Inside the Cards Against Humanity Creative Process

A brief look into the Cards Against Humanity panel at PAX East and their creative process.

A brief look into the Cards Against Humanity panel at PAX East and their creative process.

Quite possibly one of the most difficult panels to get into at this year’s PAX East 2015 was the Cards Against Humanity panel. There was an unofficial pre-line, an official PAX sanctioned line for the panel that filled in 15 minutes, then an additional waiting-list line if the panel didn’t fill. Luckily for those who didn’t make it in, they were passing out Cards Against Humanity Reject Packs.

The select few (by few I mean a couple hundred) that were able to get into the panel was able to experience some fun, ridicule, and a peek into the creative processes that exists within Cards Against Humanity.

Handling emails, with style

One of the big things that usually gets Cards Against Humanity some attention is how they handle emails from customers. Some emails are legitimate, but many are obscure complaints. The team attempts to be quick, snarky, but not too informative. They’ve even gone so far as to publish zine about them entitled Your Emails Are Bad and You Should Feel Bad. During this panel, they brought in a few example emails and had attendees contribute to their responses and actually sent them.

(Note: This email address in the body of the email was not real, one person did a search for that email address and the Cards Against Humanity team thanked them for not wasting their time for changing the email address to protect people’s identities)

Designing a New Card

This is no easy task. There are many jokes that work, but will die after a couple times of use. The goal of every card in the game is to be long-lasting and not become dull. There were many people who gave out ideas for cards, but they were quickly dismissed and/or ridiculed. However, some ideas were able to get through and proved quite hilarious, even to the creators of the game. One such example was “Extreme pimple popping videos”. To put these card ideas to the test, they had to pull out 3 random cards from the game to see if they were funny. If it was still amusing to each randomly chosen card, it was considered a success.

In the end, the panel took quite a few twists and turns without much to flow between sections. They opened with some music, enjoyed some past nostalgia like an old Firefly commercial featuring Smash Mouth, read a few emails, and tossed around some card ideas.

Many laughs were had, and I finally got a first-hand experience as to why this panel fills up quicker than any other. I was even able to leave with a delicious cookie souvenir:

About the author

Ryan Mayle

Player, Photographer, Writer, and Caster for all things eSports.