Why Do So Many Gamers Seem To Dislike Cards Against Humanity?

We all have a copy. If you are a gamer the odds are you have seen, played, if not own a copy of, Cards Against Humanity. The crude card game has made its way into the mainstream, with people who don’t usually play seeking out a version of the game. It is controversial, it is rude, it makes you laugh and cry (with laughter), and yet most serious gamers reject it. The question I have is: why?

This is a question when that perplexed me when I first heard it. Cards Against seemed to be all inclusive. Heck, I’ve even played it once with my Grandmother (and I have the image of her saying “Shitting Out the Perfect Cumberland Sausage” etched into my long term memory forever), and my sister who rarely plays games. Why all this hate from gamers?

To be completely honest, I think it is for two reasons. One of these is valid, and can be considered a reason Cards Against Humanity should be struck off most lists. The other is less valid, and is probably a reason it should stay, for a short while at least. Let’s tackle these one at a time.

It’s Not A Very Good Game

Okay, that title may be a little bit sweeping but, generally speaking, Cards Against Humanity Is not a very good game. In order to be able to say this with confidence, we need to look at how a game is judged and by what else is on the market.

CAH (I’m writing this on my phone and getting it to recognise Cards Against Humanity as a phase is difficult, so I’ll just use CAH for now) has next to no mechanics, no gameplay, limited replayability, and seems like just a cash cow. It appears to be a game that is crude for the sake of being crude, and that, as a theme, has a limited shelf life. CAH seems to have a ‘best before’ date that is limiting to playing the game over and over again.

Ask a gamer or board game fan (doesn’t even need to be hardcore) what their favourite games are and you’ll get a selection. None, however, would mention Cards Against when there are so many other possibilities out there. Compare Cards Against to Catan, or Ticket to Ride, or Carcassone, or Agricola, or other entry level/gateway games and you soon realise what a non-game it really is.

If you ask a group of gamers, casual or serious, what they consider their best game is I would prepare to bet the majority would not even consider CAH. Instead they are more likely to mention names like Codenames, Spyfall, or Captain Sonar. Cards Against Humanity is just is never really thought of. The same with card games. Cards Against would never have a chance against Game of Thrones, Arkham Horror (or any LCG really), or even the likes of Munchkin.

It is a Very Good Game

This may seem like a contradiction, but CAH is not only a very bad game, but it is also a very good game. Cards Against Humanity has, in its own way, started a whole new era of popular games, bringing adults who never played games before to see games in a new light.

In a few posts now I have mentioned the concept of a gateway game, or an Entry Level game that gets someone addicted to gaming. Cards Against Humanity is that game for a whole host of new gamers. These are people who find they like the game and, through playing said game, they discover there is so much more out there. I know people who have gone from Cards Against into Catan (that being said, I also know people who went from Cards Against to Strip Poker, so maybe that isn’t the best example). I know people who have launched a love of gaming off the back of less than Cards Against, and that has to be admired.

Cards Against, through being so insane, managed to launch itself into the limelight. It has become mainstream which, for a fringe culture like gaming, can be uncomfortable. It used to be “Oh, you play board games? So you must love Monopoly?” but now has become “Oh, you play games? I play Cards Against Humanity as well!”

Actually, to be fair, both of those situations still happen. Monopoly just needs to crawl up in a hole and be buried alive with Ludo, Cluedo, and Stratego (I have nothing against the latter, but the rhyme was too good to miss).

It’s crude and works in exactly the same way South Park does. If it insults everyone then it kind of insults no-one. That being said, it will always be offensive, and if people find it offensive I definitely would not recommend the game.

Where We Stand?

This blog, Start Your Meeples, is ultimately a personal blog so I will end this post with a bit of a personal opinion on Cards Against Humanity because, hey, you’re reading this so I have your captive attention to bathe my own egomania. This is the verdict:

Cards Against Humanity is alright.

That’s it. It’s not great. It’s not amazing, but it’s not horrifically bad either. As someone who grew up on South Park, Family Guy, and Team America there is very little that can shock me from a crude perspective. That being said, Cards Against doesn’t have much else to it. It is overly simple, with no objective and no real reason to play once you know the cards well enough. We have played it around six times in total, and purchased one expansion, and it is – well – okay.

That being said, the first few times we played were amongst the funniest gaming moments of my life (up there with Scrawl). We have had some amazing moments with friends, with family, and with people we barely know. The company as well do some incredible work which cannot be ignored. They raise a lot of money for charity and do a lot of good. You can read about one of their campaigns here.

And I think that sums it up in a nutshell. Cards Against Humanity is not a game in the traditional sense, and should never be considered one. Instead, it is an experience. You may buy the game, but never play it more than once or twice. Don’t ruin it for yourself by getting to know the cards too well. Instead, play it and move on. Use it to launch yourself on a journey of card game discovery.

So what are your thoughts about Cards Against Humanity? I am sure there are a lot of gamers out there who love the game and a lot who hate it – let me know your thoughts below.

15 thoughts on “Why Do So Many Gamers Seem To Dislike Cards Against Humanity?

Add yours

  1. Personally, i liked CAH, but agree it has limited appeal. It goes down a storm with a fairly large group of people, with a couple of drinks and who all want to enjoy a game. Its not something i would suggest gets played in a casual gaming night.
    I also agree that it brought people into the board game spotlight that might not have done so in the past. Similar to Exploding Kittens and its ilk, very limited shelf life with a gameplay that can not develop.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I suspect a number of hardcore gamers dislike it as it is seen as “beneath them” due to its lack of mechanics (or any gameplay really). I think a lot of gamers look at it from the wrong perspective though. This is a game for adults that would otherwise be playing charades or an equally simplistic party game. This is for those who don’t want a set of rules and just want to have a laugh.

    I like playing board games rather a lot, but I know that a lot of my friends don’t, so something to play with them is a good thing. I personally enjoy playing it but recognise it as “a bad game” from a mechanical standpoint.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ultimately, the game is a clone of Apples to Apples, with the ever-so-popular dark/adult twist. I have no issue with the gameplay itself, but I think it and the wave of “crude humour” games it started are not really what I personally consider to be endearing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I would agree to the fact it’s not all endearing. Crude humour, like all humour, can be used well in games (Scrawl, for instance) when there is something more to the game. Otherwise, solely focusing on the crude humour can grow tiring fairly fast.

      Like

  4. I agree that as a game it is just alright, not great, not terrible. The reason I don’t like it anymore is simply due to overexposure. For a period of time it was the only game I could get my friends to play, and it continues to pop up at random gatherings. The first few games of it were hilarious, but loses its luster after awhile. Mostly I just wish something other than a crude joke generator could be the face of modern gaming.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If it brings people into the hobby, that has to be a good thing, but I agree with what you say. It is a shame that it is the “face of modern gaming” (as you put it). Why can’t it be a game like Catan or Lords of Waterdeep instead?

      Like

      1. Accessibility is why:
        Simple rules. Lack of a “nerdy” or “boring” theme like Waterdeep or Catan. Card games on this level are accessible and understandable by pretty much anyone. (as opposed to MTG and its Ilk). Plus people like having a few drinks and making rude jokes. It’s the thinnest of structure to allow (and indeed, encourage) that to happen and to break those social boundaries.
        It does it’s job, and does it well.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I enjoy it and will occasionally get a new expansion for it when the topics hit my fancy. The first few times we played it were the best as everyone was trying to feel each other out and see how offensive they should be with the “judge”. It’s trailed off a bit since then, although certain people will ask to play it.

    That said, I’ve found it only works with certain people and it works best as just something to do while we sit around, talk, and have a few drinks. It is a party game, nothing more than that, but sometimes that is all you need.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think the problem gamers (including me) have with CAH isn’t that it’s a bad game or a good game, it’s that it’s not really a game at all. Sure, there’s technically scoring and a “winner” but it’s not the point at all. It’s the “adult” version of standing up in 4th grade and yelling “Poop!” for laughs. I played CAH once or twice and there were some laughs but it’s not something I’ll ever play again.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: