We Did The Math: Here's How Many Combinations Are In Cheer Up!

Hint: It’s a lot.

A lot of card games like to brag about how many combinations are possible in the game. But other card games don’t have the variety that Cheer Up! does. We’ve played the game for years and years and have never seen the same combinations! So we wanted to put a number to it. By dusting off the ol’ math machine (brain), playing with Excel (horribly), and doing some intense math (probably all wrong because we didn’t pay attention in AP Calc), we can put Cheer Up! to the test!

Let’s see how much variety there really is with math that is almost certainly misused beyond belief!

Alright, the first thing we have to do is list out all the Questions in the game and their requirements. Luckily, we already have such a list.

 This is just a sampling, but trust us, they are all there!

This is just a sampling, but trust us, they are all there!

As you probably know, each Question has one or more requirements that correspond to A, B, or C answer cards, which are marked in their respective columns. Those that require two of the same cards (like B+B) are indicated by a “2” in the column there.

Now we need to figure out how many different combinations are possible for each question. We do this by using a Permutation formula (stay awake, this gets good!).

 For “B+B”, 130=number of possible answer cards for that letter, 2=the number each person plays

For “B+B”, 130=number of possible answer cards for that letter, 2=the number each person plays

For the purposes of this experiment, we’re going to assume that the ORDER of the cards does NOT matter for the questions where two of the same answer card is required (like B+B). So we’ll use the COMBINATION formula. If the question requires B+B, there are 130 possible answer cards that could be drawn (all of the B cards, including the NSFG pack!). This formula then tells us how many ways a person can play 2 cards from that deck without repeating a combination. Remember, we are trying to find how many combinations are ultimately shown to the group, so we are ignoring the fact that you actually are supposed to draw four and then pick two. Hopefully that’s right.

Excel 3.png

So there we have it. There are 8,385 ways to answer to the question “What should I name my new dog(s)?” (and any other question that only requires one deck). Not bad. You probably will never see all those combos, but that’s not a HUGE number. However, adding in more required answer cards makes many more possibilities, and you start to really see a jump when we get to the A+B+C questions. Having three different possible decks brings us to over 2 million combos!

 The formulas here are  =COMBIN(130,1)*COMBIN(130,1)  for two answer requirements and  =COMBIN(130,1)*COMBIN(130,1)*COMBIN(130,1)  for three. We could have also simplified this by just multiplying 130 x 2 or 3 answer cards. Not that anyone cares.

The formulas here are =COMBIN(130,1)*COMBIN(130,1) for two answer requirements and =COMBIN(130,1)*COMBIN(130,1)*COMBIN(130,1) for three. We could have also simplified this by just multiplying 130 x 2 or 3 answer cards. Not that anyone cares.

Totaling that we have over 18 million combos possible in the base game alone. If we’re playing with 7 players, we can multiply all those numbers by 6 (one person each round is the dealer) and then totaling that up gets us to a whopping 108,000,000 answer combinations.

Excel 5.png

Now we can add in the NSFG questions, which brings us to almost 122,000,000.

Excel 6.png

But wait, there’s more! We forgot the Rules! Every question can theoretically be paired with one of fifty possible Rules, so we can just multiply these guys by 50 to get the actual number of unique possible rounds in Cheer Up! Drumroll please…

Screen Shot 2018-11-08 at 11.49.57 AM.png

If one person, alone in their room, presumably listening to Dave Matthews Band, went through the game and simply picked random answers for every Question and drew a random Rule each time, that version of the game would only be one of over a billion possibilities. Every time you play a 7-player game of Cheer Up! (all the way through, no less) your game is only one of 6 billion unique possibilities. That’s pretty awesome! That’s double the chance that three generations of your family were born on a Leap Day. You have 35 times more of a chance to win the Powerball than to see two exact same games of Cheer Up! (still not a good chance, so please don’t buy more tickets).

Now that we have the basic numbers, we can have some fun.

How about if we run two infinitely-long games of Cheer Up! at once? We can just multiply 6 billion by itself. The number of combinations is so big we need help pronouncing it.

 Thanks MathCats.com! We  didn’t  say it correctly! At all!

Thanks MathCats.com! We didn’t say it correctly! At all!

If it takes about five hours to go through all the questions in a game (50 rounds), we can deduce that you’ll see approximately 60 answer combinations on average per hour, which is about 1/5 of a game (so 10 rounds x 6 players). Dividing our 6 billion possibilities by 60 brings us to the 101 million hours it would take to see every combo in the game.

Excel 7.png

That’s 11,500 years. If every single person who owns Cheer Up! as of this writing played continuously for 24/7 (which obviously some of you are already doing) and streamed the games online so that we could all watch them, it would still take 23 years for all of humanity collectively to see every single combo in the game.

 Assuming the math is correct. Which is probably isn’t. Sorry.

Assuming the math is correct. Which is probably isn’t. Sorry.

And finally, this brings us to the most important metric of all…

Excel 9.png

We think that’s a pretty good deal! :)

P.S. We think this is pretty close, but leave us a comment if this math is way off because the dog ate our homework.

Get Cheer Up! on Amazon now! (Don’t worry, there’s no math in it!)

The Origin Stories Behind Your 5 Favorite Words

Ever wonder where your “favorite” words came from? Unfortunately, now you will!

Moist (1).png

This beauty has been with us since the Late 14th Century if you can believe it, back when the Old French used moiste it to mean “damp, wet, or soaked.” Mix that in with the Latin word for mucus, mucidus (or from the Vulgar Latin, muscidus, which is just Latin you can’t say in front of your Grandma), and you have our word meaning “wet” or, um, “well-irrigated.”

An alternative theory says that it was influenced by the Latin word musteus, which literally means “like new wine.” You know, just like we use it today!


Back in the day, Hippocrates and the Greeks believed there were four “humors” that controlled a person’s personality. Not limericks, riddles, punchlines, and knock-knock jokes, . These were bodily fluids - blood, various forms of bile, and phlegm - and they believed an imbalance of one of the fluids would create different personality types. The Greek word for phlegm therefore meant “humor caused by heat.”

In Greek medical texts, a phlegmatic person tended to be “relaxed, peaceful, quiet, and easy-going.” So next time you’re hanging with your most chill friend, see how many tissues they reach for! This theory waned over time, but depictions of the idea persisted for centuries, even popping up in artwork and scientific illustrations.

  Man, old-timey people were ugly.

Man, old-timey people were ugly.


Currently used to describe the “coagulated or thickened part of milk” (yum!), curd likely comes from another 14th Century word you’ve definitely heard: crud, meaning "any coagulated substance," from crudan in Old English which meant "to press or drive.”

So technically when your Dad used to say “get that crud off your shoes,” or your Mom tried to get the crud out of the corner of your eye, it was really all about clumping milk! Awesome!


Squirt has different origin stories based on it being a verb or a noun. In the late 15th Century, we had squyrten, "to spit." In the 1580’s it was defined as "cause to issue in a sudden jet or stream." Delicious!

As a noun, squirt straight up meant “diarrhea” way back in the late 14th Century, also transforming into a “jet or liquid” by 1620. And if you find yourself in a Charles Dickens novel around 1839, you might refer to your neighborhood whipper-snapper as such.


From Old English geoloca, Yolk, or yelk, literally translates to “the yellow part.”


Great job, Old English people. You nailed it.

Thanks to etymonline.com and Wikipedia for this information!

Love words like this? You’ll probably love our party game. Click on the box below to learn more!

Question Contest WINNERS!

Our question contest finally ended in April, and then we pulled together all the finalists and let you guys vote on them. And DAMN did you come through!

 Identities hidden...

Identities hidden...

Today we announce the winners that will be included in every Kickstarter copy of Cheer Up! In case you missed it, we decided to include the TOP 5 questions as voted by you guys. So here they are: your five winners (in no particular order)...

First up, Kristi L.

Next, Danny V.

Then we got Jeremy M.

Next up, Leila S.

Finally, Mikael sent one in that we will definitely be including in the NSFGrandma pack.

If you made it in, we'll be in touch to ask you how you'd like your name included on the cards. If not, we will definitely be doing this again for the next thing, so stay tuned!

Congrats to the winners!

Question Contest Semi-Finalists Announced!

It's time to announce the semi-finalists for our ongoing Question Contest!

In honor of exactly 97 days since the end of our Kickstarter (whatever that means) we've decided to sift through the entries we've received so far and pull out the best ones. We've seen dozens of entries and most people submitted more than one Question, so thank you for the participation! You all get a trophy.

This contest is not over - we will leave it open until the end of our next Kickstarter some time this year. Eventually, we will all get to vote to see which of the finalists gets their question and THEIR NAME is the final game, but for now, we've decided that all of the following people have automatically made it to the voting round.

First, Erik C. needs a date to prom:

My horny babysitter, A creepy college student, My divorced Uncle.

Leila S. wants us to read her mind:

A naked pile of men , Unexpected twins, Motherfuckin' pizza.

Justine D. is scared of the future:

Going to jail and trying to fit in, Peeing in public wearing only a bathrobe, Registering as a sex offender and then talking to kids about sex.

Robert D. submitted an obvious one I can't believe we didn't include:

A discount prostitute going above and beyond, A lubed-up idiot streaking, My overly-dramatic gynecologist being a silly goose.

Mikael H. needs some pointers:

The hungry hamster, The sticky choo-choo train, The sloppy banana.

And finally, Danny V. submitted so many entries that we couldn't just pick one. Here he is comparing sizes, prizes, and reliving a childhood trauma:

A foot-long hot dog, My out-of-control finger, My hairy meatball sub.

My penis and my vagina, My blow-up doll and a chicken nugget, My tissue and a booger.

An inbred pair of magicians, An unemployed clown, A drunk bachelorette.

Well...want in on this action?

Submissions are still open over on our contest page. Get YOURSELF in the game!

We're Back!

Way back in October 2015, Cheer Up! Games launched a Kickstarter for Cheer Up! that didn’t quite make its goal. We took a few months off, and in an attempt to get this right next time, worked on a total redesign of the game. Now it’s finally ready for your eyes! And your other orifices.

If you took our post-campaign survey, thanks! We used all your feedback to improve the game significantly, particularly the graphic design elements, without altering the award-winning gameplay (this game is the only winner of the Niko Invitational Golden Bone Award For Best Game Designed By A Human-Dog Team.) Let’s run through a couple of the major alterations to get you up to speed, and get you playing! (Click on the photos to enlarge them.)


  • The first thing you’ll notice is that the D, T, and A answer cards have been replaced with A, B, and C respectively. This is a controversial change we realize, but ultimately we think it makes it a lot easier for new players to understand how the cards go together. Stay tuned for a more-in depth post about our philosophy behind this change, but we’ll see how it works out.
  • The overall graphic design and card backs have been improved with some simple graphics. The main colors have also been adjusted from pastel colors to more solid colors.
  • The Questions got a makeover, too. Now each type of question has a distinct Niko graphic associate with it, as well as the corresponding answer card colors at the top, making each type (A+B, A+B+C, etc.) much more unique. This should help with readability and gets Niko a little more involved in the design.
  • In case you missed it, all questions now require multiple answers, even when they feature the same type of answer card (A+A, B+B, and C+C). This makes for much more variety and improvisation while playing. (This change was updated at the tail end of the Kickstarter, but now it’s been solidified in the new color version.)
  • In general, you now have quite a bit more freedom when creating answers. While the cards do have to stay in the correct order, feel free to add some smaller words in between the cards to make them make sense. Instead of dictating what you should say exactly, the answer cards are more like guidelines. However, try to stay as close to the original words as possible. A one sheet explaining tips for what we mean will be included in the new B&W version to help you out, but here are some perfect examples.

Question: "What's buried in your yard?"

You say: "My babysitter's dildo."

Question: "What do you not want to wake up next to?"

You say: "A toilet, while vomiting profusely."

Question: "What should be legal?"

You say: "Streaking and drinking breast milk."

  • Rule cards! Some nice graphics, and improved title readability. We’ve also eliminated the Roman Numerals for the recurring cards, which was confusing for some. Also, all the rule text is now in third person, and addresses actions that specific players have to take. (Some people had a hard time with the previous version, when the card was addressing the dealer as “you.” We think it's because people were too drunk to realize that the cards weren't actually talking to them.)
  • Overall, about 20% of the answer cards were replaced or updated based on feedback and testing. Some questions and rules that didn’t really work have been replaced or reworded as well. We think this is by far the strongest version of the game to date!
  • And best of all, we updated the free downloadable B&W version of Cheer Up! with all of these changes (well, just the text-based ones) so you can play the updates right meow! If you want to see more of the color version, you’ll just have to look at the pretty pictures, or play with us in person at a game night or a convention. Otherwise, the only other way is if we fund our next Kickstarter. And if you’ve read this far, why not help us out and spread the word! Check the page footer for our social links!

Well, I think that about does it. We’ll be promo-ing this game hard over the new few months to build up our following. Keep doing what you’re doing and if you have any feedback from play-testing, our inbox is always open - chris@cheerupgames.com