Early last year, Brokelyn editor Tim Donnelly said that it was finally time to declare Cards Against Humanity a “basic” party game, and that we ought to renounce it in favor of slightly more evolved entertainment. And we haven’t laid a finger on it since then, because we really were holding out hope for a better alternative.
Now there’s a Punderdome home card game, but that’s mostly for word nerds and happy people. Brooklyn’s mass population of gripers and grousers (who drink) still need to be entertained with a game that feels less twee and more “Why me?”
Naturally, a 20-year-old kid at Pratt has the solution: enter WTF, NY?, a party game created by Pratt undergraduate Krysta Parisi. Like most of Brokelyn’s favorite things, the concept is straightforward and the legality is questionable! It’s just a Cards Against Humanity spinoff where cards have New York-specific questions and answers, so lewd sexual acts are replaced by… well, lewd sexual acts. This is New York, after all.
Parisi, a communications design major with a focus in illustration, explained that the game started as a class homework assignment.
“They told us to reinvent a game for millennials and make it modern, take a twist on it,” she told Brokelyn. “And I decided to go with Cards Against Humanity and make it more specifically New York. I felt like it was something that needed to be done.”
At 20 years old and with only two years banked as a Brooklynite, Parisi herself can’t exactly claim to have “seen some shit” as the front of the game’s box designates. Certainly not in the way that most dust-crusted antique New Yorkers have, anyway.
Parisi has lived in New York state her whole life, but grew up on Long Island, and only came into the city on the weekends. It wasn’t until moving to Clinton Hill, Brooklyn in 2014 for college that she started to see New York as the quotidian cesspool of ballsy pests, traumatizing incidents and airborne irritants that it is.
“On Long Island, you don’t really see a lot of weird stuff,” she said. “But now that I live [in New York City] it’s like, okay, I’m always gonna see someone playing on the subway. I’m always gonna have to wait another 20 minutes for the train because I missed it. I’m always gonna see these rats.”
(Re: “playing” on the subway, we’re still note sure whether she was talking about music.)
Some of Parisi’s classmates brought in similarly New York-ified assignments, such as a deck of cards designed to look like the cards people keep in their wallets here — Metrocards, credit cards, coffee cards and the like. Others went for more politically-charged statements, like the student who created a “Go Fish” game using actual fish. Art school, go figure.
Parisi said that the point of the assignment was not only to capture the zeitgeist, but also to address “things that are difficult to talk about but need to be talked about.”
The questions on the cards in the game are similar to those of Cards Against Humanity, she told us, but slightly less abrasive and more tailored to the city’s foibles. What is Times Square Full Of? Why Am I Crying? Why Do You Avoid Central Park?
Answer cards range from the predictable, such as “Public Masturbators,” to slightly more evolved responses such as “An old man screaming at nobody and whacking his newspaper at subway ads.”
(It’s sad that I just referred to “Public Masturbators” as predictable, right?)
The game is currently fundraising on Kickstarter, so if you want to be one of the lucky first recipients of WTF, NY? you should throw her some dollars. Parisi expects the $7,000 budget will cover the cost of roughly 600 game decks.
For our part, we predict the game will thrive at parties for a year or two, but eventually overstay its welcome at New York gatherings until it feels as stale as its parodic predecessor, Cards Against Humanity—which in turn was once a refreshing alternative to Apples to Apples. We just don’t have the attention spans for parlor games anymore. (The only organized entertainment I can bear at a house party is a Netflix fireplace.)
Parisi agrees; there are only so many times playing a Pizza Rat card among friends will yield chuckles.
“After a while, it does get a little stale,” she said. “That’s why Cards Against Humanity makes as many expansion packs as they do.”
To that end, one of the listed perks of donating to the game’s Kickstarter is the chance to submit your own idea for a custom card in the deck. Parisi is also planning to include blank answer cards, where players can use dry-erase markers to write in one-time responses during gameplay.
And while its audience is likely to be mostly New Yorkers, Parisi thinks her idea might just have national merit.
“These are things I’ve seen happen,” she said, referring to the answer cards. “It’s just interesting to know that they’ve happened. And it’s not like you’re in New York and no one knows what goes on in the city, it’s not like some small town in Oregon. Everyone has an idea of what goes on in New York City.”
Well, if you’re from out of town and you’re reading this, do us a favor and tell us what kind of “shit” you’ve seen here (preferable shit that would make a good addition to the card game) in the comments section! We always like to know what it looks like from the other side.
Follow Sam on Twitter for more ways to game New York: @ahoysamantha