Limpeh Says puts Singaporean spin on American card game Cards Against Humanity

Limpeh Says puts a Singaporean spin on the American card game, Cards Against Humanity

If you love the popular card game Cards Against Humanity, but are confused by the American references on some of its cards, don't fret.

The Singapore version of the game - called Limpeh Says - has hit the market, putting a local spin on the iconic game known for its wicked sense of humour.

The name of the home-grown version is a play on the popular game Simon Says, using the word "Limpeh", a Hokkien term meaning "your father".

Its cards feature aspects of Singapore, including aunties, taxi drivers and the MRT system as well as local personalities such as actress Rui En. Some cards also touch on race and religion.

The self-published game is the brainchild of Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts student Tan Yong Heng, who collaborated with Mr Gabriel Leow, founder of local games cafe Play Nation.

They made an appeal for funds on crowd-funding platform Kickstarter last year and raised more than $120,000 - six times their initial target - from local and international backers.


Created by student Tan Yong Heng and games cafe founder Gabriel Leow, Limpeh Says (above) lets players create funny statements with its cards. ST PHOTOS: CHEW SENG KIM

The game's creators have been sending the final product to backers since earlier this month. A week ago, they started selling the game in stores, such as Battle Bunker and Toy Station.

The local version is played in a similar way as the original Cards Against Humanity, created in the United States and released in 2011 to massive success.

In Limpeh Says, each player draws 10 white cards, with different phrases or words printed on each.

One player is given the position of "Limpeh" and he draws a red card, which features a question or a fill-in-the-blank statement.

Each of the other players then submits one or more white cards and the one who creates the funniest statement or answer wins the round.

A new player is then given the position of Limpeh, everyone draws from the deck so they have 10 white cards and the process is repeated.

The game's creators, who are Singaporean, say there is no copyright infringement.

Mr Tan, 21, says: "I love the original Cards Against Humanity and initially asked the creators if they wanted to collaborate and release a Singapore version. This did not work out, so we decided to create our own game without infringing on their copyright."

Mr Leow, 33, adds: "The creators of the original game were kind enough to let us know what we can and cannot do.

"We did not brand Limpeh Says using the Cards Against Humanity name. We also avoided using cards already featured in the original game.

"And since our version has a local name and has very Singaporean content, there is very little chance people will get confused between the two products."

Intellectual property lawyer Bryan Tan, 45, at Pinsent Masons MPillay, says although the Singapore team did not reproduce cards from the original game, there is still legal risk as its game uses the same format as the original.

But it would require in-depth analysis to determine if the similarity constitutes copyright infringement or not, he adds.

"Ultimately, whether the format is too similar or not is up to a judge to decide," he says.

Nonetheless, local celebrities such as actor-hosts Hossan Leong and Gurmit Singh were so impressed by the project that they contributed phrases that appear on some of the cards.

Leong, 48, who contributed a card about kebayas, says: "When the creators approached me, I thought this was a great game to support because it has local flavour and helps people bond.

"It is also a good way for foreigners to get to know Singapore and what makes us tick."

According to the Infocomm Media Development Authority's website, the statutory board does not pre-vet publications. These are understood to include novels, magazines and such card games.

Publishers are expected to be responsible in their reporting and be mindful of social, racial and religious sensitivities.

The laws in Singapore, such as the Sedition Act, also apply.

Of the 4,000 sets of Limpeh Says created so far, 2,500 sets are being delivered to Kickstarter backers. The rest are sold in stores from $40 a set.

Mr Leow hopes to sell 7,000 sets by April next year. "I am glad to see a locally made game on the market and hope it can inspire more game designers to work harder and bring their ideas to life."

Adds Mr Tan: "The game is really just an outlet for Singaporeans to let loose and joke around. A single card, when read, cannot be offensive."

Student Wendy Aw, 21, who played the game a week ago, says: "Some of the answers I submitted were not politically correct. But in the name of fun - and because I was playing with close friends - I submitted them anyway.

"The results were usually so hilarious, I would laugh until my tummy hurt."

WATCH VIDEO: How to play Limpeh Says. Go to http://str.sg/4Bmi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 23, 2017, with the headline 'Game of wicked Singapore humour'. Print Edition | Subscribe