Joking Hazard is a social card game where players lay the third panel in a Cyanide and Happiness comic to try to create the best joke. Since it's announcement, Joking Hazard has been plagued by comments of "it's just Cards Against Humanity again," and it's not too difficult to see why. At a first glance, they do seem to share some mechanics: a card taken from a draw pile provides inspiration to a host of players who submit a card from their hand as a punchline, and a judge declares who's is best. Joking Hazard is more than CaH's one trick pony though (shock and awe). Because every panel can be placed anywhere in the comic (with the exception of red borders which can only go last), game-play is opened up exponentially. Cards aren't just a "question" or "answer", they all become available to become part of a narrative as you see fit. According to the publishers the base game of 250 cards has 15.4 million combinations (before you even add expansions).
If you are familiar with the comic then you'll be familiar with the simplistic artwork already. It's stick figures all the way, but that's always been part of the charm of the comic. The box is nice and sturdy and doesn't take up more room than necessary on the shelf. There is a little room left over for some small expansions when they inevitably come. If you were lucky enough to get the Kickstarter edition, you might have chosen the red box variant which comes with gold foil inlays (Ooo. Shiny!). The creators have also thrown in a couple of cards with blank speech sections for you to add your own in jokes. Then there's the but(t). The cards are too thin. For a game of this nature where you can handle hundreds of cards in a session, the weight of the card-stock just feels too flimsy. Sleeving your cards may help with this (and might not be a bad idea if you plan on playing this as often as I do).
Kickstarter Shiny Red Box Edition
The game-play is simple enough. The judge draws a card, then adds one from their (hand either before or after) giving a 2 panel set-up. Other players then anonymously give the judge a punchline and then the judge chooses a winner. As with all games of this nature, there is a risk of the occasional "dud" round where no one has just the right card, but playing with more people rather than fewer decreases the chance of this happening.
This is the big disclaimer here. This game is VERY adult in nature. The other reason this game is compared to Cards against Humanity rather than Apples to Apples is because of what's on the cards. There are cards to be found here that feature (but are not limited to):
•Fellatio (auto and reciprocal)
•Very foul language
I think that this game will hold up better than Cards Against Humanity and others of it's ilk. Everything in this game is about context. A card that says "What's that smell" takes on massively different meanings when coupled with someone saying "smell my finger" or a picture of a person standing next to a corpse. With the text being so simple the jokes aren't the card itself, but rather how it's combined with the other cards. You won't be saying to yourself "Oh it's the [X] card again." The game also comes with a number of variants on how to play, including the inevitable "drinking game" versions (x6!).
Context is everything in this game
If you are easily offended, then this isn't the game for you. However, if you don't mind the occasional F-Bomb (F-Bomb plushy sold separately) and have already obtained your one-way ticket to Hell, strap yourself in for some great times and wonder if you and your friends really are human beings.
Good review and good job distinguishing this from Cards Against Humanity (which I also enjoy because I'm awful like that). Just got this for Christmas and we all had a blast playing. While it has some potentially offensive cards for some, not anywhere near as many as CaH, and as you say, context is everything in this game.