Most of us know about the game phenomenon Cards Against Humanity (CAH), a game which describes itself as a ‘party game for horrible people’. Play is similar to ‘Apples to Apples’. The ‘Judge’ reads a Black card with a sentence or question which includes a blank and the other players use the cards in their hand to fill in the blank. Unlike Apples to Apples the cards are not clean and family friendly. Instead they border on offensive to absurd. For example a Black card might read “What’s fun until it gets weird? “, and one of the White cards is ‘Social Justice Warriors with Flamethrowers of Compassion”. You have to put some judgement and political correctness aside for a fun game, but it is hysterical to play.
The game itself might lead some to believe that the company just loves being as terrible as some of the cards read, but that is far from the truth. In fact, the folks behind CAH have actually used the proceeds and interest in this game to spread diversity and do a lot of social good. Let’s look at their Holiday Promos as an example. Each year the company does a promotional event around the Holidays where they send participants cards, letters, and other items each day for a set number of days. Each year has represented a different holiday including Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Christmas thus far. The packages you are sent have varied from a set of ‘Jewish’ themed cards one day for the Hanukkah promo, to two taste altering candies that make sour things taste sweet.
The best thing though is often the biggest prize of that year. Each year they’ve done this promotion the company has used funds to buy major items that they’ve ‘split’ between the participants. One year each participant was gifted one square foot of an Island in Maine, named Hawaii II, and were given a blank flag to claim their land. Participants, and the public, are welcome to visit this island which the company saved from development so long as they leave no trace and do not damage the land. Last year the company purchased a Picasso painting and left it’s fate in the hand of the participants who could either vote to cut the painting into pieces for each participant to be mailed or keep the painting intact and gift it to an art museum. Luckily the majority voted for the latter and the painting was saved. That’s right, in their making money for the holidays they’ve preserved not only natural habitat for years to come but also world famous art. I’d say that outweighs their ‘bullshit’ promo, where you could literally order a box of bullshit to be sent to someone of your wish (but they partnered with a local farmer to buy the poop so they still did a good deed there.) I’m certainly curious what this year’s gift might be.
The company goes well beyond these money making tactics with a social good component with their efforts to promotes the sciences. For the past two years they’ve given out a Science Ambassador Scholarship to a woman seeking to improve her education in the STEM field. This year’s scholarship fundraising has raised over $1,000,000 thus far, and the deadline for applying is December 11th. You can support their efforts by purchasing the science cards expansion pack. Further, they support local artists by offering free or low cost space in their co-op (or on their podcast radio station) for working, recording, and developing art in the Chicago area. They also own a shipping company which partners with Kickstarter companies to ship their goods once a campaign if fully funded. These efforts allow artists, inventors, developers and more who are just starting out to get ahead with minimal cost.
As a final added bonus, CAH also respects their players. They invite players to join in on the game development fun by allowing them to share card ideas at cons, conferences, events, and through other means. Ideas are reviewed by the developers and many player ideas have actually been incorporated into the game. Cards have also been removed from publication when there has been a public outcry over their content.
To me CAH is what a good company looks like, and what that company does for social good isn’t always obvious to an outsider. So, if you’re ever looking for an absurd card game to purchased check out CAH and consider this your recreational part in being a Social Justice Warrior with Flamethrowers of Compassion. It could be a great holiday gift!
Written by Georgianna Dolan-Reilly, LMSW
SJS Writer and Chief Editor