The following is an interview with Eli Halpern, one of the many creators of Card Against Humanity, a self-described “party game for horrible people.” In this interview, Fanboy Comics’ Sam Rhodes talks with Halpern about how the hit game got its start, the various ways that you can acquire a copy, and when you can expect the gold-plated shark-hide edition to hit store shelves.
This interview was conducted on August 23, 2012.
Sam Rhodes, Fanboy Comics Creative Director: What inspired you to create Cards Against Humanity and how was the game developed?
Eli Halpern: The eight of us were friends in high school. During college, we would come home for winter break and meet up to play board games, but we couldn’t find a game that agreed with our sick senses of humor. (We were learning so many dirty words at college!) So, we came up with our own. In late 2008, we created Cards Against Humanity in preparation for a big, geeky New Year’s party we were throwing. We printed out all the cards in a Word doc and cut them out at Kinko’s. The game was a hit with our friends, so we kept going with it. When school was back in session, developing the game was a way for the eight of us to stay in touch. We turned the game into a free PDF and circulated it among our friends. As our horrible circle grew, we decided to try to fund a professional printing of the game through the recently founded Kickstarter. That worked out beyond our wildest dreams, and the rest is historical revisionism.
SR: Cards Against Humanity is described as “a party game for horrible people.” Can I assume that the people who created it are equally as horrible?
EH: We’re no more horrible than any other group of friends. Once, I didn’t tell a man when he dropped a $20 bill on the ground, but I wasn’t totally sure it was his, and he was kind of far ahead, and I think I had a bad knee . . .
SR: What are the game’s rules?
EH: Each player draws a hand of 10 White Cards. The Card Czar for the first turn draws a Black Card, which contains a question or fill-on-the-blank statement. He or she reads the Black Card aloud, and each other player selects the White Card in his/her hand that best answers the question or completes the sentence. The Card Czar shuffles the White Cards together, reads them aloud, and chooses the one that makes him laugh or cry hardest. After each round, the role of Card Czar passes on to the next person.
SR: In addition to being available for sale for $25, Cards Against Humanity is available for free under a Creative Commons License. Fans can also make their own set, which takes an hour and costs about $10. Why did you choose to make these options available?
EH: We released Cards Against Humanity as a free PDF before we ever sold hard copies of the game. We wanted to share our horrible creation with everyone, so we used the only means of distribution we could afford: the Internet. We created the game with a D.I.Y. spirit, and we want that spirit to live on. That said, we’re also happy to make the cards available in gold-plated shark-hide if that’s what people want.
SR: Do you have any other games in the works that we can look forward to?
EH: Nothing that we can announce. We did write a second expansion that’ll be out soon.
SR: How has fan reaction been to the game? Do you find the feedback helpful in developing ideas for future games?
EH: We get a lot of emails every day, and it’s great to read about the ways that people have been twisting Cards Against Humanity to their own sick ends (making up new cards, creating new house rules, etc). Play-testing new cards with friends and strangers is a really important part of our writing and revision process. We also have a Suggest-a-Card box on our website (cardsagainsthumanity.com). Every so often, it fills up with smut, and we drain it through a series of spreadsheets and Internet tubes.
SR: Being that we focus on all things “geek” at Fanboy Comics, would you care to geek out with us about your favorite games?
EH: For board games: Lately, we’ve been digging Alien Frontiers. Puerto Rico and Carcassonne always promise a good time. I never get sick of simpler games like Werewolf and Exquisite Corpse. For video games: The Mass Effect series, Fez, and the Fallout series.
SR: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Cards Against Humanity?
EH: Don’t play this immoral game. If you absolutely must find out more, check out the free PDF download on our website.