Cards Against Humanity, which pairs questions with awful but funny answers, has sold nearly one million copies worldwide
In a world where everyone is trying to code the next successful app, an old-fashioned card game made up of outrageous punch lines is taking the world by storm.
Called Cards Against Humanity, the game is marketed as a party game for horrible people - because it is rigged for toe-curlingly awful and offensive jokes.
The rules are simple. In each round, one person is anointed the Card Czar and pulls a black card that contains a fill-in-the-blank phrase or straightforward question.
The rest of the players then have to each play one of the 10 white cards in their hand, with an answer that completes the black card. The person with the funniest combination wins a point. In the end, the person with the most points wins the game.
A black card prompt may have a question like "What are my parents hiding from me?"
Possible answers: "Poor life choices" or "Oops, you're adopted".
These are some of the milder Q&As. Some iconic answer cards include "A windmill full of corpses", "A mime having a stroke" and "Stephen Hawking talking dirty".
Offended? Don't be. After all, terrible, terrible people all around the world have embraced its political incorrectness since its launch in 2011.
The game has sold nearly one million copies, even though there is a free-to-download PDF version on its website. It also has 20,000 five-star customer reviews on Amazon.com, where it continues to hold the No. 1 position on the Toys and Games list - beating international brands such as Lego and Play Doh. The game costs US$25 (S$35) on Amazon.
In Singapore, toy stores and board game shops also report a steady demand.
Mr Ricky Munir, 58, owner of Toy Station at Serene Centre, says there is still a regular flow of people aged 20 to 40 who buy the game, even though it has been more than two years since he started stocking it.
He brings in 300 packs of the game every two to three months to keep up with the demand from his customers.
The seven board game cafes contacted by SundayLife! also say they keep multiple packs of the games for their customers.
Mind Cafe owner Alvin Tan notes that just before the Chinese New Year long weekend last month, customers were coming in nearly every day to pick up a pack.
"People are more open-minded these days," he says. "So the game is often played at family gatherings, even with older relatives."
Why the popularity? The eight American high-school buddies who created Cards Against Humanity say it is due to the dark humour. That is in part why the game has been dubbed the perfect ice-breaker for parties, because it allows people to be rude with impunity.
But the point is not always about giving the most controversial answers. In fact, some players get surprisingly philosophical about their strategy.
For fan and financial professional Marcus Yew, 32, the game is not about dropping the most shocking card.
"If you want to win, you've got to find an answer that's witty in the right context," he opines. "It's quite challenging and is always a different experience with different groups of people."
To keep the game interesting, the game's creators have released five 100-card expansion packs over the years and three 30-card special-edition packs, so players have new options for both questions and answers.
The most recent special-edition pack, released last month, was done in conjunction with the popular Netflix political drama series, House Of Cards, offering players 25 cards with statements about power and politics.
Cards Against Humanity may be a gleefully evil game but it also has the potential to inspire some seriously sweet gestures.
Project manager Kevin Choo, 30, took the game to the next level by customising it for his wedding proposal. He successfully popped the question to his girlfriend, business analyst Evelyn Chee, 32, with it.
He got the sentence "Today is a good day for _____ to agree to ______" printed on a black card. The answers "Evelyn" and "Say Yes!" were printed as possible answers on white cards.
The game was then carefully orchestrated so that Ms Chee ended up picking out Mr Choo's answer cards as the winning combination.
Suffice it to say, the couple say the card game now has a special place in their hearts and they will keep playing it.
Ms Chee adds: "Rest assured, we'll definitely be framing those cards in our new home."
This article was first published on March 15, 2015.
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