Cards Against Humanity gave their fans nothing for Black Friday this year. More specifically, they sold their fans nothing for $5 a person. It was quite the profitable venture for them, too…they earned $71K with their blow-out sale, giving the company’s non-founding members a well-deserved holiday bonus. And they’ll have earned it, after the logistic nightmare they’ve endured preparing for another year of Cards Against Humanity’s holiday bullshit.
At this point, Cards Against Humanity asking their nearest and dearest fans to give them money in exchange for a series of random gifts (and puzzles) over the holiday season has become a tradition. In 2013, the company embraced their Christmas cheer with 12 Days of Holiday Bullshit, sending 100K fans everything from lumps of coal to personalized Cards Against Humanity Cards. In 2014 the holiday of choice shifted to the Ten Days or Whatever of Kwanzaa, bringing an expanded list of 150K fans good tidings, miracle berries, and rights to a 1×1 square plot on an island in Maine. This year, it’s all about Eight Sensible Gifts, embracing their practicality and Hanukkah cheer.
With the first few gifts rolling in, it looks like Cards Against Humanity is once again embracing their reputation as a game for horrible people. I’m not saying that because the first night’s gift was a pair of socks. I’m Jewish…that’s par for the course. And it’s not about how the second night’s gift is also socks. Because that’s hilarious. No, like the holiday season in general, Holiday Bullshit is about more than the 1.2 million presents Cards Against Humanity will be sending over the next few days. It’s about how Tom and his sister Karlee are horrible children who locked their father in the basement, and are subjecting him to a “complex web of difficult puzzles” before they’ll let him out.
In an introductory post to Hanukkah.LOL, Tom and Karlee spelled out their dastardly plot. Dad got locked in the basement, and puzzles hidden in Cards Against Humanity’s eight sensible gifts would provide clues about how to get him out. Decoding the barcode on the back of the first night’s envelope and indexing that against a marquee in the video helped find dad’s Periscope account, while noting Tom’s glib reference to “frozen dinosaur embryos” helped dad find a key hidden inside a Barbasol can, letting him escape into the next room. But this is where the real challenge begins: the newest room is packed with puzzles, and a 16-digit passcode is needed to escape.
Mystery League commissioner Sandor Weisz has taken over as lead puzzle-master, adding a room escape style twist to this year’s hunt. To manage the logistics, Eight Sensible Nights recipients have been divided into four teams based on the sides of a dreidel. Every night, teams are encouraged to post suggestions for things dad should look into during the day. Every morning, teams vote for the best idea, and dad gets a list of four things to look into on his Periscope channel. Slack channels have been created for additional collaboration within teams.
In previous years, Reddit’s Holiday Bullshit subreddit has been the unofficial hub for puzzle-solving, so the push towards Slack is an interesting one. Fragmenting the community across four separate groups may make it easier for players to follow along at home, especially since Reddit’s comment threading system is not always ideal for puzzle-solving. And the Hanukkah.LOL website is being leveraged to provide summaries of events so far, including a recap of confirmed puzzle solutions. However, unofficial channels like Reddit’s Holiday Bullshit wiki and the IRC channel are still essential for up-to-the-minute information on current puzzle progress and cross-team collaboration, as well as providing an outlet for non-subscribers interested in the puzzle to collaborate.
Cards Against Humanity’s Max Temkin has confirmed that this will be the company’s final year running this particular holiday promotion, telling Chicago Magazine “honestly, it’s just a huge amount of work…we’re doing way more work than anyone could reasonably expect us to do.” The experience of sending out over a million personalized mailings in sequence during the holiday season has made the crew at Cards Against Humanity very good at fulfillment services, leading to the creation of Blackbox.
While it’s too late to sign up for the mailings themselves, it’s not too late to vicariously partake in the holiday cheer. Be sure to follow “dad” on Periscope for updates as he does whatever a community of horrible people tell him to do, check out Hanukkah.LOL for updates on the game’s progress, and get in on the conversation at the Holiday Bullshit subreddit to help get dad out of the basement.