Matthew Inman may well be the King of the Internet.

OK, he may be ONE of the kings, at least. For those unfamiliar with his work, Inman, an author and illustrator, often works under the pseudonym “The Oatmeal” and is best known for his wildly popular online comic of the same name. He often focuses on wide-ranging topics from marathon running to technology, Sriracha, and grammar. All of this is done with a slightly off-kilter sense of humor to pair with his poignant observations.  He also understands (and plays heavily with) the internet’s ongoing and perhaps unhealthy obsession with cats.This cat obsession was, perhaps, the catalyst for Kickstarter’s recent golden child: Exploding Kittens.

According to their Kickstarter page, the card game was conceived by former XBOX Chief Design Officer Elan Lee and designer Shane Small as a card version of Russian Roulette, but it was not until Inman’s involvement in the team that the game’s current theme seems to have fully evolved.

In essence, the game consists of players drawing cards until a player draws an “exploding kitten” card, at which time that player is eliminated. The game is played until the last player standing is declared the winner. The complexity of the game appears to come into play in all of the non-kitten cards in the deck, which allow players to defuse an exploding kitten card, or perform other actions that may give them an advantage in the game (such as look at the top cards of the deck, skip your turn, etc).

So what does this have to do with Inman’s cyber-royalty status? Exploding Kittens had a $10k funding goal that was reached in less than twenty minutes. Since then it has exceeded two million dollars in funding (in less than 48 hours). These sales numbers are nothing short of astonishing for a card game.

There are still 28 days of funding left and if we extrapolate the rate of growth the project is on track to be far and away the highest-funded game project in Kickstarter history.

How did this happen though? It’s just a card game after all. The answer is simple. Exploding Kittens did A LOT of things right.

  • They have a solid, reputable team with proven industry experience.
  • They released the game as a base pledge for the family friendly version of the game (ages 7+) at an affordable price point of $20.  While the wacky theme may not apply to all kids, we can certainly see our elementary school age boys getting into it.
  • They also created a “NSFW” (Not-safe for work, or kids, for that matter) version available as a $15 add on. It cannot be played without the base game, so parents can easily keep it separate if they want both versions.

Bringing Inman into the fold was the companies biggest win. We can only speculate, but much of the wildfire success of the campaign can largely be attributed to the Oatmeal’s quirky art style, razor sharp humor, and finger on the pulse of all things internet/geek culture.

Being fans of the Oatmeal’s work on staff, we’ve lined up to pledge. We recommend you take a look at the project over on Kickstarter and consider joining us, as well as the the other sixty-thousand-and-growing backers.

So Matthew Inman, come collect your scepter and crown. You’ve earned it.



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