When it first released, my friends and I played the hell out of Cards Against Humanity (CAH). Many nights were spent literally falling out of chairs trying not to pee our selves with laughter at our friend’s card-constructed humor. While I don’t really play the game anymore, it cannot be denied that it is still a force to be reckoned with and not just because the game was fun. The company behind the game has taken the power of CAH’s popularity and wields it like a battleaxe for (mostly) good.
Back in 2010 Max Temkin and Ben Hantoot Kickstarted Cards Against Humanity It was the most basic of games; using the format of Apples to Apples, but inserting “adult” ideas and juvenile humor to produce a Madlibs kind of gameplay. CAH grew in popularity quickly as players laughed themselves silly crafting rude or surrealist jokes to amuse their friends. Even my own mother was stricken with the giggles when she first played and insisted we play through the entire deck (we had several expansions at this point so it took a while).
With a constant stream of expansion releases and a bunch of knock off expansions added to the mix, Cards Against Humanity has kept its players well entertained and love it or hate it, the game made an impact on tabletop games as well; inspiring a host of other games looking to cash in on shock value humor. What separates CAH from the rest of the chaff is dedication to improving the world around them. Yes, the company has funded some crazy stunts like digging a giant hole and then filling it back up again or selling fans boxes of pasteurized poop, but they have also done a lot of good as well including starting a good news podcast that helps battle some of the overwhelming bad news we are exposed to each day, supported teachers through Donor’s Choose, and purchased land in order to prevent the building of the border wall.
Alongside these acts Cards Against Humanity has also been contributing funds from their sales to different causes since 2012. Their first effort was with the “pay-what-you-want” Holiday Pack which raised over $70,000 in profits to the Wikimedia Foundation and since then they’ve gone on to support many worthy causes raised through the release of themed card packs and mystery mailings.
According to Jenn Bane, co-director of the Science Ambassador Scholarship at CAH, “Over the years we’ve given nearly $6 million to charities including Donor’s Choose, the EFF, the Wikimedia Foundation, EMILY’s List, and the Chicago Design Museum. We pick charities and organizations that speak to us personally but more importantly, stand to benefit from the Cards Against Humanity reach + platform. We choose organizations that we feel we can really directly help.”
Unsurprisingly, the Science Ambassador Scholarship is Jenn’s favorite project.
“Every year we give a full-tuition scholarship (and handful of smaller scholarships) to women in STEM. We just opened applications this month for another year. We’ve raised over $1 million so far and plan to keep providing scholarships as long as we can.”
Right now Cards Against Humanity is working on politics as well. At conventions they have been using their booth to provide con-goers a place to register to vote and recently they announced that they are giving away special card packs to help swing some districts in the upcoming mid-term election with their Cards Against Humanity Hacks the Election campaign. To get your free pack all you need to do is refer a friend from one of the six swing districts to receive the special Midterm Pack as well and a pamphlet that in CAH’s words: “uses logic and facts to manipulate your friend into voting for the Democrat.”
The state districts included in the promotion are: California 25th, Iowa 1st, Illinois 6th & 14th, Kansas 4th, and Texas 26th. If you don’t know anyone to send a pack to, you can still purchase a copy for $5 from the Hack the Election site and all all profits will go to Run For Something, an organization that recruits and trains progressive candidates across the country.
Its been a long, strange journey watching the different campaigns that Cards Against Humanity has held over the years and I can safely say I have no idea what they’ll come up with next. To learn more head on over to cardsagainsthumanityhackstheelection.com and also check out the Science Ambassador Scholarship at: ScienceAmbassadorScholarship.org
Image Credits: Cards Against Humanity