You see, the tagline on Cards Against Humanity’s box is a lie. The game isn’t for horrible people. It’s designed to reassure you that you aren’t a horrible person. That’s the whole point.
When I play a card combo like “What will always get you laid? Date rape,” I’m asking the women at the table to trust that I’m a good, decent guy who doesn’t actually commit date rape or find date rape funny. I’m asking them to get the joke, which is that obviously we all think rape is horrible and therefore me being flip about it is shockingly hilarious.
We spend the evening exchanging these tacit assurances. It functions as an icebreaker the same way trust-fall exercises do. Put us in a situation where we have no choice, and peer pressure means we generally will cave in and trust relative strangers with our physical safety. Cards Against Humanity is the social version of this, getting us to trust that the other players at the table are decent people who share our values.
But what if they’re not?
–Arthur Chu is no longer playing.
[Content warning for rape accusations made against CAH creator, Max Tremkin, as well as general CAH-style nastiness.]
I’ve played CAH exactly once, with a very old box set; the one that still had all the rape and transphobic cards in it. From memory, I came last, mostly because I don’t find “Seth MacFarlane-style” humour particularly, yanno. Humourous.
I was heartened to see some of the worst cards have been taken out of the game over the years, and was considering giving the game another go…