IR Cards Against Humanity

One of the greatest party games out there right now is Cards Against Humanity (free to download or $25 for a set), an adult version of Apples to Apples.  In the game, you have two sets of cards—one set either gives adjectives or asks prompts, such as “The healing process began when I joined a support group for victims of __________’, or ‘My plan for world domination begins with _________’ or; the other gives possible answers.  In each round, one player (the ‘judge’) turns over the top prompt card and the others, who each have a hand of 8-10 cards, anonymously throw down a single card in response.  The judge then reveals all the possible answers and picks a winner, usually whichever is considered the cleverest or appeals to their sense of humor. Apples to Apples is a family game; CAH most certainly not, with many of the cards having decidedly adult themes.

While the cards themselves have limited utility in the classroom, the gameplay is something that could easily work, particularly as a review game for an exam.  Creating a set of cards would take some time, but once finished, the set could be used again and again. And although I use an IR example below, this could easily be done for any sub-field or discipline.

For example, one set of cards could be concepts or people from the discipline, and the other set descriptive terms. Perhaps the first card is Realism, and players could throw in cards such as ‘black boxes’ ‘interests defined as power’ ‘Morgenthau’ ‘Waltz’ and ‘unitary actors’.  You could allow for special ‘NOT’ cards that students could throw down with cards that do not match, in case they do not have any appropriate cards in their hand. So for the Realism example, maybe one student does not have any appropriate cards, but they do have ‘Kant’ in their hand; they could use then throw down ‘NOT Kant’.

This would have the best utility as a review game, as players would need to understand the concept to be able to throw good cards into the mix.  You could even have students create the game for you—each week you could ask assign them several concepts and have them write prompts or possible responses based on the material from that week, and then use the cards they designed in the review game.  Each semester you would then get more and more material to use for the game.

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