Two million dollars. That is the value fans of Cyanide and Happiness, the wonderfully weird stick figure comic, have placed on the opportunity to play a game where they make comics of their own. Joking Hazard, still in kickstarter for another nine days, is a tabletop version of the comic’s popular Random Comic Generator. (Full disclosure: I have now backed this game.) In the game, you are given a hand of seven cards. Each card has a single panel of a potential comic on it. The goal is to make the funniest three panel comic. First, you select a judge. Then, the first comic panel is drawn randomly from the deck. The second is played by the judge. Then everyone at the table has a chance to play a third card to finish it out, and whichever comic the judge finds the best wins the round.
If it sounds similar to Cards Against Humanity, well, it is. Rob Denbleyker, one of the creators and writers of Cyanide and Happiness, told us “it falls into this very easy ruleset, where you anonymously judge your friends on how funny they are.” However, he went on to say that the game is different from Cards Against Humanity and it’s ilk in other key ways. “In Apples to Apples,” he said, “you always held on to the Hitler card, because that card always wins.” Because of the visual and contextual nature of Joking Hazard, that rarely happens. Not to mention, “Sometimes it won’t even be a funny comic, it’ll just be a tragic comic, about two characters dealing with cancer, or divorce. Sometimes it won’t even resemble a joke, but it’ll be even funnier because of that.”
To celebrate the insane amount of money they’ve raised, the team behind Joking Hazard has made their stretch goals into little scavenger hunts for their fans. Rob said that he was tired of “stretch goals always being, ‘Give us more money,'” which led to things like asking fans to make a Joking Hazard character out of gold, or smaller than the head of a pin. Both of these tests were solved within a day.
The last time there was a massive groundswell of support behind a comic-based tabletop game, it was Exploding Kittens, which turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. But Joking Hazard looks like it will be a ton of fun. Visual and sight gags are something I haven’t seen tackled in tabletop games like this before, and I think this has potential to be incredibly funny. Rob told us of one example where the set up was one character saying to the other, “I want you inside me.” The winning final panel (played by Rob) featured a character literally crawling inside the other character’s mouth.
That’s pretty damn funny.
You can check out our whole interview with Rob below – we also went into the history of Cyanide and Happiness, including how much the internet has changed in the ten years since the days of Newgrounds, and the benefits of kickstarter in achieving your artistic vision.