If you’ve played any card games at all with a group of adults then it’s highly likely that you have experienced what Cards Against Humanity has to offer.
In this game players compete against each other to come up with the most outrageous answers to various questions, and gain points based on which of the various alternatives is judged to be the funniest.
There’s no doubt that Cards Against Humanity works best with a group of relaxed and like-minded friends, and one of my most memorable gaming experiences comes from playing it.
I scored no points at all and came in last, but laughed long and hard at what my other players came up with, even if I cursed them for grabbing all the points.
What if you could capture the raucous fun of the original with two players?
Well, although it doesn’t end up as quite the same as the full experience it can be done, and I’ll be giving you some ideas in this article.
Cards Against Humanity is playable with two players with some adjustments to the rules although the revisions can change the feel of the game. The official way to play is to introduce a dummy player, but two players can also both provide the answers if they can agree about which one is funniest. Dan Wojciechowski’s variant keeps the original elements and adds in a new angle of outwitting your opponent.
If somehow you’ve never played Cards Against Humanity before then this video by The Dragon’s Tomb will teach you the rules in a few minutes, and it will also give you an idea of the kind of adult content that is on the cards.
Capturing the essence of Cards Against Humanity is tricky with two players, because you still want the funniest answer to win, but your opponent might deliberately choose a less funny answer on purpose to help their chances.
Our first suggestion deals with this really well and turns the game into something with a little bit of doublethink.
This variant is by the BGG user Dan Wojciechowski and works really well with just two players.
In this version of the rules players take turns to be the one posing the question (the Card Czar) and the one providing the answers, and the game is played to a pre-agreed points total.
The player who is asking the question reads one of the cards as in the normal game, but instead of picking just a single answer the answering player picks four possible responses and then assigns points values to them.
Dan suggests values of 1, 2, 4 and 7 but you could just as easily choose your own depending on how much weight you would like to give to getting things right – 1-1-2-3 is possible as well, or even a simple 1-2-3-4.
Whichever system you use is not particularly important, but the answering player gains the number of points assigned to the card that the judge chooses as the funniest answer.
The answering player then draws four cards to replace the ones they have just used, the roles are reversed and the next round is played until one player wins – just be sure to give both players an equal number of rounds.
This variant is particularly clever because it keeps the multiple answers of the original game, but if it does have a weakness it is that the system can be “gamed”.
What I mean by that is that the judge is supposed to choose the funniest answer, just as in a multiplayer game, but because this version is head-to-head they may instead try to choose the answer that gives their opponent the fewest points.
This sounds like a flaw in the design, but it actually does something quite special.
It succeeds in turning this version of Cards Against Humanity into a game of doublethink because rather than assigning points to the answer you think is funniest you instead end up assigning them to the answer you think your opponent is most likely to choose, and that can change from turn to turn.
At least, that’s what you end up doing if you think they are no longer rewarding your funniest answers…or do they just have a different sense of humour?
Of all the two-player versions of Cards Against Humanity this is easily my favourite as it keeps most of the elements of the game but also manages to add something new.
There’s actually a way to make the original game work with two just by using the guidelines in the official rules.
There is an option to add in an imaginary player called Rando Cardrissian to spice things up a little.
If you want to use Rando then you should play as follows:
- The Card Czar reads out the question or fill-in-the-blank phrase on the black card
- The second player chooses their funniest answer from their cards in hand and plays it
- They also take a random white card from the draw pile and play that card as well
- The Card Czar chooses the funniest answer of the two
- If that answer was the one chosen by the second player they gain a point, but if it was Rando’s answer then he gets the point
- Swap roles and continues until a player (or Rando) reaches a pre-agreed total number of points
This is a decent way to play and at least ensures that the Card Czar is choosing the funniest answer every time, rather than picking the one that will award their opponent fewest points.
It also ensures that the player choosing the answers tries to pick the funniest one for the Czar.
Although it doesn’t specify it in the official rules I would always recommend that Rando’s card is drawn after the player has chosen their answer card.
That way they will always have to try their best to choose the funniest answer as they won’t know what Rando might come up with.
And it should be obvious, but the Card Czar should look away until the cards are on the table so that they don’t know which is which and you’ll also need a marker if you don’t trust your opponent to be truthful about which card was theirs.
Mind you, if they are going to cheat at a game of Cards Against Humanity then it tells you a lot about them!
If you and your playing partner are honest and truthful types then this variant is the one for you.
In this version neither player asks the questions, but in each round a black question card is turned over from the deck and each player chooses the funniest answer from those they have in hand.
You then agree between you whose answer is the funniest and that player gets a point.
This does mean that both of you need to be honest about which card tickled you most, and is best suited to people who prefer playing for the sake of playing.
In other words, if you want to win at all costs then this variant is not for you.
My preferred way to play this variant is for each player to read their own answer out without first having shown it to the other person.
If you play it like this you can usually tell whose answer is the funniest, and you can keep the haggling and discussion down to a minimum.
This video shows Luke and Emma playing a game of Cards Against Humanity with these rules but, as with all plays of this game, some of the content is not for younger players or viewers.
One of the strange things about these adaptations is that the most interesting one is the variant that changes the original game most, turning it into something new.
Whether that is right for you is something you are only going to find out by playing it, and the same is true for the other variants.
While the official retake with Rando Cardrissian is decent there is also something to be said for simply playing the game head-to-head and drawing black cards from the top of the deck.
Thankfully board and card games are endlessly customisable, so you could easily flit between these three options for your two-player sessions of Cards Against Humanity, settle on the one you like most, or instead tweak any of them to make the experience better for you.
|An interesting way to play with two
|Changes the character of the game
|Puts a premium on being funny
|Both players could lose
|Head To Head Variant:
|You’re trying to outplay another human
|Needs both players to be honest about which answer they found most funny