about every single thing. Focus your energy on more productive things. Yes, what's available to our culture is important, but you have accept certain things and focus on the bigger picture.

Oy

Seriously? Not everyone has to have the same priorities as you. If you don't want to engage in criticism of a particular media artifact because there are things you'd rather do, or because it's better for you spoon-wise to let that kind of thing pass you by, that's perfectly fine. Sharing those things about you; also fine. But coming over to someone's MEDIA CRITICISM post to tell them, in a prescriptive fashion, what they *ought to do* with their time instead? Not cool.

I've found this game handy for teaching moments.

Because the point of the game is to amuse the person judging (as well as everyone else playing), I've gotten to have a few moments of "That's a weak joke; *blah* isn't terribly funny or entertaining, so NO SOUP FOR YOU!" It's actually led to some interesting discussions.
As an aside, I do have to say that I would NEVER play this with people I didn't already know, and I have no problem with pulling cards or house rules.

respect other people's safe spaces

I've had the horrible experience of playing CAH 3 times and each time has ended in me going on a tirade against racism or sexism or sizeism and/or crying in the bathroom because I got triggered. I like the idea of taking out cards. If it ever comes out at a party again, I'll insist on playing a "safe space" version and see how it goes. Each time I've played, people have defended the game ("it's just a game!" "it's not the game's fault" "it's supposed to be satire!") which just made the situation worse for the person being triggered. It takes courage to speak up about being triggered while playing a card game when things are supposed to be light and easygoing. When people defend the game in response to this, it can make the person who spoke up feel invalidated, peer pressured, or intimidated. So, I would just like to advise all those who are taking the pro CAH position to give it a rest in the event of a person getting triggered. There are plenty of times for a good discussion on the game (like on a blog post, for example), but after someone has stated they don't feel comfortable with it in the moment, it just isn't the time. Even if you don't agree with the idea of a "safe space" during the game, respect other people's right to it.

Changing Games

Changing games is part of what makes them fun. How many of us play that you get money when you land on "Free Parking" when that's not an actual Monopoly rule? Kudos to you and your friends for making the game the most fun for you. I suggest printing off blank cards and making your own to replace the ones you don't like.

I don't even get why people

I don't even get why people need to *pay* for something like this. I never heard of this game or this 'apples to apples' game, but when I was in high school we made our own. We wrote out questions then wrote out our own answers. And yes, it got dirty but it was also much more personal so therefore, much more funny. Like, is no one creative anymore? Where did all our imaginations go? I guess we dont need them.. theres pre-made games and apps for that. Honestly, suggest next time to do this:
1. get a bunch of old scraps of paper
2. get bunch of the (same color) pens
3. Everyone write down a random, hilarious personal question..
4. throw questions in a hat, everyone picks one out, then answers it
5. read aloud.
Repeat.

Well, I guess this makes me a horrible person?

I've played CAH a LOT since getting it this holiday season. I am a woman. I have not once been threatened sexually or feared for the safety of my vagina while playing this game. Perhaps you should take a long hard look at the people you're playing this game with instead of blaming the game itself. The opportunity is certainly there to be sexist or racist, no doubt, but if you're surrounding yourself with the kind of people who think rape jokes are funny then perhaps you should play with a sanitized group of peers instead of a bunch of low-brow scumbags.

I'm a horrible person just

I'm a horrible person just like you then! I've played it with some people who may have taken it too far (men and women alike) but it certainly never makes me feel threatened in the least! If I did feel that way, I would avoid the people who played the cards with perhaps a more malicious intent and NOT blame the game for its content. The cards can all be comical if played in a decent way; men and women can both be made fun of so I don't believe it focuses on belittling one sex. Gosh, in one game Lifetime's new film was "Sunshine and Rainbows: The Story of Menstrual Rage" and "In a world ravaged by whipping it out, our only solace is erectile dysfunction!"

Yay I'm a third horrible

Yay I'm a third horrible person! There are certain cards I choose to put back if I do receive them, but I honestly enjoy some of the crass aspects of the game. And as you said: "if you're surrounding yourself with the kind of people who think rape jokes are funny then perhaps you should play with a sanitized group of peers instead of a bunch of low-brow scumbags."

There's a difference between being witty and being downright disrespectful.

Don't be so quick to judge...

It appears that the perception of many people advocating censorship of the cards is that, joking about racism or sexism is in some way promoting it by "laughing with it". On the contrary, this game is actually a case of "laughing at it". Cards Against Humanity shows how ridiculous such unenlightened notions of racism or sexism are by drawing attention to them with humour. Players have a great time and laugh as they renounce the evils of society together. Thats not to say that we can expect this game to single handedly insight a revolution, but it is abundantly clear from our past that the first step to dealing with a porblem is to accept its existence.

If an individual becomes severely emotionally distraught from playing a card game advertised as having adult subject matter, then they are not at a point of healthy recognition or understanding of the issues and they probably need to learn some persepective along with a thicker skin. In censoring the cards, you are pretending that the issues don't exist. Part of being an adult is the ability to take subject matter and analyze it from a point of view grounded in rational thought, reason and logic. This means accepting humour for exaclty what it is: just a joke. Censorship implies a perspective grounded in fear, which has no place among the enlightenment virtues. For the rational mind, exposure is far more valuable than shelter or as Northrop Frye has taught us: education is the foundation of creative thought.

THANK you! Couldn't agree

THANK you! Couldn't agree more with everything you said.

Well Said

Great comment!

I understand everyones sense of humour is different on this game but really thought this was well said.

There is nothing wrong with changing the game to make it more enjoyable for you or the people you're playing with and I get where the writer is coming from but I know as a player myself it's always been more about the joke itself then anything. I don't understand the fact that if this game bothers some as much as it does why do they play? It's simple enough you could make your own game and rules as one user suggested.

Well said! High five :)

Well said! High five :)

Gallows humor

Hi Lillian, I'm the girlfriend of one of the creators. It's frustrating for me sometimes as someone who knows the guys pretty well to see them misconstrued as bros or douchebags when they're actually some of the most intelligent and thoughtful people I know- albeit with a love for poop jokes. While I understand why the rape jokes in particular are a trigger for some players, I urge you to reconsider your estimation of the game as bigoted. The example I frequently use is the Chappelle show. Dave Chappelle stopped doing it because he felt he was getting the wrong kind of laughs, and decided what he was doing was "socially irresponsible." But it wasn't his humor that was at fault, it was that a contingent of his audience was actually prejudiced and too dumb to understand that he was making fun of the absurdity of racial stereotypes rather than endorsing them. My boyfriend and his friends have no control over whether people who play their game are smart, socially conscious and appreciate gallows humor or are fucktards, and I think its important to distinguish between their product and whatever people may have been using it when you describe these upsetting experiences.

Thank you boyfriend for me,

Thank you boyfriend for me, and tell them all to keep up the good work. Misogyny and racism will only disappear when enlightened people succeed in making them a target of mockery.

Cards Against Humanity Creators Should Stop Kidding Themselves

Hi Phoebe. I think your point makes sense, especially when considering the Chappelle Show.

Though I must say, if the creators of Cards Against Humanity are as intelligent as you say they are, why would they produce a game that could be easily misconstrued or abused by many others?

My opinion - it's all about money.

Cards Against Humanity creates a framework for people to express their racial stereotypes, misogyny, etc. True, the savvy intelligent types (as you have said) might be making fun of these things and do not truly believe them. However, even the naysayers here have agreed that the game creates a "safe space" for this type of humor. And, to be honest, it does even more than that - it encourages saying these things in order to win.

To assert that the creators have no control over the types of people that play the game is a bit absurd. As I see it, they had a lot of control over this at the moment they designed the game. They willingly made the choice to include the words and phrases they did.

For instance, Auschwitz is an extremely loaded word for many people. I'm curious about why they included it? Do they find it or the things that happened there funny? Would they like to see others laugh about Auschwitz? Even more so, what is accomplished by laughing at it? Are we gaining, learning, or teaching something valuable? Or are we just cracking a quick joke by being insensitive to those who suffured there?

I know this all sounds a bit uptight and parental. And, seriously, I give the creators of Cards Against Humanity a lot of credit for having executed the game on their own without the backing of a larger corporation. It certainly speaks to their drive and ambition.

However, have you ever watched people play the game outside of the creators or your group of friends? I have. Most games don't speak to the enlightened, smart mentality you describe the creators hoping people would use to discern laughing at a racist comment from laughing with it.

You should encourage the creators to go onto this site and see how people play their game: http://pyz.socialgamer.net. Watch what they joke about in the chat. Look what they say about the combinations they play in the game. Some of it is funny. But, in my opinion, a lot of it is sad and speaks volumes about why people enjoy Cards Against Humanity. It seemingly brings out the worst in many people (some of which are certainly children), all for a good laugh.

This brings me back to the point I made earlier. I don't deny the creators are intelligent individuals. In fact, this game is on many levels proof of it. By giving people a framework to revel and laugh at some of our society's most disgusting and offensive elements, it offloads responsibility from the game maker and places it in the hands of the players. This is what makes it possible to make an argument that the creators have no control over what people do with their game.

It's a smart strategy for profiting off of something that most savvy companies wouldn't touch. And, to me, that is what makes it all the more disapointing. Whether the players of the game are laughing at or with stereotypes, the game makers profit. From that standpoint, there is no real incentive for them to improve it.

Anyway, I wish the creators of Cards Against Humanity all the best. I just hope that they can be a bit more transparent with how people are actually playing the game, and if this concerns them, take steps in future game version to mitigate it.

Misogynism? Are You Kidding Me?

Have all of those who have posted comments here even ever played this game? Or are they in typical fashion just responding to get heard? Listen I consider myself a feminist and I get it, but there is a difference between feminist and fatalist. Here's an example of the game referenced at Cards Against Humanity Examples:

So the black card was played and it read:
In its new tourism campaign, Detroit proudly proclaims that it has finally eliminated _______________________.

The responses were:
1-The harsh light of day.
2-The Gulags.
3-The economy.
4-Sexual humiliation.

This game isn't about bashing woman so much as it is about bashing everyone. It's unfair to throw out the misogyny card when clearly the game respects no one. My point; this game is an equal opportunity basher. It does not isolate any group or groups... it's simply raw and uncensored humor. Some people don't get the humor... that's alright, then don't buy the game. Me? I think it's hilarious, but then I'm one crazy "B". So what?

But why "Detroit"? The more I

But why "Detroit"? The more I play this game, the more racist I find it. Try that same joke with "Vancouver." I think those answers are still funny, but there is a certain racial tone to the joke that is lost. Never mind the way that it tempts you to play a card that says "black people" or something. Which is potentially a stereotype disrupting joke, laughing with, etc. Except that I picture all these white people sitting around in little groups around the country laughing hysterically about "a big, black dick" or "a sassy black woman" doing x, y, z. How can you laugh _with_ someone who's not there?

I actually used to enjoy this game, but now I've played enough times that I've seen enough of the deck to realize what a disproportionare share of the jokes are needlessly racialized. Like the commentator who said: I've been on the internet, I don't need a safe space for sexism, I feel like I've watched TV, I don't need a safe space for racial stereotypes.

I also think it's interesting that many posters say: it's fine, as long as I take out the x jokes. But x is different for each poster, whether it's fat jokes, date jokes, AIDS jokes or black jokes. It's not that I think it is impossible to joke about these things, it's just that bracketing racist/sexist/classist jokes as "for horrible people" before you say them is insufficient to make them insightful or usefully disruptive of stereotypes.

I've had so much fun playing this, but my experience has gradually shifted, and I can't play anymore, I don't think...

why Detroit? Because Detroit

why Detroit? Because Detroit is a mess. That is common knowledge. Its not a racist to comment on the city as a whole because last time I checked Detroit is pretty diverse, but in complete shambles as a city. The fact that it is a mess makes it a recognizable place to lampoon as a joke, whereas Vancouver would seem random and not as funny. It is not a nice joke, but that is the kind of thing you find in a not nice game. As far as addressing the biggest, blackest, dick, you may also want to address the white privilege card. These "white people in little groups laughing" you fail to remember they are also being forced to make fun of themselves because of this card, as well as in the case of the black people card. What makes white people more uncomfortable than laying bare their quiet, racist thoughts? This game outs us all as horrible people because underneath it all, we are a little bit horrible. I think it is a good game for this. But if you are one of those people who loves to be offended, then don't play it.

The whole point of CAH is to

The whole point of CAH is to be offensive and hilarious, and not for everyone! If it's not your cup of tea don't play it.

cards against humanity rules

I was one of the benefactors Kickstarter for this game, and I do not regret it one bit '. This game has brought hours of enjoyment to myself and guests and I have subsequently purchased additional copies as gifts for friends and family.

Played it last night

At pretty much most of our get-togethers, my group of friends seem to love playing this game. Perhaps the lefty in me wishes that I didn't enjoy it so much, but the A-hole in me loves it. That's the difference though, I can make sick / offensive jokes and still hold progressive views. The idea of re-mixing the game to make it safe is completely fine, it's an open source game. Feel free to dump rape jokes and aids jokes or whatever you find crosses your line. In fact, you can even make new cards which you do find funny - Go ahead, that's the point. Or don't play it at all and consider yourself above that sort of thing.

Sanitizing CAH and the Other

I've been thinking more and more about the ethics of this (admittedly fun) game, and the post & ensuing discussion here have been helpful.

I'd like to add one observation regarding this idea of "sanitizing" the deck, e.g. the rape survivor requests that the rape-themed cards are pulled. The key problem with the game is that it is inherently absolutely sanitized for the privileged class. The straight, white, fit, well-off cis male won't need a single card pulled, and the game works fine this way. It's admittedly difficult to take the dominant class down a with peg using zingers typical of CAH, but the game barely makes an attempt to do so. This is probably because the creators (eight pasty dudes) lack the perspective and/or depth to put themselves in the comedic crosshairs.

The fact that the game comes pre-sanitized for the assumed default human (you know, the one with ALL the privilege) is extremely telling. The game is only absolutely *for* that default human, and any type of other gets to be the butt of a few jokes. And if said other's skin is too thin, the cards can be removed, "sanitizing" the deck in a mind-bending "fix". What if the entire world were invited to your party instead of all your privileged friends? You'd have to remove every card. This is the underlying issue with the game, in my opinion. It absolutely caters to the non-Other and depends on mockery of the Other. An ethical version of this game is possible, and its creation would start with inclusion of some cards such as "getting rich selling safe racist jokes to white guys".

There literally is a WHITE

There literally is a WHITE PRIVLIDGE card so as to make pasty guys feel uncomfortable. I think the creators are reasonably self aware enough to lampoon themselves as well as everyone else.

There's also a

There's also a "heteronormativity" card, and others in the same vein.