I’m at that point in my life where, although I am not a parent myself, I have a lot of friends who are parents — and honestly, the next time I’m in a gift-giving situation with any of them, I might very well gift them the party game “KinderPerfect.” Created by Washington, D.C.-based parents Wayan and Amy Vota, “KinderPerfect” is basically “Cards Against Humanity” for parents — which means that it’s the most relatable of games for anyone who has ever seriously answered the question, “What’s that smell?” with “Eau de baby vomit.” Because from what I gather, that is a thing that happens when you’re a parent. And with a great deal of frequency, at that.
I’m not kidding when I say that the game is essentially a parenting edition of “Cards Against Humanity”; indeed, KinderPerfect got its start when the Votas, who have two daughters, Hanalei and Archer, started creating parent-themed cards themselves and adding them directly to their own “Cards Against Humanity” deck. Said Wayan Vota recently to Scary Mommy, “My wife and I loved playing ‘Cards Against Humanity’ but we felt the cards didn’t really speak to our experience as parents.” Referring to one of “Cards Against Humanity’s most well-known prompt cards, he continued, “What are the true reasons why Mommy drinks? I’m going to put puke, pee, and Caillou.”(Fun fact: Until fairly recently, I had no idea that Caillou was such a controversial subject. This, perhaps, is the strongest indication that I am not in KinderPerfect’s target demographic, but,well… you learn something new every day, right?)
Eventually, they started playing just with those parent-themed cards alone — so naturally, their friends and other neighborhood parents began suggesting they create a Kickstarter campaign in order to make KinderPerfect an official reality. The campaign was a rip-roaring success; launched on April 12, 2016, it reached its $12,000 goal by April 21 and raised more than $20,000 by the campaign’s end date on May 10. The finished game began shipping on July 2, 2016, and, well — it’s not hard to see why it’s been so popular. How could it not be, with pairings like this one lurking in the deck?
Or this one?
(We laugh, because we’ll cry if we don’t.)
The rise of games referred to as “Cards Against Humanity for [X]” has been an interesting one to track, largely because “Cards Against Humanity” is far from the first game to have used the gameplay mechanics for which its known. “Cards Against Humanity’s” Kickstarter campaign was originally launched in December of 2010; in just two weeks, it had already met its goal of $4,000, and by the time the campaign concluded at the end of January 2011, it had raised a total of more than $15,000. It was officially released in May of 2011.
Over a decade prior to “Cards Against Humanity,” however, “Apples To Apples” arrived — and it’s really this party game to which all games styled as “Cards Against Humanity for [X]” owe their existence. Released in 1999, it used the format “Cards Against Humanity” would later adopt: Each player is dealt out a hand of answer cards; each round, one player (who we’d usually call “It” in a game of tag) deals out a prompt card; all other players choose one answer card from their hand they think pairs best with the prompt card; the “It” player determines one answer card to be the best one of the bunch; and the player who dealt that answer card gets a point. The“It” player rotates with each round, and the player with the most points at the end of the game wins.
“Apples To Apples” wasn’t necessarily designed to be… uh…let’s call it off-color; it certainly could be, depending on how you played it, but it had a certain amount of plausible deniability that meant it could be played by kids as well as adults. What “Cards Against Humanity” did that made it unique was to take that off-colorness and give it a measure of intention that made it expressly an adult game — and that, in turn, seems to be the quality that similar party games have adopted. Joking Hazard, The Voting Game, Cards Without Decency, and more — they’re all in that same vein.
That’s where KinderPerfect lives, too — and, indeed, you can easily combine KinderPerfect’s deck with those belonging to “Cards Against Humanity,” “Apples To Apples,” or any other similar game and still have it work. Like so:
Like all these other games, KinderPerfect is always evolving, too. The newest version is scheduled to ship on Nov. 20, 2017 (pre-order it here), and it is full of parental hilarity. The original deck had 210 cards, but the new one will have 400 — and in both decks, many of the cards came directly from real people. Of the original deck, said Vota to Scary Mommy, “We had over 800 parents give us 7,000 card ideas. … Ask parents, ‘What drives you mad?’ and they’ll have a few answers.”
Other highlights currently include:
Eventually, the plan is to launch even bigger decks, expansion packs, and more. And hey, if you have any ideas yourself, there’s also the option to submit ideas for future decks via the KinderPerfect website; if your idea ends up in a future deck, you’ll get both credit and a free KinderPerfect deck of your own.
The winter holiday season is upon us. Do you have any parents in your life? Consider giving them the gift of parenting comedy this year. Because goodness knows, sometimes we need it.