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What if you could explode kittens? Honestly, I can’t imagine how such an idea came to designers of the game we will be talking about today. Even more absurd, this game has now conquered the hearts of millions of people from all over the globe. Meet the game of today: Exploding Kittens.

Looking at the games’ bizarre and humorous illustrations, it’s easy to skip it among now tens or hundreds of colorful card games. Don’t do that. This is a hidden gem of card games, a highly competitive and addictive game, poker if you had potato cats and explosions in it.

Exploding Kittens won the attention of board gamers when early in 2015 designers launched the game on Kickstarter and broke all records. Up to this day, this game holds the record as the most-backed project on Kickstarter with 219 thousand backers. Since then, many more millions of players have started to explode kittens.

Let’s take a look at why this game is so popular.

What is it about?

The game rules are very simple: don’t explode. You will be drawing cards from the deck in turns and the one who draws an Exploding Kitten, well, explodes and leaves the game.

At the same time, all players start with one green Defuse card that allows defusing the exploding kitten once. During the game, you will get more cards with a variety of actions: all the way from skipping your turn, making your opponent take several turns, stealing cards, and many more. Essentially the game goal is to make your opponents explode before you do and you will have all tools to do so.

The full rules of the game are extremely simple and easy to learn and follow. Here’s a 4-minute video from creators of the game explaining the rules

Exploding Kittens is a very light game for 2 to 5 players that lasts 10-20 minutes. All the cards have an explanation text and you can teach it on the go. It is a great game for a night with friends or even with family. 

If you are still unsure if you need this game, the creators have just released a mobile game of Exploding Kittens. You can try out the game playing online with others before you get your own paper copy to play with your friends.

What I enjoyed

  • Great humor. You can appreciate the hilarious illustrations from pictures above as the very first time I was looking at the game, I was seriously entertained. But it’s not only about absurd illustrations but about the rules, the logic, and the actual game. This game is seriously funny and that’s what made me play it more and more.
  • NSFW edition. If cat butts and hairy backs weren’t enough for you, you can get a full “adult” edition of the game. 
  • Expansions. We all love expansions and even better, good well thought ones. This game got it covered. Up to this day, there are 2 expansions. Imploding Kittens expansion brings you 20 more cards and new mechanics. If previously you didn’t know when to expect the explosion, newly introduced undefusable Imploding Kitten brings a sense of coming fatality to the game. Will you be the one to implode? Probably the best part of it is that it comes with a Cone of Shame for that one player who all the time annoyingly forgets whose turn it is. Streaking Kittens expansion adds 15 cards and lots of fun into the game. Should you get both of them, the game extends from 15 minutes per match to a good 25-30 minutes per game. I say, the more kittens, the better!

  • Newly released app. If you want to play 24/7 but your friends can’t support your enthusiasm, go and try the app. It got all the best humor of the game (for now, without expansions). It’s still worth getting a real card game to play with friends.

What to beware of

  • Very luck-based. If up till this point you didn’t get it, this is not a strategy game. Your success is depending on luck as you’re constantly drawing new cards with an increased chance of finding the exploding kitten instead. Of course, there’s some strategy in the game, but that usually comes only in the late game when you already have a hand of hopefully good cards and might know where the kittens are hidden. Up until then, your fate is unpredictable. If you’re extremely unlucky, the exploding kitten might be the very first card you draw and then you’re out of your saving shield of Defuse cards.
  • Player elimination. Combined with many players (4-6 people) and expansions, the game can get very long for a light card game. Some games we played, with all the chit chat and all the cards, ended being close to 60 minutes per match. If you’re unlucky to explode in the very beginning that could mean that you watch your friends play for another 45 minutes without you.

Is this game for you?

It’s a fantastic light, silly and enjoyable game that can easily entertain you for hours at family gatherings and parties. It’s a game that you can always put on your table if you’re together with your gaming buddies or friends that never play games. It’s super easy and extremely fun, and it’s a must-have for me!


Anna Pogrebniak

I’ve been playing as long as I remember myself. When I was a kid I dreamt of building my own games, and now I’m trying to make it a reality. Board games carry me away into a different world where I can be a knight, a researcher, a kingdom builder or a zombie fighter. Love semi-coop and engine building games. Favorite game of all times: Dead of Winter.