Kayarath’s Adventures In Card Games 7: Oh The Humanity!

Posted on Apr 10 2015

Kayarath's Adventures In Card Gaming 7: Oh The Humanity!

Cards Against Humanity is the best/worst card game ever invented by man. How can you improve it/destroy more lives with it? Get convention guests to play it! That will surely lead to a fun time for all/people getting deeply offended. A few conventions have started hosting a panel where they gather some of their guests and have them play Cards Against Humanity in front of a live audience. One of them is Zenkaikon.

You know about Zenkaikon, right? It’s a convention that occurs in the Greater Philadelphia Area every year in the early spring. Born from the polymerization of a Sci-Fi and an anime convention, Zenkaikon’s has a diverse array of activities beyond anime. One activity you often see is people playing Cards Against Humanity.

You know about Cards Against Humanity, right? I could pad out my word count by explaining the rules for the game, but the game really isn’t about the rules. The real objective of the game is to produce the most ridiculous/offensive statements possible. The cards, randomization of said cards, and the rules are all designed with this purpose in mind. It has considerable appeal and The Fan should totally interview its creators one day.

Should I make a Yu-Gi-Oh joke or a Duel Masters joke?

Should I make a Yu-Gi-Oh joke or a Duel Masters joke?

For obvious reasons, the Guest Against Humanity panel received an eighteen plus label and thus, was scheduled for 10:30 at night. Some of the best panels a convention has are of the more adult variety, so be sure to grab those wristbands that identify you as over eighteen before the line grows hideous large. Despite having to compete with the ever popular Cosplay Dating Game, Guests Against Humanity drew a large enough crowd to make good use of the large panel room it was scheduled in.

There were several guests who were brave/stupid enough to play the game. First and foremost, are the Walker brothers. You know, Doug Walker who is the Nostalgia Critic, and his brother Rob who also makes funny video about pop culture. Joining them is voice actor Matthew Mercer. I could pad my word count even more by listing some of his numerous voice roles but I’ll just link to all the interviews we have with him. Rounding out the bunch are Thomas and Kambrea Pratt, the husband and wife team behind the webcomic Shadowbinders.

I enjoy meeting convention guests, and I enjoy playing Cards Against Humanity, yet I enjoy the combination far more then I do the singular components. It’s like a Voltron of black comedy. Me and everyone else in the room were laughing our butts off the whole time. Guests Against Humanity is a home run of a panel and will always be worth your time.

Fact: a person once offered a thousand dollar bounty for one of Doug Walker's personal effects.

Fact: a person once offered a thousand dollar bounty for one of Doug Walker’s personal effects.

The reasons for the panel’s success are many and varied. I think a good comparison would be to a Let’s Play. Since I’m watching Cards Against Humanity instead of playing it, I can focus on the hilarious results instead of trying to figure out which card to play. Another factor is the people who are playing the game. People like Doug Walker and Matthew Mercer are great performers who could make a game of Go Fish hilarious if they wanted to. Their quick wits and good comedic timing can transform a punch line from average to awesome.

Cards Against Humanity is a game all about punch lines. If gaming based comedy was baseball, Cards Against Humanity is the equivalent to a home run derby. It’s a game you can find at many conventions, and for good reason. It’s easy to understand and play, since it’s more about understanding another person’s sense of humor then knowing and exploiting complicated game rules.

This is the first time Zenkaikon hosted a Guest Against Humanity panel. (At least I think it is. If I’m wrong; oh well) Even though I was exhausted by a night full of convention madness, I did notice the tweaks Zenkaikon made to the game to improve the experience. For one, there was a staff person who handed out all the suggestion cards to the guests. Providing a dealer is a good idea since it allows the guests to focus more on entertaining the crowds instead of managing the game. I also believe that all the black cards were either preselected or custom made for the panel. While it does reduce the randomness, and therefore the comedic potential, of the game, it does allow the panel staff a degree of influence over the game. All of the black cards were related to anime in some way. Since Zenkaikon is a (largely but not completely) anime convention, this helps makes the subject matter more relevant to the audience. Zenkaikon deserves props for doing a bang up job, but I generally expect good things from those people.

Zenkaikon has it's own wallpapers.  How many cons can say that!?!

Zenkaikon has it’s own wallpapers. How many cons can say that!?!

If there’s a Guests Against Humanity panel in your local con, I suggest attending it. It will totally be worth your time. I assume Zenkaikon will do it again for their 10th anniversary celebration. It’s only eleven months away! Of course, you can always play Cards Against Humanity yourself if you have a few friends who don’t mind offensive statements. If you do, have fun playing it and may your “box” be the biggest and blackest of them all.

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