Review of Exploding Kittens

Posted: August 8, 2015 in Board Games, Reviews
Tags: , ,

Exploding Kittens 1

At game night last night I was finally able to try out a game that I have been hearing hype about for several months now: Exploding Kittens!


If you haven’t heard of Exploding Kittens, there is a strong possibility you were living under a rock back from late January through late February this year when Exploding Kittens smashed previous Kickstarter records to become the most funded game in Kickstarter history and the campaign with the most backers ever. This campaign going viral is largely due to it being illustrated by the creator of the online comic “The Oatmeal,” Matthew Inman.

The gameplay of the Exploding Kittens is quite simple. On their turn a player can play as many cards from their hands as they want; their plays will allow them to steal cards from other players, see the next three cards from the deck, shuffle the draw deck, skip their draw phase, or force the next player to take two turns while skipping their own draw phase. At the end of the turn, a player draws a card and play passes to the next player. If on their draw the player pulls one of the exploding kitten cards they’re eliminated unless they can play a diffuse card, in which case they can put the exploding kitten card back into the draw deck wherever they want.

The strategy of this game comes in figuring out when it is safe to draw cards from the deck and when you want to use your cards to skip  your draw. Other players can also mess up your plans by throwing “Nope!” cards at your actions and canceling their effects.

With my Kickstarter pledge I picked up the standard set and the Not Safe For Work set. The quality of the game components are excellent. The illustrations on the cards are hilarious and extremely well printed. The NSFW box has solid, durable construction, but the standard box is where this packing really shines; I am a sucker for well designed game packaging and this box has some of the best I’ve seen for a card game this size. The standard box is solidly built, has room for both the standard and the NSFW decks, has a magnetic closure, had some really fun illustrations on it, and has a little surprise when you open it that I am not going to spoil for you (I found it so delightful that I want you to laugh the way I did when I opened it).

As to the differences between the standard and the NSFW deck, there aren’t a whole lot. It is the exact same game just with different, slightly more scandolous card names and illustrations. If you’ve ever played Cards Against Humanity, the NSFW is rather tame by comparison; I would give it more of an R rating compared to Cards Against Humanity’s NC-17, but it is a delightfully irreverent twist on the standard version.

As I mentioned above, there was a lot of buzz surrounding Exploding Kittens. This Kickstarter campaign wasn’t just most funded game in Kickstarter history, raising $8,782,571, but also become the campaign with the most backers ever in Kickstarter history with 219,382 backers. The popularity of The Oatmeal web cartoon really started the major following this game had, but it really did manage to go viral; I saw coverage on this game in main stream news sources that don’t normally cover my prefered nerdy fare. People who don’t normally play games but who know I’m big into games came up to me and were talking about this game.

This was also one of the best run Kickstarter campaigns I’ve ever backed. They were excellent with their communication and had a remarkably quick turn around time from when the campaign funded to when backers received their backer rewards. If you are looking to run your own Kickstarter, take a look at how they managed their communications; at all points in the process I felt like I knew what was going on.

So, now down to brass tacks on what I actually think of the game itself. Is Exploding Kittens best game ever? No, of course not! It’s a game illustrated by the creator of The Oatmeal and called Exploding Kittens, what did you expect? That being said, Exploding Kittens is a lot of fun. There is certainly a fair amount of randomness to the game, but it’s not so much randomness that the outcome is completely out of the players’ hands. This is a great party game for when the crowd doesn’t feel like heavier fare or works as a nice gateway game to lure your non-gaming friends into the world of tabletop gaming. One deck (either the standard or NSFW version) plays from 2-5 players, but you can add in the other deck to play up to 9 players. Ultimately Exploding Kittens is a game that you can’t take too seriously. It’s silly and its creators know that; this game is about getting friends together to have a silly, fun time trying to survive death by furry, adorable kittens.

I give Exploding Kittens 4 out of 5 stars.

This game isn’t available in stores or online yet, but judging by the number of people who back this game on Kickstarter you can probably find someone you know who has it. If you’re interested in finding out more or receiving information when it is ready for general release, check out the Exploding Kittens website.

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  1. […] you’re not familiar with the game Exploding Kittens, take a moment to go read my review on Exploding Kittens. Don’t worry, I’ll still be here when you get back. I promise not to […]

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