I wasn’t sure I wanted to play a game called Exploding Kittens as a cat lover. But I was intrigued when I found out that the Exploding Kittens game broke all records for crowd funding. When the game was sourcing funding through Kickstarter they had a goal of $10,000. They raised more than $8.7m from more than 200,000 backers when they launched the game. It holds the record for the number one most backed project in Kickstarter history. So why did all these people want to back this project? I wanted to try out the game to see how to play it and have some fun. The object of the game is to be the last player standing. You get eliminated from the game by drawing an Exploding Kittens card if you can’t defuse it, more on that later!
Exploding Kittens Rules - Set Up
The set up is easy and only takes a minute to get started. You need to remove all the Exploding Kittens cards from the deck before you start dealing. Take out the defuse cards too. Shuffle the deck and deal four cards to each player. Then you give each player one defuse card and put the remaining defuse cards back in the deck. Players look at their own cards and keep them separate from other players. Insert the Exploding Kittens cards back in the deck. You need to make sure that there is one fewer Exploding Kittens card than the number of people playing. So if you had four people playing you would have three Exploding Kittens cards in the deck. Shuffle the deck and put it face down on the table. This is your draw pile where all those Exploding Kittens are waiting to pounce!
How to play Exploding Kittens game
Learning how to play the Exploding Kittens card game is easy and quick. You randomly choose who starts. On your turn you can play any action cards in your hand and you draw a card from the draw pile to end your turn. There are instructions on some of the action cards. After you have followed the instructions on the card you can play other cards. For example “See the future” card lets you have a sneak peek at top three cards in the draw deck. This can help you avoid the Exploding Kittens card. A “Skip” card can let you skip the rest of your go. This means you don’t have to draw a card, this can help you avoid the Exploding Kittens card too.
You can also play cards as matching pairs or in threes, even if they don’t have instructions on them. When you get a matching pair of these cards you can pick another player and steal one of their cards. When you get three of a kind you can choose a player and name a card to take from them if they have it. If they don’t have it you’re out of luck! Keep an eye on who still has their defuse cards so you know who to choose. During your turn you can play as many cards as you like. You don’t have to play any cards if you don’t want to. You end your turn by drawing a card from the top of the draw pile.
A “Nope” card will block the action of another card and you can play this card at any time even if it’s not your turn. So if you wanted to stop another player completing the action you could do this with a “nope” card. If they also play a “nope” card then they can go ahead and complete the action. Two nopes equal a yes!! A nope card can stop any action except for a defuse card or an Exploding Kittens card.
The Exploding Kittens Card
If you draw an Exploding Kittens Cards you need to show this card immediately. Unless you have a defuse card you are out of the game. You discard your hand into the discard pile and you lose. If you have a defuse card you can play this card instead of dying. The defuse card is the most powerful card in the deck. You place your defuse card in the discard pile once you have played it. Then you have the choice to place your Exploding Kittens card back into the draw deck anywhere you want.
This is where it gets interesting. You can put the Exploding Kittens card back in the deck anywhere you like in secret. You are still in the game and now you know the secret location of the Exploding Kittens card! You can put it on top, in the middle or in the bottom. Some players like to count cards down so it appears in a spot you know which of the other players will come across it. You don’t get to look through the deck, you just get to pop the Exploding Kittens card back in the deck!! Your turn is over after you have played your defuse card. The game gets more and more tense as the defuse cards get played and the draw deck gets smaller. Those Exploding Kittens are still lying in wait to eliminate you from the game!
Exploding Kittens Expansions
There are a number of Exploding Kittens expansions which include Imploding Kittens and Barking Kittens
There is also Exploding Kittens party pack for 10 or more players. You will also find an Exploding Kittens NSFW (Not safe for work) edition. It contains graphic artwork not for the faint of heart. This adult only card game is for 2 to 5 players, or combine with another deck for up to 9 players.
The game is quick and easy to set up. The rules are really easy to pick up and play. In terms of a family card game or a party card game it is great for both. You can pick on other players and start a great banter by stealing cards from them. Or you can plant the Exploding Kittens card for them to get. It is designed for two to five players, we find it best with around three or four players. The back of the box describes the game as “highly strategic kitty power version of Russian roulette”. I wouldn’t say it is all that strategic, like Russian roulette it’s a game of chance, but it is definitely a fun game. Don’t let the name put you off, you will have lots of fun with this game with your friends or family.
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