Cards Against Humanity Clones have Ruined Party Games

Cards Against Humanity

There is no denying at this point Card’s Against Humanity has taken a mechanic (from apples to apples) and re-invented a mainstream line of party games to follow. Since 2011, It is insane how many new board games are coming out that feature the judge style gaming we see so familiar. Funny, the amount of popularity this game has received equaled to 10+ sequels and there very popular big box (bigger blacker box) to hold all your new cards (yes, cause they expect you to buy them.) Why? This game tires out very easily, cards get old and the game gets dull. Cards get used to the point of oblivion and new players wont catch on to inside jokes already associated with the cards. Not too mention–judges have their own sense of humor, it’s not necessarily how the card interacts with it’s goal but if it’s solely funny enough to make the judge laugh… You know, like apples to apples.

Seriously though, the inspiration this title has had in the industry has lead to an insane amount of developers using the card zar mechanic as a foundation. Take a look at my list of Party Games and more than half are judge styled. Is that bad? No, not at all–but what it boils down to is are these new games gimmicks rushing into a popular scene, or someone trying to give us something innovative to the game type.

Modern Judging

A little more on Cards Against Humanity, this was not a kick starter success as you see with most streamlined games. Kickstarter, an awesome crowdfunding site, got it’s board game appeal parallel to when we saw Exploding Kittens reach 1 million dollars. CAH actually found it’s footing AFTER it’s KS release. Meaning, Cards Against Humanity was the original concept and leader of this judge style mechanic. I know it took from apples to apples, but it brought the appeal of dirty adult card games and in this renaissance of modern gaming–That was what gave it it’s innovative push. This game picked up speed at just the right time. It reached homes across the world! (I think?) Mostly America.

But what about today, almost 10 years since the concept of CAH was a thing just getting it’s first or second draft and play tests. Why are we not seeing this type of success with judge style games now? Why is it when we go to The List of “Judging style” card games we only see the highest ranked games being CAH, Apples to Apples, and Dixit? Simple, everything else has already been done, the high ranked games we see now brought innovation to the table. Innovation only gets more complicated as similar games keep being developed. It’s a blessing and a curse to have judge style games. It’s so easy to develop a fairly decent and funny game, however, there a high chance it’s been done already. Twisting a component or a rule just is not cutting it anymore. Especially when you are using black and white cards with Helvetica Neue Bold font (which on the contrary, is a very minimal design that is hard to defend copycats from)


Over the years we have seen a decline in decent judge style card games and a hard time de-cluttering the party game content. Cards Against Humanity opened a door to a world of copycats and, while they were awesome for their time–have become exhausting not just with their own cards and game play because no one else is letting them rest. This game type is being reproduced and being given a new title, but it’s still cards Against Humanity–this time in a different dress.