Party games, especially new card games, have been having something of a renaissance in recent years, and the crazes for playing them have often started on the internet. Crowdfunded games like Exploding Kittens, which features artwork by well-known internet comic artist The Oatmeal, have broken records and are enjoyed by people all over the world who want something weird and funny to play with friends. The Cyanide and Happiness card game is another good example of a popular party game launched in response to the popularity of a web comic strip.
Cards Against Humanity
The father of the modern party game trend, however, has to be Cards Against Humanity. A simple and flexible game, the rules of CAH don’t really matter, and neither does who wins, unless you are playing with someone abnormally competitive. The point of the game is the pure comedy of inserting things of different, and often massive levels of inappropriateness, into sentences with blanks.
While a lot of the amusement that comes from playing CAH is having a particularly dark, surreal or hilarious card and waiting for the perfect time to use it to send your friends into fits of laughter, there is more underlying the cultural phenomenon around the game and its creators than simply sniggering at the ‘biggest, blackest dick’ card.
Politics in CAH
CAH has, within its cards, never really strayed from bringing political figures into the mix of things that you can construct jokes about. There are cards bearing the names of present and past presidents of the USA, even if you buy the UK edition of the game. This replaces some cards relating to US athletes, scandals and celebrities with UK equivalents to make the game more welcoming to Brits who probably have no idea who Michael Vick is or why that might have anything to do with dogs. US politics has become something the eyes of the world have been on in the last year or so, and it seems that the founders of CAH are not big fans of the current government.
Subversive and Satirical
In-game anti-Republican sentiment is something their audience does tend to expect and enjoy, however even outside of the game, the people behind CAH have done some subversive things to try and satirize modern capitalism in their own unique way – for example by asking people to pay them to ‘build a really big hole’, or doing a black Friday promotion where they were selling ‘literally nothing’ for $5 (which tens of thousands of people bought, perhaps just to see what happened).
Perhaps their most widely publicized stunt, however, was buying a plot of land along the planned location of the US Mexico border wall, which they claimed would mean that the wall could not be built.
Politics in the past couple of years may have been making more and more of an appearance on your Facebook news feed and in your typical conversations, but it is interesting to see how now, even comedy card games for parties are finding a platform to be political!