The Sunday Papers

Sundays are, let’s be honest, for doing the same thing we do every day. With one exception: that we first round up and celebrate the week’s best writing (and videos) about (mostly) videogames.

  • Videogame Tourism interviewed Mark Johnson, solo developer of our beloved Ultima Ratio Regum, an ambition procedurally generated 4X roguelike.
  • The most interesting thing for me is integrating the macro – nations, religions, cultures, history, etc – into the micro of individual people, houses, what people have in their homes, clothing styles, etc. It’s an awesome way to make this type of stuff not just lore or background like in so many games (I have a long-standing hatred of games that “tell their story” by just having you pick up little fragments of text or recordings or whatever – it seems so lazy) but rather something which is integral to the player’s success. I gave a talk on that last year!

  • Shut Up & Sit Down lit up the internet this week with their review/skewer of Cards Against Humanity.
  • I hate Cards Against Humanity because it’s shit.

    If it’s part of the “face” of modern board gaming, it’s also the pervert’s moustache and smug grin. Fittingly for a game so in love with stereotypes, Cards Against Humanity is every horrible stereotype of a nerd snickering in the corner. It is every person ready to lecture you on how humour must sometimes offend, boldly dragging their Auschwitz joke up to the moral high ground. It is the manifestation of an internet asshole.

    But that’s not why I hate it. I hate it because it’s shit.

  • I’m back on (or off?) the Football Manager wagon, lately, so here’s The Guardian re-publishing an article from The Blizzard (an excellent, quarterly football magazine) on whether or not Football Manager addiction is a medical condition.
  • Dr Yep. Some people are addicted to basic principles or linear relationships. You press ‘a’ and ‘b’ happens. You have a drink and you feel good. They like that simplicity. Then there are lot of people who like the complexities of other relationships. With this sort of game there are so many possibilities, so many permutations. You could literally play Football Manager a hundred times and have a different result every time. You are also obviously addicted to this kind of ‘deity’ analogy that you alluded to earlier. Your addiction is built around a ‘what happens if I do this to them?’ principle.

  • Cara continues to wind up her games writing. Her last column at Eurogamer is on the search for noir in videogames.
  • Like Jim Rossignol mentions, Teleglitch’s Quake-like corridors have a menacing relationship with light and dark; it simulates contemporary noir fiction’s film roots. The grating sounds coming from each muculent chamber make a disturbing hum. It’s a cynical and parochial environment: it’s the roguelike elements, the procedurality, the reorganisation of the space station environment each time you die that brittle claustrophobic, choking death, back-against-the-wall. It’s the terminals’ hard text narrative of human overreach, of coldness violating empathy, the way the game remixes itself to keep you constantly in fear of stalking that violent path. Though Bloodborne was considered, it’s Teleglitch that wins.

  • Fine work continues at Offworld. This week, Aevee Bee writes about bodies both virtual and physical.
  • There is a little secret here which perhaps you can notice: When the ugly monster’s limbs reach out to touch the small human’s body, there is about a tenth of a second—maybe less— where her body is invincible. It doesn’t even matter if she’s geometrically in harm’s way or not. She is safe because she timed it right, was perfect.

    See, even in this very hard game, there is something wonderful and fair: The game doesn’t care about the way bodies actually intersect. If your timing was correct, it agrees: “You were not touched.” Many games hide that tiny moment of invincibility within quick movement, and it feels so kind just knowing, no mater how bad you are, that if you could fit every moment of pain in that one tenth of a second you could be invincible for the rest of your life.

  • Also on Offworld, how edutainment failed author Aroon Karuna and why often regular games are more educational than their specifically designed counterparts.
  • The games I ended up learning the most from were the ones that made no attempt whatsoever to be educational. Psygnosis’ Lemmings series, launched in 1991, sees the tiny creatures doomed to traverse dangerous landscapes. The lemmings are completely helpless, and will cheerfully walk in a straight line to their demise if unattended. You guide them to the exit by making a safe passage through the environment — assigning some of them to build bridges and bash rocks, for example.

  • Gita Jackson writes at Paste about learning about sex through games, particularly Japanese erotic dating game True Love.
  • Eroge (a portmanteau of “erotic” and “game”) are hentai games. They’re porn. I had just barely had my first period but I’d spend my weekends and weeknights down in the basement, acting as a straight man trying to fuck a bunch of attractive women. Although True Love wasn’t a popular game in Japan, apparently it was a huge success in America, and remains a classic of the genre in the states. I had no idea when I was 11. I was just watching porn.

  • Erin Lee Carr, daughter of late journalist David Carr, wrote this about her father and about grieving in the internet age for good and for ill.
  • I walked into the hospital and found out: It was over. My dad had died. My stepmom and I went to his bedside, but before I could say goodbye, my phone started buzzing. Word had broken that my dad had passed away; someone had tweeted about his death. I was filled with rage. Couldn’t I have at least 30 seconds to comprehend what had happened without having to hear the Internet’s take? Couldn’t the loss of the most important man in my life be my own, if only for one quiet moment? My stepmom and I raced to call my sisters, reaching them, thankfully, before the news went viral. It felt unfair to rush through the most difficult words I would ever say just so I could beat the Internet.

  • Matt Lees has a good week. First up, Can We Keep Politics Out Of Gaming?
  • Then let him take your mind off politics – the UK election, specifically – with videogames.
  • Music this week is, oh, a bunch of things. Have this new Lullatone album about Spring though, because it’ll cheer you up.


    1. ribby says:

      “But that’s not why I hate it. I hate it because it’s shit.”

      After reading the review I can’t help but feel that the fact that it’s not a great game is not the reason they hate it

      • ribby says:

        I quite like Matt Lees because he’s a funny guy his Bloodborne videos and his part in Watch the Skies is proof of that. But god do his opinions irritate me sometimes!

      • NathanH says:

        I’s particularly weird that parts of it, particularly the Quinns section, is criticizing the game seemingly because it’s not a very good choice for a “board games night” or “board games club” or something like that. Well, obviously not. Of course this is a game that’s supposed to be played between good friends who know each other, usually after some alcohol.

        Indeed, it even starts working as a genuinely serious game when you know the players well enough to know what cards to feed them. For instance, one of my friends is a bit of a commie, so you save “Stalin” for her round. Another doesn’t really get the game at all, so you’re better off choosing the card that makes the most logical sense. I like whimsy, so whimsical choices are sensible in my round. Hardcore players can complicate this further by declaring that they will be attempting to choose as if they were another of your friends or something like that; for instance, by playing the role of someone who finds the game morally reprehensible.

      • Luringen says:

        Yeah, you don’t start hating a game with that kind of passion just because it’s bad.

      • Bladderfish says:

        Yeah, the whole thing comes across as there being something “behind” the whole review, which invalidates it’s whole point. I.E. when you’re sitting around a table playing a card game with friends, it’s all about whether the game is good, not bloody social issues that exist only in some people’s minds.

        Still, I’m sure some people love this sort of thing!

        • LogicalDash says:

          If you really think those issues are imaginary you’ve inadvertently demonstrated the authors’ point: that treating these subjects like trivial amusements makes people think of them as trivial things.

          • Reapy says:

            Bold statement to make. So by joking about something it isn’t important when it is real? By shooting someone in a game it means I’m more likely to shoot someone in real life? Humans can’t make distinctions between fiction and jokes vs reality?

            This is as bad as trigger warnings, something harmful to the people it is designed to protect as you enable avoidance for the few people that actually react to such things, and avoidance seems to be the worst thing for them.

            Really there is quite a frightening movement for censorship via sensitivity that is going on lately.

          • Flatley says:

            The greatest irony of statements like these (and all below) attacking CAH is that the game’s creator is a huge progressive, who is on the record as saying he wants the game to “punch up” rather than “punch down;” he worked on the first Obama campaign. Polygon did a big article on it a year or so ago.

            I actually dislike the game because it’s programmed to take shots at the right, and now here we are agreeing with each other! What a crazy world.

            • PoLLeNSKi says:

              I feel like the whole article was an unnecessary poke at people that are sensitive about their bigotishness (made that word up, wanna fight about it?).

              It was all said perfectly in the first illustration before they needed to type a single word. It’s just unfunny humour for drunk people to express their socially awkward views once their inhibitions are gone and the bar of what’s funny has been suitably lowered.

            • malkav11 says:

              I’ve never played CAH and probably never will, so I don’t have an opinion on it really. But intent does not automatically translate into reality, and CAH isn’t necessarily a progressive game just because its creator is progressive.

        • JamesPatton says:

          Um, but when you sit down to play, you’re playing with… people? Who might be the butt of some of these jokes?

          I don’t see how the review being opinionated makes it invalid. It’s a review. It’s someone’s opinion about something. That’s all a review is. Their opinion happened to be extremely negative, which makes me think: hm, maybe my opinion of this game would also be very negative?

          • pepperfez says:


          • joa says:

            Obviously one can exercise some sensitivity when playing with someone who might be the butt of one of the jokes.

            But really — the only people seemingly mortified by the game are the 3 straight and well to do white males on Shut Up & Sit Down, who are preaching to a choir of similarly privileged hipster white folks. Why not ask what people who may actually be the butt of one of those jokes think? Being able to laugh at oneself is a good thing in life. Being shielded by a brigade of oversensitive white liberals is not.

            • Gormongous says:

              I have at least a half-dozen friends among my immediately small circle who hate Cards Against Humanity and will never play it (again). For the majority of them, it’s not about being able to laugh at themselves. They’re all big-hearted people with a love of humor and light. It’s about being an abuse or rape survivor and having abuse and rape constitute a sufficiently sizable majority of the cards that it’s impossible one won’t come up and ruin their night with the memory of trauma.

              Cards Against Humanity is a shitty game. A lot of games, people own that they’re shit and keep playing them. It’s really only Cards Against Humanity, at least in my recent memory, that people push back at the idea that it’s shitty.

            • rabbit says:

              ^ well thought out & reasonable response.

              I like that not wanting to make jokes about or marginalise rape victims (amongst others) is a crime indicative of the evils of liberalism according to… people like the above.
              I wouldn’t call myself a liberal anyway … further left than that thank you very much. I would just call myself someone who isn’t caught in the seventeen-year-old mindset of ”stop being such a crybaby words can never hurt you so I’m gunna keep on saying them” anymore. I thought that was part of growing up. Fucking liberals huh?

        • Gap Gen says:

          Those some people being basically everyone apart from white male garbage babies.

        • Stellar Duck says:

          So, it’s about ethics in boar… no, you know what. I give up.

          If the idea that someone can’t dislike something is so alien to you that something has to be behind it, I give up.

          • Bladderfish says:

            Invalidate was too strong a word. Muddies the waters would be a better way of putting it. I like my reviews to be about the game. This review just tells me not to go there again.

            Each to their own, I guess.

            • Stellar Duck says:

              And the review was about the game.

              It told you why the authors didn’t like the game.

              That’s a review. It’s a critique of something, in this case, a card game. Of course it’s biased. We haven’t yet invented Review-O-Tron 5000.

      • Orija says:

        Yea, that was more a petulant whine than anything constructive.

        • Orija says:

          And what the fuck is a ‘pseudo-joke’? Man, the pace at which white people are finding shit to be offended by, it’s not gonna be long when the entire earth is one big fucking trigger warning for you all.

          • ribby says:

            They’re foolishly assuming offence and ignoring the fact that the game takes inappropriate shots at everyone.

            (And yes I realize that there’ll always be someone who might be offended, but that just makes it important to be very clear before you begin as to what sort of game this is)

          • pepperfez says:

            A pseudo-joke is something delivered to a roaring laughtrack on Chuck Lorre sitcoms. A line with the cadences of an actual joke and some transgressive words but, upon inspection, no other joke-like properties.

            • Frank says:

              Oh wow, I just looked up Chuck Lorre. Dude is behind so much shitty broadcast tv programming, he’s like a Seth MacFarlane of sitcoms.

            • pepperfez says:

              For probably (hopefully) the only time in my life, I’m going to say that’s unfair to Seth McFarlane: He seems to be a very talented performer with relentlessly crap taste, while Lorre is just a cynical hack with a sufficient understanding of Middle America’s baser instincts.

          • Zwebbie says:

            The best analogy that I have been able to come up with is that Cards Against Humanity is to jokes what Guitar Hero is to music. It sort of simulates the process and results, but just like you’re not actually making music in Guitar Hero, you’re not actually making jokes in Cards Against Humanity, just pushing some buttons.

            I generally simply don’t enjoy the kind of humour that Cards Against Humanity invokes, but the most fun I’ve had with it was trying to come up with ways that we could make our own deck of it out of references to our friends and our experiences — because at that point I was at least making up my own jokes.

      • PancakeWizard says:

        It’s a fundamental misunderstanding from Shut Up and Sit Down. So much concern about it representing their ‘hobby’, when it’s a party game. It’s not a ‘tabletop’ game. He may as well have been ranting about spin the bottle or beer pong.

        From what I’ve experienced, the game is only wheeled out for parties with friends/family you know will get a kick out of i – its not exclusive to ‘gamers’. The idea that someone will feel pressured into taking part or think ‘well if this is what the board-gaming hobby is like, fuck that!’ is equal parts hilarious and lacking in self-awareness.

        • James says:

          It is also a ‘I know I’m meant to be doing a maths paper but I’d rather have a laugh with my friends’ kind of game. Not the ‘let’s all sit around and play this nice little card game’ kind of game as Matt seems to treat it.

        • Joshua Northey says:

          This is very true, it is a party game for people drinking alcohol. I would guess his (and my) annoyance with it mostly stems from people trying to break it out during serious board game nights.

        • pepperfez says:

          But Spin the Bottle and beer pong at least give you an excuse to do fun transgressive things, namely kiss strangers or drink too much, rather than make aphasic rape jokes.

      • Joshua Northey says:

        For me honestly, Cards Against Humanity is one of those games that is fun maybe one, two, three times.

        But it quickly loses its charm and those friends who still find the same tired jokes hysterical after the 10th telling and still want to break it out for a 10th play might as well be moron aliens to me.

        Same with Apples to Apples. The just isn’t enough replayability because it is just the same thing over and over and over and the situations are not varied nearly enough.

      • Phasma Felis says:

        I think I could put together a thoughtful argument casting Cards Against Humanity as (potentially) legit satire rather than mere snickering shock value, but it’s really not worth it because, as Quinns says, the game is shit.

        You start with Apples to Apples, which is basically one small step up from opening the dictionary to two random words and then laughing at them. RISQUE TEAPOT? HILARIOUS.

        Cards Against Humanity is Apples to Apples with dirty words. The fact that this makes it (IMHO) noticeably more fun just illustrates how rock-bottom anti-fun the original was. This is a game concept so bankrupt that it makes sitting around yelling “BIG BLACK COCK” seem like an improvement.

      • kwyjibo says:

        It is shit. If you’re so slow witted you need a prompt card to make jokes, get the fuck out of my pub. Ed Miliband is funnier than this.

      • Baffle Mint says:

        Oh my god I’m so glad you said that.

        I’m finding progressive games criticism increasingly hard to read because the people who do it won’t own their opinions or think too hard about what the words they’re saying actually mean.

        Modern life is a litany of things you aren’t allowed; a monolithic spreadsheet of sober responsibilities that’s barely cross-referenced to the things we want or need. Escapism and rebellion are natural desires that none of us should ever feel ashamed to embrace, but we’re responsible for the outlets we choose.

        Okay, well, um, forgive me for asking, but what would be the more responsible outlet for offensive jokes than to broadcast them in such a way that they won’t be heard outside of a small group of friends who are psychologically prepared beforehand to hear them?

        Because to me that sounds like just about the most responsible outlet I can imagine, short of, I guess, therapy. I’m not sure what else you could do to make sure you aren’t letting your transgression out into the world where people might be accidentally exposed to it, save for just not saying it at all. And not saying it isn’t an outlet.. Not saying it isn’t embracing the escapism.

        And maybe that’s escapism that shouldn’t be embraced! Maybe!

        But there’s this ongoing tone throughout the whole article where they go “you shouldn’t be ashamed at your desire to transgress” and then take three paragraphs about how you totally should be ashamed to do it because it’s making gaming worse.

    2. Hedenius says:

      That Cards Against Humanity review was painful to read. Too much cringe.

      It’s like a parody of easily offended social justice warriors sprinkled with white guilt and trigger warnings. Except that it’s actually serious.

      The illustrations were cool though.

      • Grizzly says:

        I’ll just leave this here: link to

        • Vinraith says:

          That’s just a fantastic, and broadly useful, little comic.

      • Jeroen D Stout says:

        Given that you think that article is like a parody, your comment falls in line well.

      • JamesPatton says:

        Appropriately, your comment reads like a parody of an easily offended white dude.

        • Flatley says:

          This comment thread is a parody of what we could be doing with our lives aside from cutting each other down on a comment thread about a dumb card game about cutting each other down.

      • Jenks says:

        I’ve never heard of that site, but after reading a few paragraphs, someone should piss right in the guy’s face. What a piece of shit.

    3. pullthewires says:

      That CAH review is unbearable – looking down their noses at it because they find it boring and offensive humour just isn’t current enough for them.

      • andytheadequate says:

        It’s a Franky Boyle joke generator, with no skill or creativity involved and no actual game. Literally the only appeal of it is that it allows you to be offensive with friends, so if you don’t enjoy being told to say offensive things then of course you’re going to find it shit.

        I have a few friends who enjoy the game but I don’t see the appeal of it at all. Even if it’s funny the first time, surely there’s only so long you can be shocked by the same set of cards.

        • pullthewires says:

          I agree there’s basically no skill involved – it’s barely a game but most people I know get it out occasionally after a couple of drinks and seem to have enough fun. If you played it every day it would definitely get old quickly.

          • kwyjibo says:

            If after a few drinks, you still need CAH in order to crack jokes, you’re doing it wrong.

      • Grizzly says:

        When I think “Offensive humour” I think of an comedian like Alex Agnew who isn’t afraid to step on a few toes to make well constructed jokes. Contrast Cards against Humanity, whose sole purpose is just to be offensive.

        It’s the difference between someone stepping on your sandcastle as your sandcastle was between them and somoene who is coughing up seawater and someone who steps on your sandcastle because he likes stepping on people’s sandcastles. The former is carelessness because of a greater goal, the latter is being a dick. People have been dicks since the start of recorded history.

        • pullthewires says:

          You’re close to doing the same thing they are – looking down on people for finding the ‘wrong’ thing funny. Maybe people laugh at being a dick because it’s something so prevalent and easily recognised.

          • Grizzly says:

            I’m explaining why I don’t like the concept of being offensive for the sake of offending others. Cards Against Humanity enables that, yes, but you do it in an enviroment where (hopefully) people are cool with that. Like building sandcastles with the specific purpose of having them destroyed at the end.

            • pullthewires says:

              Sorry, I misread your post and got the wrong end of the stick.

        • PancakeWizard says:

          “Contrast Cards against Humanity, whose sole purpose is just to be offensive.”

          Then you’re playing it wrong. It works via a ‘judging the best joke’ system while being restricted by your current hand. It’s not merely offensive that works, otherwise it’d be played like solitaire. The combinations have to be cleverly constructed to form the best jokes and get the most laughs.

          • Grizzly says:

            Good point. However, there is a very specific kind of humour that Cards against Humanity wants it’s players to create. It specifically aims towards the horribleness, as it says both in the title and is obvious by the cards themselves: They are designed to be horrible. And it cherishes it, utilizing it as a selling point.

            That is what I mean when I say it’s “Offensive for the sake of being offensive”, as it clearly believes that offensiveness sells. And it does, but it’s not for me.

      • JamesPatton says:

        “offensive humour isn’t current enough for them”? Um, yes. And maybe that brand of humour is out of fashion because it belongs in the 1950s?

        • PancakeWizard says:

          When what’s offensive is a subjective and ever-moving goalpost, offensive humour is a) here to stay and b) not a metric we should be measuring the quality or morals of a person by.

        • Joshua Northey says:

          Yeah that Archer show is terrible and people hate it. Boo Archer!

      • Stellar Duck says:

        Surely you’re not offended. Just move on!

        • pepperfez says:

          This is different! He’s objectively offended on behalf of the Real Truth About Humor, not some silly made-up stuff about not being a shit to other human beings.

    4. Drakedude says:

      Please find or write an article about addictive gaming soon. I’m here because i have faith in this fucking medium, but i don’t touch most games with a bargepole, and regret it when i do. One more reason teenagers give up on it, and we’re stuck with marketing to the uninitiated.

      There are a few educational games around, and i think they deserve a column.

    5. Kitsunin says:

      I can definitely see how that Cards Against Humanity review would offend a lot of people, ironically. I think it was an entertaining read, but far from the most even of perspectives, which was, maybe, what made it entertaining?

      Personally, I have absolutely no issue with “offensive” humor, in a context where it is expected. That said, I think Cards Against Humanity’s popularity is actually something of an issue, because a lot of people do take issue with that sort of humor, or, at the least, it makes them uncomfortable. Because it’s such a staple of gaming, rather than being a subversive little thing to play with close friends, anyone who would rather not play it is going to seem like a stick in the mud for saying as much, rather than perfectly normal, as being made uncomfortable by such topics is a perfectly normal thing.

      • Haplo says:

        I appreciated this response. I feel it’s an important element of what the SUSD folks were trying to communicate.

        I feel like another important element is the sense that from SUSD’s (and for the sake of disclosure, my own) perspective, CAH really only has one joke, and that is ‘transgressive!’. The actual specific elements of the game aren’t important, because the joke is always “Thing people say we shouldn’t joke about/gets joked about”. As far as I can tell the only variation there involves removing cards when playing with people who might be or have reasons to react poorly to those specific cards. I don’t particularly find that engaging.

        In any case, you’re right about the article having the potential to offend the crowd who enjoy CAH. One doesn’t really have to go far to see that the reactions from those who like it are about as anyone expected. It’s not really a piece that’s going to change many opinions, nor is it really trying to; it is, more than anything, the SUSD guys letting everyone know where they stand due to their own experiences, etc etc. People who see CAH as boring and/or unpleasant will appreciate SUSD’s stance (like myself). People who believe CAH is better than they say, don’t believe that a concern, sensitivity or understanding with offensive issues is a good enough reason to spurn the game, or, on the extreme end, see circumstances like this as an opportunity to push back at people and movements that do, will probably only find it aggravating, as you predict.

        • Joshua Northey says:

          People who cannot laugh at themselves and their troubles are lost. If you are really getting offended by something playing CAH you need to loosen up a lot. Life is very difficult for people who takes themselves so seriously. I don’t even like the game, but I like people who are sticks in the mud even less.

          • Kitsunin says:

            Honestly I just don’t get this attitude that if you don’t enjoy a game about repetitively making/being made to create offensive jokes, you must have a stick up your ass. It’s strange that it’s so hard to see why that would maybe make some people feel less than at home.

            • Kitsunin says:

              Personally I think CAH is a fine enough game, I’ve had some good laughs with it. It really feels like junk food though. There’s no substance, and while it manages to raise some really good laughs sometimes, the humor more often just ends up as lolrandom “My car won’t start, better use Auschwitz instead” type nonsense, and there’s precious little true social interaction in it.

              At least I can play a game like Say Anything, or even Apples to Apples, and have just as many laughs while learning a bit about the people I’m playing with. And I don’t have to worry one little bit about someone feeling uncomfortable, unless we know one another well enough for racist joke to be appropriate. Being used as a staple within a social group, as it is with certain people I know, it raises the question: If it doesn’t need to be offensive, why is it?

            • PancakeWizard says:

              It’s not you not enjoying it that gives you a stick up your arse, it’s insisting that others shouldn’t be enjoying it either. A not-so-fine line that seems crossed regularly with the Great Offended.

            • pepperfez says:

              How dare anyone deny the fundamental human right to laugh at rape jokes!

            • ribby says:

              “What do you enjoy doing on weekends”

              “Date rape”

              Is not funny but not harmful

            • Kitsunin says:

              Okay, but what about when people want someone to play the game, when it makes them uncomfortable?

            • Distec says:

              They can either:

              A) Have somebody remove the offending cards, or pull them as they come up.
              B) Not play CAH.

              I don’t intend to for that to sound dismissive, but what other options are there? Some people are just not going to like CAH’s content, and they are free to not participate in it if they are uncomfortable or think the game’s stupid.

    6. Jackablade says:

      What Cards against Humanity offers a ruleset which can be picked up almost instantaneously. We played it at an end of year christmas picnic and the game gradually grew from 3 people to a sizeable ring of slightly drunken game developers as people wandered by, asked what was going on and got roped into playing. For all it’s ickyness, there’s not many games that I can think of that really offer that kind of compelling simplicity and practically infinite scalability.

      I’d be interested to hear of any other possibilities.

      • Talkie Toaster says:

        Apples to Apples is a lot like it, and I think works a bit better as there’s more scope for interpretation and playing to people’s senses of humour as the cardlist is broader.

        • Kitsunin says:

          I find it funny, I quite enjoyed Apples to Apples when I first played it. Then I saw Card Against Humanity and thought it sounded like a more fun, but also more adult version of it. Then I played CAH and quite liked it, it felt better. Then I played Apples with family and realized that, by contrast, it is so, so superior as a casual, social game.

          Even in terms of strategy, there’s often far more room to cater towards the judge’s personality and experiences, and you can learn a lot about people just by listening to them explain why the heck they chose the adjective they did. CAH just doesn’t have that at all. Maybe you can cater toward the sense of humor of the table, but there’s rarely anything to do but throw in the most absurd/horrible possibility, then all share something between an awkward giggle and a good laugh.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Also it’s funny.

        It’s OK.

        You can laugh at dead baby jokes. The only people who think you’re serious, or that all entertainment must be high-brow art, don’t matter.

        • Talkie Toaster says:

          Eh, but it’s funny in a Munchkin-kinda way. There’s not much actual creativity involved in making the jokes- there’s just a bunch baked into the deck and once you’ve seen them all enough they stop being funny. Humour is all about subverting expectations, after all.

          • Joshua Northey says:

            Munchkin is another game that after you have played it three times it never needs to be played again. It is just some pretty mediocre jokes, and once you have heard them the game is kind of random and terrible.

            • ribby says:

              Yep… But I would have enjoyed the review more if they’d first built up a strong case against the game and then maybe at the end given their own rather extreme stance on the game.

      • PancakeWizard says:

        Werewolf game. You can play it with a pen and paper, but you can also buy some nice cards for it.

        • Kitsunin says:

          One Night Ultimate Werewolf is always my go-to. It sounds complicated, but I’ve played it with strangers, family, 70-year olds, 13 year olds, people who only like games that can be played with playing cards, and people who “don’t like games”. In every case, they understood it near-completely after the first five minute round, and had an absolute blast.

          • Jackablade says:

            I didn’t quite get One Night Werewolf when I tried it. The guessing seems a little too arbitrary if there aren’t a few rounds to observe how things play out.

            • Kitsunin says:

              It helps a lot to have even a single person in your group who is very familiar with the game, and after the first few rounds to stop using villagers. In that case, just about every role gets some piece of information the werewolves don’t have. While, typically, no one person will know who the werewolves are (and if someone does, savvy werewolves will make such certainty seem suspect) you can usually corroborate everyone’s stories, and you’ll find someone’s story just doesn’t quite sound right.

              ONUM is not a deduction game, it is an induction game. You’re trying to find the most suspicious individual, not necessarily the one evidence points toward, because often the evidence simply isn’t there. That’s what makes it such a brilliant social experience. That and the 5 minute rounds which ensure frustration never sets in.

    7. Stellar Duck says:

      Why haven’t I gone to SU&SD before? WHY!?

      That’s a really good place. I’m dumb.

      And I loved that review of CAH.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        I wish we had an edit button.

        I need to add, after looking at the comments: the lot who get riled up about other people getting offended seem to get extraordinary offended by everything. I mean, holy shit!

        • Haplo says:

          The sort of people who get offended by other people getting offended tend to be the sort of people who don’t actually believe offended people should just get over it, because they get offended all the goddamn time, pretty much constantly. They want to play their games without feeling like they should have to think too hard about it (“it’s just a game” etc) or how it affects others. I mean, whatever. You do you, right? I find the lack of willingness to even engage with the idea about thinking a little deeper about it disappointing, though. I play the odd stuff that would have stuff I consider wrongheaded or unsettling in it, but acknowledging those traits and accepting them as actually unpleasant is an important part of that, I feel.

          In any case, fun stuff: if you’re new to SUSD, I can suggest a few things. You’ll want to look at their review for Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective, because that game is sweeeeeeeeeeeet.

          Also, you neeeeed to find their videos for Watch the Skies (there’s an old version and a new version). Watch the Skies is a Megagame involving 50 (first game) to 300 (second game) people, all grouped up into 5-10 people, and playing different games in a geopolitical simulation involving the threat of alien invasion. In -person-. It’s great.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            Consulting Detective has been on my wishlist since Idle Thumbs brought it up. Now that I’ve watched the review it’s even more something I want. I think I may order it when I next get some money out of my employer.

            As for taking offence, I just fine it hilarious that all these people will throw an absolute fit about how someone taking offence it the gravest outrage and they should just get on with it and not be so thin skinned. It reminds me of a certain movement of dolts currently shouting about games. They’re the thinnest skinned drama queens to ever put words to a web page or very close to it.

            Do I think CAH is tasteless? Fuck yes. I wouldn’t want to be caught dead playing it. Am I offended by it? Eh, maybe on an aesthetics level as I find that transgressive humour with no purpose is a waste of time. It seems to me that CAH is just about transgressing (which can be a great thing!) but it cares not at all about figuring out why it’s transgressing. That’s so boring!

            Though, yes, I’m also someone put off by some of the more racist tones of the game.

            • ribby says:

              It does have “white people” as one of the cards

            • Stellar Duck says:

              And that of course makes it all fine then. Because the power structures are completely equal.

              White people. I swear to god.

            • Synesthesia says:

              Well, that solves everything, then. I’ll go tell them to put the review down.


            • joa says:

              I don’t have a problem with people being offended by cards against humanity — indeed it is all offensive, and by design. I certainly wouldn’t want to be the butt of one of the jokes if I was playing this with friends, but at the same time I think it’s good to be able to laugh at yourself, and nothing good comes from taking aspects of yourself so seriously that any comment is offensive or hurtful.

            • Notebooked says:

              I have a few thoughts about CaH. Elaborating on them is tricky, but here goes.
              1) People are usually offended when something they like is slammed. This is common, and gets more common the more the slamming feels like a personal attack.
              2) Trivializing issues by having a lark can happen, but it’s difficult to see if people are doing this without seeing how people are approaching the game, and difficult to see this without seeing how they, specifically, are playing the game.
              3) Games that turn into races to beat each other to the Holocaust joke are brain-grindingly tiresome.
              4) There’s a sizeable difference between “laughing at the outgroup affected by this issue” and “laughing at how horrible it is that this issue affects people”, and a board game is about as good a medium for communicating this difference as a sack of interestingly-sized hammers. Maybe this means it shouldn’t attempt to.
              5) I know a set of people who would be considered to often be the butt of the joke playing Cards Against Humanity who enjoy it, mostly because they’re playing it with other people who would be considered to be the butt of the joke, which turns all the plays that joke about them into some ironic tongue-in-cheek act. (And this isn’t the “because they joke about EVERYONE!” thing, either.)
              6) “It jokes about everyone” as an ideological thing doesn’t quite work in practice, because some things that are played off as jokes are socially considered to be more true or feasible than others. It’s like saying “this robot is completely fair because it punches everyone”, ranging from heavyweight boxers to elderly pensioners. Some people will be more hurt by that than others, and “oversensitivity” doesn’t have to play into it.
              7) I have played Cards Against Humanity a few times. My experience was that it was lazy fun, with the tiresomeness of the ‘lazy’ gradually overriding the fun. Don’t mind a round if the company’s good, though.
              8) Things are difficult.
              9) People are, also, difficult. Usually moreso.
              10) There’s a fine line between speaking in consideration of people and speaking over people.
              11) There’s a slightly thicker line between taking a stand against oversensitivity and being an asshole to folks for no good reason.

            • pepperfez says:

              There’s no line between “taking a stand against oversensitivity” and being an asshole. They overlap entirely.

            • ribby says:

              Sorry, I didnt mean to imply that it’s okay because it only discriminates against white people…

              I’m not sure what point I was trying to convey…

            • Notebooked says:

              Pepperfez: What do you define as oversensitivity? What I’m thinking of here is how I’ve seen a queer man get a slew of angry comments for reclaiming a slur, using it gleefully on himself intending to rob it of its power, with people insisting he shouldn’t do this because it can probably hurt others.
              Continuing to do something that hurts people because you think they’re being “too sensitive” and see no reason for why it should hurt them is being an ass. Needling someone to stop doing something that’s not being applied to others because it can probably hurt people in a group you have given yourself the right to speak for? That seems like oversensitivity.
              And then there’s the matter of overlap in needs, like sufferers venting in ways that can harm others. (Sexual assault survivors drawing art involving sexual assault, to use an example I’ve seen drama pop up around.) Nothing for that but to establish you’re gonna do this thing and if you’re hurt by it don’t come close. (The dreaded “trigger warning”! Lock the doors, hide your children, it’s coming to inform you of the content you’re about to consume!)

      • Gap Gen says:

        CAH is a piece of shit and the people defending it in this thread are too.

        • Flatley says:

          Better a witty piece of shit than a dim bulb buffoon, good sir.

        • PancakeWizard says:

          How you’ve fallen since PCGF days Gap Gen…then again maybe not, I remember the name but not the personality much!

        • ribby says:

          It’s quite a dull game isn’t it??

          RPS’s very own Robert Florence didn’t have a problem with its offensiveness though, so are you including him in this?

          (You massive jerk?)

    8. Melody says:

      Todd Harper responded to the Aevee Bee article on videogame bodies Offworld with his own take on the same issue
      link to

      • blind_boy_grunt says:

        thanks for that.
        I must confess the original articles attitude towards game avatars is a bit foreign to me (“overidentifying” with the character, maybe?), which makes it interesting but i’m not sure if i actually understand the conclusion.
        (Unrelated and unsolicited but i’d like it if the universes aligned and more articles appeared on your site, i enjoy them)

    9. SuicideKing says:

      Really nice video by Matt Lees, thanks for sharing it, Graham.

      • Jamesworkshop says:

        link to

        pretty much the same thing

      • sicbanana says:

        This! I have to say I was very impressed about his reflections! Who dares to say that gaming can’t be integral in shaping our future culture? I second that notion.

    10. Prolar Bear says:

      I really liked the noir article by Cara. Thanks!

      But yes, we need a proper noir game. I liked LA Noire, it had potential but it was pretty conservative and predictable at the end of the day. And Max Payne needs to be powerless – less bullets, less bullet time.

      • pepperfez says:

        Noir is tough in games because it’s usually ultimately about powerlessness (“Forget it, Jake…” etc.), which is a gaming taboo.

      • Skabooga says:

        If we are using noir as being linked to powerlessness, some of the greats of the Golden Age of PC games were quite noir in theme if not in stylings. System Shock 2 and Thief come to mind: as much as an independent agent that you want to be, you are always caught between greater powers. Deus Ex, despite there being a strong genealogical connection between noir and cyberpunk, subverts the theme of helplessness in its last third.

        More recently, some of the Wadjet Eye adventure games have approached noir sylistically and thematically, but most of their invoking of noir comes through the narrative and not through the particular way in which you interact with the game, similar to Cara’s examples of The Wolf Among Us and LA Noire. Because I played it recently, and John mentioned it in his puzzle article, I thought Gunpoint did well in aligning with noir, both narratively (it wears its noir inspirations on its sleeve) and in the mechanics, for lack of equally succinct synonym.

    11. rabbit says:

      I can see no real reason for anyone to take such offense at that SUSD review other than that they’re fans of anti minority humour. The review being bloated or indirect or not brilliantly written just … I don’t buy that that’s the problem. Because 98% of the internet, and probably at least 75% of the review / article type websites on the internet, are poorly written and the internet has not been aflame with people criticizing all those other articles.

      So no, I’d assume it’s the fact that people don’t like the loonie lefties and the PC-gone-mad shit infringing their ability to laugh at feminist bitches and lol transgender people.

      • rabbit says:

        “I’m not racist, I have black friends”
        “How can I be sexist when I have a wife?”
        “I’m not being offensive, you’re just being sensitive”

      • PancakeWizard says:

        “I can see no real reason for anyone to take such offence at that SUSD review other than that they’re fans of anti minority humour”

        You realise how you sound, right? Just checking.

        “If you like this video game, you’re clearly a sexist/racist/homophobe”

        • yhancik says:

          That’s really not how it sounds.

          • onionman says:

            No, that’s exactly how it sounds: “If you like this game, your politics are wrong” (where “wrong” means racist/sexist/homophobic/etc.).

            • yhancik says:

              “I can see no real reason for anyone to take such offense at that SUSD review”

              such offense at that SUSD review

              There is a difference between “the people who like the game” and “those who get overly defensive to criticism of the game”…

            • onionman says:

              I don’t see any evidence of anyone being “offended” by the review. What I see is people pointing out that the critique of the game is largely SJW pablum.

              I’ve never played CAH and from the sound of it I don’t think I’d like it very much if I did. I also agree (having never played it) that the “humor” seems boring and lazy. But the SUSD review is also boring, lazy, and predictable.

            • Emeraude says:

              That’s one of the thing I don’t like about the newest crop of so-called social progressives, all too often when you’re down to it, the argument seems to boil down to: “I am a good person, because of what I believe, and if you do not agree you’re a bad/wrond person. Surely you don’t want tot be a bad/wrong person ?”… hints of a passive aggressive process of forceful subsumation of self in the group motivated only by the desire to be on the “good” side, which at the very least leaves me fairly uncomfortable whenever spotted.

              That’s not all there is to those people or what they do. But that part ? Can’t say I like it.

            • yhancik says:

              @Emeraude you’re right, it does happen, and way too often. But we can’t let fake-outrage-for-brownie-points prevent healthy, much needed discussions. We can’t stop progress because some tumblr-populists hijacked the idea of progress for likes and reblogs.

            • Emeraude says:


              One should never let the people get in the way of the ideas. For better and worse.

            • onionman says:

              I can’t tell if you’re serious or not, but yes we absolutely can and should let people get in the way of ideas. Not letting people get in the way of ideas is literally the path to Robespierre and the Reign of Terror.

              As for the other point, the word “progress” is doing a lot of work. What if someone defines “progress” differently from you or the SJWs? Who decides what is “progress” and what isn’t?

            • rabbit says:

              Thanks for the backup yhancik! I like that when you made the point that it was people who are offended by the review, NOT the game itself, that I was calling into question, Emeraude then just changed the subject and went for character attacks instead.

              “I am a good person, because of what I believe, and if you do not agree you’re a bad/wrond person. Surely you don’t want tot be a bad/wrong person ?”

              Being tolerant does not mean you have to tolerate other peoples’ intolerance.
              My point was simply that this review’s biggest crime seems to be that it takes enormous offense at the nature of the jokes. Yes, it also says the game itself is bad, but the main thrust of the point seems to be that the reviewer doesn’t like the jokes and finds them peurile and gross. That a vocal chunk of the internet has come out as an angry rabble over that makes me question what it is about him objecting to the jokes that offends them so much. And the obvious assumption is that it’s because they take that as an assault on their own humour or on the fact that they can’t stand the PC gone mad brigade stamping on their rights to gleefully marginalise people with impunity.

            • rabbit says:

              typo on puerile, my bad.

            • rabbit says:

              *stamping out their right to gleefully marginalise people with impunity.

              edit function I miss you so

            • rabbit says:

              Ah – apologies Emeraude I didn’t realise that it wasn’t you who’d written the original two responses and that that was your first comment on this thread. It was the other two who didn’t fancy coming back to support their snark with sense.

            • Emeraude says:


              That was the *joke* based on the fact there is two ways you can read the first sentence (the other way being “don’t let the fault of those people prevent you from taking their idea into consideration if it’s good”). Hence why I added the second one.
              But yeah, hard to tell when you don’t have a proper inter-personal context to establish this.

              And no so called “progress” is not necessarily a good thing. But it is one we can’t ignore.

              @ rabbit

              No offense taken.

            • wengart says:

              ” Being tolerant does not mean you have to tolerate other peoples’ intolerance.”

              Emeraude mirrors some of my worries and at this point we are just trusting you to be the arbiter of what is okay. Sure you don’t have to be tolerant of intolerance, but at some point what is “intolerant” or “tolerant” is just an arbitrary value.

            • rabbit says:

              What happened here is as that I questioned the motivation behind people who were objecting so strongly to the review. I then had the below comments leveled at me, both of which were completely irrelevant to what I was saying

              You realise how you sound, right? Just checking.

              “If you like this video game, you’re clearly a sexist/racist/q homophobe ”

              onionman says:
              No, that’s exactly how it sounds: “If you like this game, your politics are wrong” (where “wrong” means racist/sexist/homophobic/etc.).

              you seem to have ignored those two morons and only noticed my responding to said morons?

        • yhancik says:

          I wouldn’t rush to judgement on people who enjoy CAH.

          Liking problematic things is something that happens, especially easily when you don’t realise how problematic it is. Now if someone breaks it down to you, and your only reaction is 100% defensive, not acknowledging a single argument, possibly antagonising the critics as elitistic, killjoy SJW, then yes, we ought to wonder what you’re actually defending.

          That’s the difference.

        • Koozer says:

          Cards Against Humanity is 4chan: The Game.

      • Emeraude says:

        I have no problem with that review, but I certainly love “anti-minority humor”. Especially as part of a minority myself.

        I have never played CAH, because it really, really does look like a very poor game, and worse still a very poor platform for generating good jokes; but the subject matter ? No issue whatsoever.

        I just can’t imagine the reactions of people offended by CAH jokes would be hearing the trash talking between me and my friends*. AIDS in Africa jokes ? Check. Massacres in Cambodia jokes ? Check. Bullets being billed to the families of killed political prisoners in China jokes ? Check. Blood trafficking from orphan babies in Romania jokes ? Check.

        I think of course the difference is we’re not actually mocking one another when you’re down to it. We’re mocking what our perception is of the people we’re forced to live with. And in the end what we ALL are is bigoted, ignorant and mean (not all the time, thankfully). It all works both as second and third degree humor. Reminding one another of what we actually are is a good way to help keep ourselves in check I guess.

        Still, I’m certainly not going to have too munch fondness for people coming at us judgmentally for having a defense mechanism against the horrors of society that happens to not be politically correct enough for them.

        *: yes, I put “me” before “my friends”. Because, let’s face it, I’m the better person.

        • yhancik says:

          Well if I understand you well, it’s pretty different, because there’s an intent (mocking bigotry) that is – i suppose & hope – understood by your friends. I guess you wouldn’t use those jokes with anyone.
          I’d still say it’s a potential slippery slope, but I’ll have to trust you on this for now.

          There’s been a similar issue when everyone was talking about Charlie Hebdo a few months ago. Covers and drawings were taken out of their context and showed in the whole world as proofs that they were racists. For Charlie’s audience, though, it’s pretty clear that they’re mocking stereotypes & prejudices. It still doesn’t put them above criticism, though.

          The problem with CAH seems to be that it’s pretty much devoid of intent beyond “lol shocking”. That the very basic toolkit it provides can too easily be used for very first degree humour, possibly enabling the same kind of prejudice that’s been going on for centuries. Nothing in its design/content seems to help make something better out of it.

          • Emeraude says:

            I guess one way to put it is: you hear sentences whose meaning happens to be monstrously violent and shocking everyday, just by walking the streets or turning on a TV set, but because they’ve been articulated in a perfectly neutral tone, no one reacts.

            That really is one of the reasons for which I hate advertising, that constant manipulative dissociation of tone and content.

            Putting the violence back into the spotlight is healthy. You need to react. You need to be reminded this is the truth of it.
            Good jokes do that. Whoever they target is irrelevant as far as I’m concerned, as long as they put the truth back on track.

            Politeness – properness – is in some ways the very first form of censorship imposed by those who have or crave power and authority. And it is all the more efficient that it is self imposed, and that the people enforcing it can perfectly remain unaware that it is a tool of their domination as a class – it works all the better that way really.

            As a parenthesis, the thing about Charlie is that while I perfectly understand and to a point subscribe to their humor, truth is they had been hit or miss for the longest time. And sure the hits were home runs. But the misses, they were just too many of them.

      • Cederic says:

        I’m a massive fan of dark humour. Anti-minority humour can fall into that camp, as can anti-majority humour and anti-anythingthing else humour.

        Anybody that wants to rail against humour can fuck off. Me, I’ll continue browsing Sickipedia every day.

    12. Kollega says:

      For all the talk about “social justice warriors”, I feel Cards Against Humanity is just not a very good game. It invites you to staple together an offensive joke from several random parts, but guess what? “Stapling together a joke from random parts” means that it’s mostly blind luck whether it will be funny or not. And when an offensive joke isn’t funny, then it’s a bad joke. Not because it’s offensive, but because it isn’t funny.

      In conclusion: if you want to be witty, there are better ways to do it than just randomly bolt something offensive to a random feedline and call it a day. Anyone know any such games that actually encourage wit, as opposed to just requiring to throw things at the wall and see what sticks?

      • NR says:

        RPS’ Rab recommended ‘War of Words’ as an alternative to CAH in his column here. You may also like ‘Bucket of Dooom’, which is very reliant on wit (and very fun in my experience!), and which I’m pretty certain the SUSD guys (or someone similar) advocated over CAH some time ago.

        • Kollega says:

          Bucket of Doom actually sounds pretty fun, in that MacGyver/MacGruber/McPixel kind of way. But I’m not sure if I could actually play it well, for I am quite, quite terrible at improvised escapes from deadly situations. Although, if the time to cook up a plan was long enough, I’m sure I could do something passable.

      • ribby says:

        1. Few people would argue that it’s a great game…

        2. a lot of people disagree with SU&SDs arguments against it

        3. a lot of people seem have a problem with 2.

        4. a lot of people have a problem with 3.

    13. onionman says:

      I’ve never played CAH, so I can’t comment on that. What I will say is that I don’t have a problem with the idea that art is always going to be ideological in one direction or another. What I have a problem with is when artistic expression becomes entirely subordinate to the artist’s ideology (see: Socialist Realism). What I have an even bigger problem with is when it is simply assumed that the secular liberal/progressive perspective is the correct one, full stop.

      • joa says:

        I agree with this. Obviously politics are going to slip into creative works, consciously or not. The issue is when it becomes didactic — and the work suffers. (Some) people on this site almost seem to take the view that a ‘right-thinking’ political message can somehow make up for an otherwise lacking work. And conversely a game that has no conscious political message — one that simply reflects the environment in which it was made — is somehow worse off for that.

    14. frymaster says:

      My main issue with the complaints about CAH is it boils down to a bunch of creative people slagging off players who aren’t creative. I’m hopeless at improvisation in any facet of my life – this is the reason I can’t play tabletop RPGs in fact – and it just comes across as smug elitism from the “enlightened” laughing at the “unenlightened”, even when, like in this case, I’ve read some of their other stuff and know that to not be the case

      • Gap Gen says:

        It’s really not that. Stuff like Madlibs that CAH cribs from hires actual writers and is done in such a way that it’s designed to be funny when you put your own words in there. There was an article about it on Sunday Papers (I think?) a while back, and it’s pretty interesting. It doesn’t matter if you’re a comic genius when you do a Madlibs because it’s written to create comic potential out of anything. CAH is just random words pulled together, and if you took out the offensive words it’d just be porridge-bland dadaism. No-one laughs at the dadaist combinations in CAH.

        So when Quinns is saying it’s just shit, this is what he means – the garbage people who created CAH (and they are vile, worthless people if you google them) can’t write and instead substitute middle class naughtiness for actual jokes. Even if you ignore the arbitrary offensiveness, it’s not written in a way that generates good jokes out of this kind of formula, and the article goes on to suggest games that actually do this well.

        • onionman says:

          What if they substituted upper class naughtiness? Lower class naughtiness? Is épater le bourgeois still the measure of artistic import? Good grief.

        • joa says:

          Is that what it has come to — people who disagree with your politics are vile, worthless and ‘garbage’ people? Stop being so hateful and calm down, for your own good.

          • Wulfram says:

            One of the people involved has been accused of rape. It’s not just about politics.

            RPS talked about that here
            link to

            • joa says:

              So your entire judgement is based on an allegation that he is a rapist? Jesus christ.

            • joa says:

              Look I don’t want to get drawn too deep into defending some guy and a game neither of which I have any great love for. I just think this sort of tabloid style judgement of people who are accused of crimes gets nobody anywhere.

              Next someone’s going to say that the offensiveness of the card game proves he’s obviously the raping type or something equally asinine.

            • onionman says:

              You do realize, right, that the allegation came nearly ten years after the fact, comprised in its entirety a single nonspecific Facebook post, and that the accuser never provided any details–far less anything resembling evidence–to substantiate her claims?

              I understand that the UK does not share the USA’s principle of “innocent until proven guilty,” but being accused of a crime is not the same thing as having committed a crime.

            • onionman says:

              I agree completely, joa. I’m not defending Temkin per se, I’m just saying: a vague accusation of rape ten years after the fact does not make Temkin a rapist, and it is not evidence of a “rapey” mentality beneath the game.

            • Wulfram says:

              I haven’t made any judgements

            • pepperfez says:

              I think you would find that his having been accused of rape is responsible in large part for the vigorous defenses of his game. Gotta stand up for a fellow man oppressed by the feminist gestapo or whatever.

            • Geebs says:

              I really didn’t want to have anything to do with this because it’s really been the usual suspects ad-homming in a truly revolting and depressing fashion, but seriously, pepperfez:

              Is your argument that an allegation that a person has committed a crime is true because imaginary people who you have never met, but whose imaginary politics you think you wouldn’t have agreed with, have chosen to defend the work of that person (whose politics you don’t know but you honk are likely regressive) because they imagine that some imaginary group that they, in turn, don’t agree with are somehow involved? That’s the worst defence of something that’s verging on libellousl I’ve ever heard.

              Still, nothing 10 years won’t fix I guess.

            • wengart says:


              You really if someone accuses you of doing something it doesn’t mean it actually happened? Right?

              Wolfram robbed my house last night. Check it out! I just accused you.

            • pepperfez says:

              I didn’t say anything about the CAH. I said that the people rushing in to defend him — against the foul slander that people don’t like the game he made — are typically the same people who rush to defend Brad Wardell whenever he embarrasses himself of to defend the good name of fraternities whenever they do something heinous again. Also, geebs, that was totally incoherent, except your cute, “When you grow up you’ll think women lie about rape.” So, at least the important thing got across.

        • LionsPhil says:

          No-one laughs at the dadaist combinations in CAH.

          Get better friends.

    15. ribby says:

      I’m pleased to see the responds to the CaH review- there’s obviously a dichotomy in opinions, but on the whole, compared to the SU&SD comment section it’s

      a) less fully in agreement with the article
      b) more respectful of people’s opinions

      and it makes me feel very pleased with the well-rounded RPS community :)

      • ribby says:

        Well shit, that really didn’t last long….

        Now it’s turned into a nasty bitter shitstorm…

        I shouldn’t have checked back, I should have just quit when the comments were all pretty sensible or at least civil

    16. Premium User Badge

      Leucine says:

      I keep reading Aevee Bee’s article and keep coming away frustrated that I can’t quite penetrate its meaning. The start, yes, obviously as I’ve recently had to confront my own issues regarding my gender (and been lucky in having supportive friends) but the rest is… like watching one of Samuel Beckett’s plays; I so desperately want to understand what’s so vital about it but I infuriatingly can’t. I feel so stupid and that just makes me more frustrated and a little sad.

      I think I can find some meaning in it but also can’t help but feel I’m either taking it at something close to face-value or taking the wrong meaning. Maybe the late nights are just catching up.

      Still, it was an interesting read. Gave me much to think over which, maybe, is one of the main purposes of such articles.

    17. Emeraude says:

      I think the biggest issue about edutainment is that it keeps trying to teach you content when games are actually good at teaching you processes.

      • Joshua Northey says:

        This is an excellent point. Good edutainment is about process with a sprinkling of content, but most of it is the reverse. Game have definitely helped make me a very good accountant/financial manger, and efficient worker (I played a lot of RR Tycoon II for example as a young teenager). Sure I learned a lot about trains, but what was of real value is I learned about managing scarce resources and prioritizing the outputs that matter versus the ones that do not.

        If you gamify your worker environment mentally it is very easy to trounce your peers comparatively and get promoted.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Kerbal Space Program is the best edutainment game made in the past ten years.

    18. Wulfram says:

      It would be nice if links to videos were marked as such

    19. fauxC says:

      I’ve not been reading RPS comments for a while. When did they get filled up with prehistoric trolls?

      • Jeroen D Stout says:

        There’s been a force about recently that has scraped along the bottom of the pond and made the water murky in many areas of the internet. Sort-of like a backlash against all the steps forward made for a while. At least it is more easy to recognise the bigots, these days, they all use a certain type of language.

      • ribby says:

        What are you talking about?

        I was just saying how everyone was being fairly reasonable to eachother.. What trolls are these that you see?

        • fauxC says:

          There are a lot of GG-esque comments hiding behind a veil of overtly reasonable language. Those comments are troll comments regardless of the register they’re voiced in tbh.

          RPS used to be one of the few sites that I bothered reading the BTL comments for because it was a great community with generally progressive views (with some notable loud exceptions) and interesting conversations. From the looks of things that’s been destroyed by a GG influx, which I’m sure is not RPS’s fault, but is nevertheless super depressing.

          The community SUSD has now is a lot like the one that RPS used to have actually.

          • Reefpirate says:

            I think RPS comments have many of the same people in them… It’s more likely that not everyone landed on the same side of the fence that you apparently did.

          • PancakeWizard says:

            “There are a lot of GG-esque comments hiding behind a veil of overtly reasonable language.”

            Ah, ‘GG’: The new ‘misogyny/homophobic/transphobic’ type slur to be used to shame people you don’t like into being quiet. Give the groupthink a rest please.

            • pepperfez says:

              Yep, it’s the height of groupthink to point out all the similar shitposters coming in and posting the same shit under every article with a gender angle. It’s certainly every bit as bad as condemning racial and sexual slurs.

            • Distec says:

              Controversial subjects may have multiple conflicting opinions. Never before on the internet.

          • ribby says:

            full of morons who see things in black and white and won’t consider other people’s arguments?

            • ribby says:

              I mean sorry to be rude but these aren’t troll comments… These are people’s OPINIONS.

            • onionman says:

              Yes but didn’t you know? Having the wrong opinion means you are the moral equivalent of a death-threat-making would-be rapist.

          • pepperfez says:

            I find that using articles like this one to calibrate my block list (“Groupthink!” “Echo chamber!” cry the comments I will never see) makes future ones much more pleasant to read and discuss.

            • ribby says:

              Okay… Well you see like kind of a dick… There isn’t even a ‘gender-bias’ in this article so I’m not sure what your argument is…

            • onionman says:

              The “argument” (such as it is) is that anyone who points out the problems in SU&SD’s critique, and/or disagrees with the political stance implied or expressed in that critique, is the moral equivalent of the GamerGaters.

    20. Henson says:

      To me, the quality of a CAH game is entirely dependent on the people you’re playing with. Yes, it’s very easy to just pick the most ridiculous cards, to put ‘dicks’ and other phallic terms because you find ‘dicks’ funny. I despise this kind of referential humour, and people are not wrong to compare it to the Family Guy-style manatee jokes.

      But! With the right crowd, the game is less about tittering at all the offensive cards, and more on how to make great combinations. It’s supposed to be offensive, but I reject that it has to be the same jokes over and over. Yes, it doesn’t require much thought to play, but that’s the kind of game it is: meant for a relaxing evening with friends, not as a brain-busting creativity session. Easy to pick up. I think there’s room for that.

      • fauxC says:

        But Apples to Apples is a better and less offensive version of the same game, whilst CAH has somehow become the current face of gaming for non-board gamers. That kind of thing matters.

        • pepperfez says:


        • wengart says:

          I always had the feeling that Apples requires slightly more competency/buy in than CAH does. Which I think is where the mechanical draw is. One of the benefits of CAH is that the effort required is slight above “absolutely none”.

    21. jalf says:

      Wow, the gamergaters are out in force today. Because how dare SUSD have opinions about games? How dare they dislike lazy humour that relies on shock and offense.

      Yeah, it must be because they don’t know better. Because they’re unethical. Because the have an agenda.

      Or maybe they just… don’t like the game? is that such a hard concept to fathom?

      • LionsPhil says:

        The most important thing is that we all scream our heads off about how buttmad everyone else is.

      • PancakeWizard says:

        “Wow, the gamergaters are out in force today.”

        Here it is again. “Anyone who disagrees with me I must attempt to shame into being quiet”

        • pepperfez says:

          If describing their affiliation is shaming them, well…
          And “This racist/sexist/homophobic thing is not offensive you are the leftist censorship agenda” is exactly gophergag. These are the same complaints in the same faux-objective guise, the same “It’s just a game get over it” crap, so if people don’t like being identified with the group best known for making their arguments then they should get new arguments.

          • onionman says:

            I am not and have not ever been affiliated with GG. Nor, I imagine, are any of the other posters here who are critical of the tack some (including yourself) have taken on the discussion of Cards Against Humanity.

            This is a perennial problem with so-called “progressives”: the inability to comprehend that there are motivations other than ignorance/sexism/etc. for disagreeing with your political stance.

          • onionman says:

            Also, just for the record, one can agree with some particular argument of a “problematic” organization or ideology, without accepting that ideology wholesale or joining that organization. For example, advocating for labor ownership of the means of production (an important tenet of Distributism) does not in and of itself constitute sympathy for Communism, and Distributists are pointedly not Communists.

            In other words, just because someone in GG might make a particular argument doesn’t mean that anyone who makes that argument is automatically “down with” GG. That is a logical fallacy.

            • blind_boy_grunt says:

              and look at what happens when you make the incredibly benign observation that a game that is intended to be offensive and funny, might just be offensive and not funny: suddenly you are part of a liberal illuminati group.

              my alternative would be:
              oh doesn’t it hurt to be stereotyped? I have an idea: let’s put it on a card that makes it funny.

            • onionman says:


              Look, I agree with what you’re saying in the abstract, but I haven’t seen any of the people critiquing SUSD act that way. If anyone’s painting with an overly broad brush, it’s people like pepperfez (“There’s no line between “taking a stand against oversensitivity” and being an asshole. They overlap entirely.”) and fauxC (“There are a lot of GG-esque comments hiding behind a veil of overtly reasonable language. Those comments are troll comments regardless of the register they’re voiced in tbh.”)

              In fact, I haven’t seen anyone defending Cards Against Humanity on ideological grounds at all; I’m certainly not. What I’m seeing is people saying “Oh, this again?” because the SUSD article–written, let us remember, by three white dudes–was predictable and doctrinaire.

            • blind_boy_grunt says:

              “In fact, I haven’t seen anyone defending Cards Against Humanity on ideological grounds at all; I’m certainly not”
              so now i’m a bit lost. You agree with the article, just not that it should exist, not in that form, what?

              “but I haven’t seen any of the people critiquing SUSD act that way”

              -“the fact that it’s not a great game is not the reason they hate it”

              -“when you’re sitting around a table playing a card game with friends, it’s all about whether the game is good, not bloody social issues that exist only in some people’s minds.”

              -“Man, the pace at which white people are finding shit to be offended by, it’s not gonna be long when the entire earth is one big fucking trigger warning for you all.”

              -“I’ve never heard of that site, but after reading a few paragraphs, someone should piss right in the guy’s face. What a piece of shit.”

              (the last one i just included because i find it amusing)
              but we don’t have to go that far, look at you: “doctrinaire”. No they can’t like something because they don’t like it, it is the liberal agenda, come to take away your toy. A toy you yourself say no one wants or is able to defend.

            • ribby says:

              And apparently if you believe that offensive or not, humour is still humour, jokes are still jokes and you can express a horrendous viewpoint within a joke without actually believing that, you’re cool with harrassment?

            • onionman says:

              so now i’m a bit lost. You agree with the article, just not that it should exist, not in that form, what?

              I haven’t played CAH. I am not defending CAH. It may well be the case that CAH’s humor is offensive and unfunny. What I am saying is that SU&SD’s article is doctrinaire political correct liberal progressivism. It is liberal white men white-knight concern trolling on behalf of poor beleaguered minorities, in a more hyper-sensitive political environment (especially regarding humor) than Milan Kundera could ever have imagined.

              “the fact that it’s not a great game is not the reason they hate it”

              I think it’s pretty clear from the article that the fact that it’s not a great game is not why they hate it. I think it’s pretty clear from the article that they hate it because they think it is politically problematic. Any concerns about the game mechanics are secondary in both importance and word count. I think it’s also pretty clear from subtext that they hate the game because The Wrong Kind Of (White) People like it and/or think it is funny.

              “when you’re sitting around a table playing a card game with friends, it’s all about whether the game is good, not bloody social issues that exist only in some people’s minds.”

              What is wrong with this statement? Yes, some things can reasonably be described as social issues that exist only in some people’s minds. There is literally a movement devoted to the uprooting of “Gluten Privilege.” One of my close friends has a deathly dangerous peanut allergy, yet I don’t see him organizing a “Peanut Privilege Awareness” campaign.

              “Man, the pace at which white people are finding shit to be offended by, it’s not gonna be long when the entire earth is one big fucking trigger warning for you all.”

              Empirically, this is true. The list of phenomena added to “trigger warnings”–which, let us remember, are not only ineffective but counterproductive in the case of people who actually have clinical PTSD–expands by the day. There was literally on this site just a few months ago an article calling for “trigger warnings” for spiders. SPIDERS.

              “I’ve never heard of that site, but after reading a few paragraphs, someone should piss right in the guy’s face. What a piece of shit.”

              but we don’t have to go that far, look at you: “doctrinaire”. No they can’t like something because they don’t like it, it is the liberal agenda, come to take away your toy. A toy you yourself say no one wants or is able to defend.

              Again, I have never played CAH. I am not defending CAH, though I don’t think it’s indefensible, and would point you to other commenters here who are baffled by the idea that CAH games always necessarily devolve into what they say it devolves into. I am pointing out that there are reasons beyond sexism/homophobia/the progressive cause du jour to take issue with the liberal political agenda.

            • blind_boy_grunt says:

              you know that instead of arguing against my actual point you just underlined it, with two different colors, highlighted it, and than drew little hearts around it, right?

            • onionman says:

              If you say so.

              Or maybe instead of penning snarky one-liners you could respond substantively?

        • soulis6 says:

          What’s funny, is if you look at some of the profiles of the people defending CAH on the comments at SU&SD, you see the kind of stuff they post on other sites, and it takes almost not time too see why they’re so vehemently defending CAH. Lots of MRA shit, lots of antisemitism, homophobia, etc.

          • onionman says:

            That may be so, but I didn’t read the comments at SU&SD, and it seems an entirely unreasonable and unfair characterization of the comments here.

    22. Distec says:

      I thought the sour grapes over CAH was old news at this point. It’s a zero barrier to entry activity that anybody can join with a lot of dependence on your luck of the draw. It’s a party game where the fun comes from the participation itself, the delivery of the jokes, and typically getting a bit drunk. It’s like criticizing Mario Party; they are shit as “games”, but that’s usually not what they’re being played for. It does have a quick shelf life, but then I can’t imagine it being played anything more than sparingly.

      As for the content, I first learned about CAH from Rob Florence’s post about it on RPS last year, and I had the impression from that piece and others that it was some grotesque dark comedy game, purposefully built to shock and offend. So when I later heard from some friends that they wanted to do a run of it one night, I asked if they were aware of its reputation (ie. rape jokes, racism, etc). It was a relatively mixed group in terms of gender and ethnicity (some of who did have a history with some of weightier topics), and I didn’t want anybody getting put off.
      So I was kind of surprised when a few sessions yielded not only very few of the aforementioned taboos, but how often the funniest jokes were simply ridiculous, weird, or colorful rather than transgressive. This has consistently been the case the few times I’ve played it, with different people most of the time. With a group of friends it becomes a game of tailoring a joke to somebody else’s humor, not making some ultra-taboo stinkbomb. Some of these critics’ peers must have been unable to resist dead black Jew jokes.

      Last time I saw a deck of CAH it was being pulled out from behind a counter at some dingy dive bar. It’s pretty mainstream I think, so you can back up that concern that this is somehow painting board gaming in a bad light. The average person playing CAH isn’t going to link this to Catan or whatever other activity they wouldn’t possibly have the patience for.

    23. Sin Vega says:

      Oh gosh, I remember True Love. A non-terrible sex game (also, a rare one that actually had any hint of meaningful interaction or choice, too), brimming with secrets and oddities. Totally worth reading about.

    24. FilipMagnus says:

      Matt Lees once again delivered with very solid work. No surprise there

      I understand the CAH reviewers’ viewpoints. I don’t completely agree with them, but I can see where they’re coming from. It really isn’t much of a game, and certainly not what I’d call a “board game”. The lack of strategy, hell, the general lack of thought when playing it is fair evidence of that.

      Nothing wrong with enjoying it, though, even if it’s, as one of the reviewers pointed out, shite.

      • LionsPhil says:

        I’d class it more with 1,000 Blank White Cards: a social-creative thingy (although 1,000 BWC has even less structure to it).

        The impression I’m getting from a lot of the “I haven’t played it but I’m OFFENDED” crowd is that they think it’s just sitting there lining up madlibs then laughing at “bum” being written down on a piece of card. Maybe some people have had lousy games of it like that with their cardboard friends. But with people who jibe with the right sense of self-debasing humour you can end end up building up little narrative chains from the white cards the black card holder was handed, concluding with their chosen winner.

        “Why am I sticky? Well, you see, first it was…” etc.

      • souroldlemon says:

        Heard it was an excellent “gateway game”, played it once, it was shit boring in ways the reviewers summed up nicely, decided i don’t like gateway games.
        I didn’t find the offensiveness offensive. It just added to the boringness.

        • Distec says:

          What could CAH possibly ly be a gateway to?

          Thats part of what makes the review so odd. It’s not a board/table game inside their usual wheelhouse. So I can only guess they were spurred to wri’re it because of its “offensive” content.

          Fine, but it strikes me as fairly unnecessary.

          • Distec says:

            For my birthday I would like an edit button and a phone auto correct that isn’t poo.

          • Hanban says:

            The game has become very popular. Consequently when people want to have a fun boardgame activity it is one of the games recommended as a way to start.

          • wengart says:

            It is a very easy game to start with and gets a group of people primed for bigger games. It can easily turn a “drinking night” into a “board game night”.

            Play a few games of CAH and then as people get a bit bored you suggest something a bit more “serious”.

            • Distec says:

              Sure, I accept that it can be used as an opener to other board games. But as I stated elsewhere, I highly doubt it’s being approached from that angle for most players. Closest analogy I can think of is… pot, I guess? A lot of people like it, but that doesn’t correlate with any desire for other, harder drugs. The “gateway” description seems suspect since the appeal seems to end with pot, just like the appeal of “board games” seems to end with CAH for a lot people. Although it’s possible I just really dislike the term “gateway”.

              Granting different peer groups and activities, of course – I have never seen CAH trotted out as a board game, even if it arguably can be classified as one. It’s seen as party filler or a light pastime. When people are done with it, they go back socializing, smoking on the balcony, or doing whatever it was they were doing beforehand. I feel like the purpose of it being pulled out in most situations is being misread: I don’t witness any ramp-up interest in getting out some dice or what have you. CAH is appealing because it’s so simple and requires little thought, and the competitive angle is typically heavily downplayed. And when you’re sick of it, it’s easily packed up and taken away. Conversely, I’ve played other board games where a number of people invariably say “fuck it” and drop out halfway through a play. *Obviously all of the above is my limited perspective on when and how CAH is played.

              At the end of the day, if somebody is turned off of tabletop play because of a bad experience with CAH, they’re being foolish. But this seems to me a like a fringe scenario, and the critics’ concern over how this reflects on their hobby would be amusing in its misplacement if it wasn’t so sour.