Cards Against Humanity has exploded in popularity in the last few years. It started out as a small KickStarter project that raised about $15,000 and ended up being a best-selling and extremely popular party game that nearly everyone, including non-gamers, can easily recognize at the mere mention of its name. Cards Against Humanity’s reach and influence has spread like wildfire and has even been promoted by popular YouTubers such as PewDiePie, Jenna Marbles, and Wil Wheaton. On the surface, it’s quite easy to see why it has become such a wild success. It’s a fun and mindless game where participants often end up bursting with laughter at some of the ridiculous, shocking, and hilarious combinations that come up.
Unfortunately, the game is not for everybody. It’s crude, offensive, and off-color. The game’s humor often derives from shock value or touching on taboo and sensitive topics. (It is no wonder that Cards Against Humanity describes itself as a “party game for horrible people.”) The game features plenty of cards that poke fun at things like walking in on your parents having sex, poorly timed Holocaust jokes, dead strippers, and other equally offensive phrases. These can all be quite entertaining, but many people feel uncomfortable playing the Cards Against Humanity due to its often dark subject matter. The game’s creators have removed several cards such as “Passable Transvestites” and “Date Rape,” but have still cards with equally deplorable and awful phrases. It is also very uncomfortable to play around your family members and younger children.
But there are other problems with the game besides its questionable content. Even seasoned board gamer fans who love the raunchy humor still notice several faults in the game itself. The humor is often forced and there are only so many times you can laugh at the same card over and over. The game soon feels repetitive when you see the same cards over and over, which is probably why there are so many expansions around. It can also feel somewhat mindless as there are no real challenges or struggles when trying to decide what to play. Players can pretty much go on autopilot and disengage themselves from the game.
Perhaps you don’t really like Cards Against Humanity but would be willing to pay something similar. Or perhaps you are a fan of the game but have trouble playing it with your playgroup. Whatever your reasons are, there are a ton of similar party games that are totally family friendly and easy to introduce to new players. If you’re looking to take a break from Cards Against Humanity, try some of these fun alternatives:
1) Apples to Apples
This game could be considered to be the original Cards Against Humanity, but without the offensive nature. It’s a classic board game that involves creativity, matching, and thinking. Apples to Apples is very simple. One player acts as the judge and plays a red apple card (usually a noun) and each other players anonymously submit a green apple card (usually a verb). The judge who played the red apple card then chooses the description that, in their mind, best matches their card. For example, if the judge has a card that reads “Exhausting,” they might pick a card like “Paying Taxes” or “Skiing.”
It’s a very easy game to learn and encourages each person to think outside the box and try and get into the mind of the other players. The game can host up to ten players, making it a perfect game for a large group of people.
What Apples to Apples is for words, Dixit is for pictures. Each turn, a player takes the role of a storyteller. That person picks a card in his or her hand, provides a somewhat vague description for it, and places it face down on the table. Each other player picks a card in their hand that they think matches the description and also puts it face down on the table. Then, each player who isn’t the storyteller votes for a card that they think matches the description. If they vote for the storyteller’s card, both players get 3 points. If a player guesses another person’s card who isn’t the storyteller, that person gets 1 point. If everyone or nobody guesses the storyteller’s card, everyone except the storyteller gets 2 points.
As you can clearly see, the storyteller has to give a description that isn’t obvious enough that everyone can guess it, but also can’t give a description vague enough so that nobody can guess it. It also requires a lot of creativity on the other players’ parts because they have to match and guess with the best of their ability. The base set of Dixit and each expansion contains 84 beautifully illustrated cards with dream-like artwork. It is a great game to teach people creativity and outside box thinking.
Do you remember the stress of trying to look for a job and trying to explain to an interviewer about your skills and qualifications? Funemployed takes all those miserable experiences and makes them into a fun and funny party game. Each turn, one player takes the role of the interviewer trying to find someone to fit a certain position. The different types of careers are wild and varied ranging from psychics, astronauts, politicians, secret agents, and altar boys. Each other player takes the role of a job candidate attempting to explain why they are best for the job.
But, there is a catch. Each job applicant has four “qualification” cards that they must use to describe themselves. A few examples include “Nunchucks,” “Passive Aggressive,” “German Accent,” “Beard,” and even “X-Ray Vision.” How will you find a way to incorporate these silly traits into your job interview?
4) Snake Oil
A snake oil salesman is used to describe a con man or charlatan that is trying to sell something dubious or fake in order to make a profit. In Snake Oil, each player gets a chance at becoming their very own snake oil salesman and attempting to sell strange and wacky products for customers to buy.
The game goes like this: First, one person takes the role of a customer and picks a green card that describes their role. They could be a witch, cheerleader, dictator, or even the last man on Earth. Each other player takes the role of a salesman and must combine two of the purple cards in their hand to create an irresistible product for the customer to buy. The purple cards contain various nouns and objects such as broom, money, ear, TV, grenade, butter, alcohol, and so forth. The player who can create the best product wins the round.
Snake Oil is an excellent game because it has people thinking on their feet and finding unique and unusual ways to connect to otherwise unrelated items. Most of all, the game can be a blast with the right crowd and your party guests will be laughing in no time.
5) Say Anything
Want to get to know your friends better while having a good time? Then Say Anything is your kind of game. The purpose of the game is to try and get into the other player’s head and guess what they are thinking. Every turn starts with someone taking the role of the judge and asking an open-ended question. Some of these questions include “Who’s the best rock musician or band?,” “What would be the dumbest thing to say in a job interview?,” and “What should we learn in high school that we don’t?” Each other player writes down their answer on a whiteboard and then the answers are revealed for all to see. Then, the players get the chance to bet on which one the judge will pick. Players who guess correctly receive one point each.
Say Anything has won over thirty awards including the 2008 Golden Geek Awards for best party game and best family game. It’s excellent for situations where you have to introduce strangers to one another as they can easily break the ice and learn about other people.
Cards Against Humanity may be a fun and popular game, but it’s raunchy content does make it hard to bring to family gatherings. Hopefully, this list has persuaded you to look into alternative board games that are not only fun and funny, but also help teach children skills such as creativity and thinking. Each of these games has the potential to be the center of any party, so why not give them a shot?