Recently, disgraced former Gamasutra editor Leigh Alexander launched an attack on Cards Against Humanity at her new site, Offworld. The piece was a blatant, transparent shill for her friends at Shut Up & Sit Down, a website that caters to people who like tabletop and board games. Indeed, even saying that Alexander launched the attack is giving her too much credit, seeing as it was Shut Up & Sit Down who did all of the heavy lifting.
You Want Some Cheese With That Whine?
The review begins with these boners:
The best way to describe Cards Against Humanity is “Lego for jokes”. It gives its players setups and punchlines, all ready to click together in one-step assembly. It’s easier than microwaving food or boil-in-the-bag rice. Almost no creativity is required, and because the powers of chance deal you your cards, it’s not as if you can even help the sort of combinations that present themselves, right? As well as creativity and effort, who even needs responsibility?….
…If you don’t know about how Cards Against Humanity works, it’s pretty simple. It’s also a game that continues for as long as you like and, potentially, even in the way you would like. This is the good bit about it. Its rules are intentionally vague regarding how long you play for and perhaps even how you decide the winner. It’s more important, its creators suggest, to play than to win.
I will give them some credit for this description of the game. You have two sets of cards, one black and one white. The black cards set up the scenario, and the white cards create the punchline. When it comes to creativity on the player’s part, who cares? Whenever I’ve played Cards Against Humanity, it was usually with a bunch of drunk college kids. The game is a social activity for people who like to drink at house parties. They don’t necessarily play to win, they play to have fun.
The word “responsibility” is a typical SJW buzzword one that will reappear throughout the review, like some kind of herpes sore of the mind. It reappears six times, to be exact. In the case of Matt, the reviewer who keeps blathering on about “responsibility,” he thinks that players need to be held accountable for making “horribly offensive” jokes. Again, who cares? Cards Against Humanity is a game that people play in the privacy of their own homes, far away from the watchful eyes of the Church Ladies of Sit Down & Shut Up.
We Are #NotYourShield
Here’s another excerpt from the review, this time from Paul:
But yeah, sure, beyond the limits of this system, I (obviously) think Cards Against Humanity is a bad game because its content isn’t funny. It encourages you to make jokes about minorities, people of colour, people with disabilities, and at times I was looking at cards that made me think this was comedy from the 1920s. Does this game really think it’s edgy with its jokes about Mexicans, Mormons or Jews? It’s not just that this will offend people, it’s that it’s so damn old.
It’s what mainstream white culture has done for generations and the framework which Cards Against Humanity deliberately provides is one that encourages it further. In an age of greater awareness, where more and more people push for social change, this game is winking at you and telling you it’s okay to indulge those backward prejudices. It’s just fun, it says. It’s ironic, it says. And for the white male designers of Cards Against Humanity, who are primarily selling it to white male players, a lot of these belittling, dehumanising concepts are just a bit of fun rather than real issues that affect them.
Okay, just stop right there. This reviewer is a (presumably) straight white male trying to speak for minorities, as SJWs typically do. It’s very presumptuous to think that you can speak for other groups of which you are not part. Unlike SJWs, Mormons can take a joke or two, and Mexicans and Jews enjoy the game as much as “angry, oppressive” white men do. How do I know that, you may ask? Because the last time I played the game, it was with Mexicans, Jews, blacks and women. None of those people were offended by the game, or if they were, they hid it well underneath all the riotous laughter.
Let’s see what else Paul has to say:
So it’s probably not difficult to see how Cards Against Humanity was never, ever going to sit well with any of us, with a site that, while it is run by yet more white men, nonetheless deeply wants to open board gaming up to everyone. Board gaming has become dominated by people like us, and the arrival of Cards Against Humanity hardly made it friendlier to any other kind of person. The explosion of Cards Against Humanity has, I think, been downright hurtful to board gaming’s progress.
I know some people remove a lot of cards from the game before they play it. I know some people play it to try it just once (as I had to). I know some people play it in a safe space, with an awareness of boundaries. But I can’t stand it. I feel sad when I see other people playing it. I know they only want to enjoy my hobby, but seeing another copy sold, opened or played is a miserable reminder of how the damn thing is everywhere.
Our hobby isn’t new, yet it’s now growing in a way it never was before. It’s reaching more people in more places and, please God, I don’t want Cards Against Humanity to be its ambassador. I don’t want more people’s first experience of modern board, card and table gaming to be a game that says “Oops! Isn’t all this stuff just so rude? Goodness, who knows what we’ll come up with next.”
Once again, we see the typical whining of the SJW. These people are so hung up on mainstream acceptance that they think the politically incorrect portions of their niche are what’s driving people away. Maybe people have other things they would rather do than play a board game. Maybe some people find board games too complicated. There are tons of reasons why board games will never go mainstream, and a few off-color jokes in a game that specifically prides itself on being misanthropic probably don’t even rank.
As for the staff at Shut Up & Sit Down, they need to stop being such babies. If it makes you feel sad to see other people play the game, then I can only imagine how tough life must be for you. As I mentioned earlier, Cards Against Humanity is for people in their early twenties having fun at parties, not the hardcore board gamer crowd.
If you enjoy a bit of politically incorrect fun with your friends, you can’t go wrong with Cards Against Humanity. I also suggest checking out the unofficial expansion, Crabs Adjust Humidity.