October 24, 2020

How to play Cards Against Humanity online for free with friends, family or on your own

Cards Against Humanity online
Cards Against Humanity online
(Image: © Cards Against Humanity / TechRadar)

It’s easy to play Cards Against Humanity online, without needing to buy a pack of cards or any fancy gadgetry. All it takes is a computer or smartphone, and a webcam if you want people to see your cringing face too.

If you’re stuck at home away from people, you might quickly run out of things to do – the best board games only last so long, listening to music with people online doesn’t keep feeling personal forever, and mobile games to play with family get old when you’re sick to death of your loved ones. 

It’s great then that everyone’s favorite nihilistic game, Cards Against Humanity, can be played online.

Cards Against Humanity is a popular card game (no points for guessing that) which challenges players to come up with funny answers to a question in order to win rounds.  You don’t need to be witty, or absurd, in order to win – this is a game where being inappropriate is the way to win.

But those packs you’re playing Cards Against Humanity with don’t need to be physical ones, and it’s very possible to play the game online with people on your computer or smartphone, or even play against an AI supercomputer that undoubtedly looks like South Park’s Funnybot. 

We’ll take you through a few options you’ve got. So set up your video call, get those friends or family ready, and boot up one of these websites. 

Cards Against Humanity on CAH Store
If you’ve seen all these options and still want to buy a physical set of Cards Against Humanity, because you like real objects or just want to support the creators, the game’s store has sets for you. In addition its extra boxes with 300 cards, or smaller themed expansions with 30 cards, are all available too.
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How to play Cards Against Humanity online: your three options

  1. Playingcards.io: it’s simple to set up, but also a little simplistic in play
  2. Pretend You’re Xyzzx: this is more complicated to organize, but all the expansions are here and you can fit more players
  3. Cards Against Humanity Labs: a single-player experience testing future cards out.
  4. All Bad Cards: a new Cards Against Humanity site that seems very reliable.
  5. Just printing the cards out yourself: don’t rely on tech.

How to play Cards Against Humanity Online: our guides

(Image credit: PlayingCards)

Option 1: Playingcards.io

The simplest option

Players: 1-6 | Expansions: None

You can see what others are doing
No expansions

If you just want to jump into a game of Cards Against Humanity online with a few friends, we’d recommend this option as it’s the simplest, although there are no expansions and the software is… well, simple.

To use it, head to playingcards.io, head down to ‘Remote Insensitivity’ and click it. (We know, this isn’t the name of the game you were expecting to play, we’ll get to that). Then click ‘Start Game’,  share that link with your co-carders so they can jump in too and select ‘Enter Game’.

Now you’ve got a digital card board, with black and white cards at the top (with discard piles), space to play white cards in the middle, winning piles for your black cards to the left and right, and a large white box at the bottom. This white box is your private area, as no-one else can see cards here, while they can everywhere else.

The computer isn’t going to play the game for you, and in playing cards you have to deal, move cards about, and discard by yourself. This recreates the feel of playing it in real life, but it can be a bit of a nuisance that the game isn’t automated for you. 

It’s possible to see where your co-carders’ mouses or fingers are too (as this works whether you’re playing on computer or smartphone, and the players can be on either), so you can see who’s dealing or if someone is trying to peek at cards you’ve played.

So why are you playing ‘Remote Insensitivity’ instead of ‘Cards Against Humanity’? Well, we’ll quote the website itself from a tweet on the matter.  “In order to comply with the CAH trademark, we’re substituting the game with “Remote Insensitivity”. It has all the same cards thanks to the CAH card text being licensed under Creative Commons”. So this is still a valid way of playing Cards Against Humanity.

Play: head to this website 

(Image credit: Pretend You’re Xyzzy)

Option 2: Pretend You’re Xyzzy

A more complicated but expansive alternative

Players: 3-20 | Expansions: All

All the expansions
Pretty complicated to set up

There are some limitations on the previous entry that this option fixes: namely, you can fit far, far more people in a game, and also you can use any of the numerous expansions should you wish.

Pretend You’re Xyzzy is a version of cards against humanity that may not look great, but lends itself to a better experience if you want depth of play. Head to the website, find yourself a unique username, click ‘Create Game’ in the top left corner,  share your URL to your friends so they can join too, and while you wait customize the options you want to play.

When enough people have joined, you can kick off and play that game with as many expansions and extra rules as you like, like a time multiplier or points limit. You can also let people be spectators, and watch without playing.

Pretend You’re Xyzzy has a chat log so you don’t actually need to be on a video call to play, and you can set a password if you don’t want certain friends joining. However, the UI doesn’t exactly look as pretty as the alternatives on this list.

Play: head over to this website 

(Image credit: Cards Against Humanity)

Option 3: Cards Against Humanity Lab

Play alone to help the game

Players: One | Expansions: Just future cards

Your online friend is a computer
New cards

Cards Against Humanity has its own way to play online, of sorts, but it’s not exactly a social experience. 

CAH Lab is an AI that plays you a black card, and gives you a selection of white cards. You have to choose the funniest, or proclaim that none are funny, and keep playing. The point of this is not for you to have fun, but for the AI to learn which cards are best, but it’s still a pretty enjoyable experience if no-one’s around to play.

The CAH AI can come up with some pretty spectacular choices, and it can be familiar to anyone who plays the base game with the ‘Rando Cardissian’ rule, which involves playing an extra white card each turn on behalf of a ghostly extra.

Lots of the cards that you find in the CAH Lab are ones that aren’t actually in the game packs. This can give you an insight into future expansions, and can be refreshing when games with the base pack quickly become routine. Some of them are… less than funny though.

Play: head over to this website

(Image credit: All Bad Cards)

Option 4: All Bad Cards

A new contender

Players: ? | Expansions: ?

Reliable interface
No instructions for newbies

While the prior entries on this list are long-standing sites, All Bad Cards was created for all the people looking for online versions of Cards Against Humanity during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The game is created by member of Bungie’s team (developers of Halo and Destiny) and feels a little smoother and easier to use than the prior entries of this list. The game is more automated too, and you don’t have to drag the cards around yourself, making it better for people who aren’t so tech-savvy.

It’s not entirely clear if expansions are included in the game (maybe people who know which cards are part of the expansions would know), or the max number of players, but unlike some of the other entries on this list you can play it with two people if you just want to mess about with funny combinations.

Play: head over to this website.

Cards Against Humanity

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Option 5: Use the internet to print off the cards

Old school style

Players: As many as you want | Expansions: None

You don’t need to use a computer
Killing the environment

If a computer or smartphone is something you use only begrudgingly, you don’t need to play a whole game of Cards Against Humanity on it if you don’t want, as you can actually print off the cards from the game’s website.

If you head to cardsagainsthumanity.com one of the top options is to view a PDF of all the cards. Simply open this, print if off (check out this guide if you need to buy a printer) and cut the sheet into the cards. The Cards Against Humanity Family Edition is also available this way.

Only the base game is available to print off, so if you want expansions you’re going to have to buy them, and of course printing out loads of paper isn’t exactly eco-friendly, so perhaps this is better as a last recourse if computers aren’t for you.

Play: head over to this website.

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