Exploding Kittens

HighlightsExploding Kittens box.png

  • “It’s like uno, except there are goats, magical enchiladas, and kittens that can kill you.” – CNN
  • Easy to Learn


  • 2-5 players (expansions can go up to 10 players)
  • Ages 7+
  • 15 minutes
  • Created by Elan Lee, Matthew Inman, and Shane Small

If you’re looking for a simple card game to test the waters in this Modern Age of Tabletop Gaming, then Exploding Kittens may just be the game for you. So, you’re a dog lover. It’s okay. Kittens show their evil side in this game so you’ll love it. If you’re a cat lover, well, uh, kittens show their evil side in this game…and you’ll love it.

There are two different base versions – the regular version and the NSFW (not safe for work) version. Surprisingly, we don’t own the NSFW version. I know. I know. Who are you and what have you done with Myke? There are also some expansions, but I’ll touch on that later.

“It’s like uno, except there are goats, magical enchiladas, and kittens that can kill you.”

Remember Uno? I do. Fondly. I remember playing Uno with my friends in my late 20’s as a drinking game. We had to get the plastic cards because we were that destructive. Vomit cleans up real well on plastic cards. Just saying.

Exploding Kittens - Defuse cardsI digress. So Exploding Kittens is like Uno, except even more dastardly. Turns are simple. First, play as many cards as you like on your turn. Then, to end your turn, draw a card. If you draw an Exploding Kitten, you are dead and out of the game — unless you have a Defuse card! You can discard that card a stay in the game.

Then comes the best part. If you drew an Exploding Kitten, you can place it back in the deck anywhere you want. As the directions say, “Want to screw over the player right after you? Put the Kitten right on top of the deck.” For strategy lovers, that isn’t very strategic. Whoopee. It gets the job done!

All the other cards in the deck revolve around avoiding the Exploding Kittens, or manipulating them to explode on your opponents’ turns. Among my favorites are:

  • See the Future – Privately view the top three cards of the deck
  • Attack – End your turn without drawing a card. Force the next player to take two turns.
  • Nope – Stop the action of another player. You can play this at any time. (Yes, this means you can play it while it’s not even your turn).Exploding Kittens - other cards

Easy to Learn

Does it sound complicated? It shouldn’t. If it does, my bad. That’s on me, the writer. If it helps, I taught my nephews the game, and they were both under 10 years old at the time.

Ah. Young minds. They noticed that every card has its own unique artwork and would pick which Defuse card they wanted by the look. (All the Defuse cards do the same thing).

My wife and I also taught our friends’ families during a camping trip. The box says it takes 2 minutes to learn, and yeah. It literally takes 2 minutes to learn. And they loved it too. So we gave them a copy the next time we saw them, to which they said, “If we get divorced, just know that it’s your fault.” Yup. Another proud moment in spreading the love of board gaming. *blush!*

Slight Tangent!

As you would expect from a game that was the #1 most-backed Kickstarter project ever, it had a built-in following before it hit the starting line. The creators were both veteran Xbox creators with a following and Matthew Inman is the artist behind The Oatmeal comic, so there was a built-in following from the get-go.

I don’t know why, but some people in the board game community frown upon the game. I don’t know if it’s because it’s so simple, or so popular, or both. Or they’re just haters. So if you run into someone who says they hate the game, ask them why. Then decide for yourself. If they say it’s because it ruined their marriage and you’re insecure about yours, then…yeah.

Expanding Kittens!

My wife and I got the Imploding Kittens expansion when it came out. It adds some cards with new powers to the game, which is neat-o! But the best thing about it is the Cone of Shame! Yes, we hardly use it because it is big and not as easy to carry around. But it is a human-sized plastic cone that goes around your neck — the same kind that they put on dogs to prevent them from licking their genitals after they’ve been spayed or neutered! Bob Barker would be so proud.

We picked up the 10-player expansion which has cards from the regular edition, Imploding Kittens expansion, and new cards. No cone, though. And it is a little pricey. And no, the magnetic box that plays music when you open it does not make up for the price. But what DOES make up for the price is knowing that now me, my wife, and 8 other people can have many memories of screwing each other over. Priceless!


*All images courtesy of explodingkittens.com.

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