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Cards Against Humanity, the Most Offensive—and Lucrative—Game on Earth

Raise prices on Black Friday? Offer your product for free? Work with no bosses? It’s worked for Cards Against Humanity
Cards Against Humanity co-founder and spokesman Max Temkin
Cards Against Humanity co-founder and spokesman Max TemkinPhotograph by Greg Ruffing for Bloomberg Businessweek

For a person who designs a party game of punch lines that include Auschwitz, slavery, “Stephen Hawking talking dirty,” white privilege, ethnic cleansing, terrorists, the Trail of Tears, assless chaps, nuclear bombs, “a mime having a stroke,” and more depravity—so, so, so much more depravity—Max Temkin thinks a lot about values.

Cards Against Humanity, the hit card game created by Temkin, 27, and seven friends, may be profoundly irreverent, but it also has a soul. Sticking to principles has helped the group overcome long odds and survive mistakes and bouts of pure stupidity that probably should have doomed their fledgling company. Instead they have the top five bestselling products in the toys and games category at Amazon.com, where customers have given them more than 14,000 five-star reviews. That’s a level of devotion that can’t be explained by shock value alone.