“I think I just take a peek at the top three cards” – A “See The Future” card drops into the discard pile. “Hmm”, the player says after peering into a set of possibilities. Now transformed into a fortune teller, the other players adjust their strategies, and things get serious. Poker-faced, the fortune teller causes a skip card to appear in the discards. “I skip the rest of my turn.” The next player in turn, thinking they are the target of an assassination by kitten, plays their one remaining option, the nearly omnipotent “Nope”. The teller smiles, and draws a card, ending their turn.
Having survived to this point, and having spent her “Defuse” card on a previous random “Exploding Kitten”, the next player draws a breath, and draws a card. It’s a “Tacocat”. A mostly harmless palindromic invention of web comic, The Oatmeal. She lives to fight another round. This new “Tacocat” will pair nicely with her other one, to lend a hand to mischief when next her turn comes.
Exploding Kittens is a last person standing card game for 2 to 5 players by Elan Lee, Matthew Inman, and Shane Small (or add a second copy, and take the fun to 9)! For most people, Matthew Inman may better be recognized for his work on the web comic The Oatmeal. His art style and humor have been poured into this game and mixed thoroughly. Both a Safe for Work (and home) and a Not Safe for Work version are available, and the decks are compatible with each other for the second copy requirement to play with more than 5 players. You can expect your time in each game to run between 10 and 20 minutes, though your time investment may vary in the first few games as you wonder at the card name, art, and flavor text.
When Exploding Kittens released on Kickstarter, it became a funding success in just 8 minutes; eventually becoming a record breaker in number of backers with over 200K people supporting the project. You can go look those facts up. I’ll wait while you do….
The basic play runs like this: Each player starts with a “Defuse” card, and 4 random other cards. The draw deck is seeded with a set number of extra “Defuse” cards, and just enough Exploding Kittens to leave one person the winner. Players take turns FIRST playing cards from their hand, and THEN pulling one card from draw pile. This draw pile gets smaller and smaller as the player turns happen, increasing the odds a Kitten shows up. When you Defuse a Kitten, it goes randomly back into the draw pile thereby increasing the odds future players to pull one of these dangerous kitties.
Strategy in Exploding Kittens begins about 2 seconds after you make your first round through your first play. You’ll still get distracted by cute (or maybe obnoxious depending on your personal tastes) art and flavor text as your turn comes around, but analyzing how to avoid drawing any cards be high on your priority list. After a couple more turns around the table, you’ll be a master at avoiding picking up Kittens when you can, and tricking others into doing your bidding.
I greatly enjoy Exploding Kittens as a filler game, or even a main course, and I hope you will too. If you did not get on the Kickstarter train, the Kittens team has recently opened ordering on Amazon for both the SWF and the NSFW versions, see the links below
Exploding Kittens – http://www.explodingkittens.com/
The Oatmeal – http://theoatmeal.com/
Have you played Exploding Kittens? Are you hoping to pick it up? Comment below with your thoughts.