By: Jesse Stanley

  • Age Rating 7+ * (Note there is a NSFW edition that should not be played with children due to language and adult content)
  • Players: 2 – 5* (Can be played with up to nine people by adding a second deck)
  • 15 Minutes
  • Competitive
  • Buy Exploding Kittens here on Amazon

Exploding Kittens exploded into our lives in early 2015. The game became the most-funded project in Kickstarter history at that time, backed by the most people ever. More than 219,000 people showed their support to make this happen. The popularity of Matthew Inman and The Oatmeal certainly helped.

With all the buildup the expectations for this game have been rather high. When the announcement that the game had shipped came it wasn’t too long thereafter that people were posting photos of their spoils online, it was here, but was it good?

The Game

There are fifty-six cards in the deck. The artwork is exactly what you may have come to expect from The Oatmeal. Characters such as Tacocat and Beard Cat make an appearance alongside original artwork on each card. The gameplay is quite simple; the box claims it takes two minutes to learn. They weren’t kidding.

You can play as many cards as you like and you end your turn by drawing a card. If the card is an exploding kitten and you cannot defuse it you are out of the game. The last person standing wins. That’s it. The game really is that simple.

There are a variety of cards that make the game move along and add a layer of strategy to the game. You can use cards to skip your turn or force others to take two turns in a row. There are cards that allow you to steal card or peek at the deck. There are even some that allow you to reshuffle the deck. If you don’t like a card that your opponent has just played you can counter it with a Nope card, though if they respond by playing their own it becomes a Yup!

If you are unfortunate enough to draw an exploding kitten the only thing that can save you is a defuse card. After that is played you put the explosive feline back into the deck anywhere you like. You can do this in front of everyone or even bring the deck under the table to place it. One rather mean strategy is to place it right on top for the next player to draw.

The design is such that you never need to reshuffle the discard pile into the deck. There will always be a winner by the time the cards run out. This feature makes games pretty quick and it was quite refreshing to know that the games were short and sweet.

Family Game Assessment

After playing the game several times now, it was a lot more fun than anticipated. The concept is rather simple, but the execution was nice. It is by no means a game with deep strategy, but that is what makes it so fun. It’s a game about exploding kittens. It isn’t meant to be serious, and the humorous nature of the cards really adds an air level of levity to the gaming table.

During the games it wasn’t uncommon for everyone at the table to cheer and laugh as kittens were revealed and either placed back in the deck in a clever way or took a player out. Overall this game is a good time and comes with a good recommendation so long as you aren’t taking it too seriously.

Expansions and Spin off Games

The team at Exploding kittens has been busy since the Kickstarter of the original Exploding Kittens hit the board game scene. Below are just some of the games and expansions they have put out since then. There are even more outside of the Exploding Kittens theme too!

The ease of the game makes it a great game for the age ranges that are indicated on the box and it plays well for groups of adults as well. The real test will be how much replay value it has. Given the short nature of the game it is a nice way to cleanse the palate between other longer more involved games.

  • Exploding Kittens Party Pack
  • Exploding Kittens Recipes for Disaster
  • Zombie Kittens
  • Exploding Minions
  • Exploding Kittens NSFW (Not Safe for Work)
  • Barking Kittens (expansion)
  • Imploding Kittens (expansion)
  • Streaking Kittens (expansion)


For some reason, this game is a lot more fun than one might think it would be. It plays very quickly and is very easy to learn. Pick it up for something additional to do during a night of gaming. It probably couldn’t support a game night on its own, but it is a fine addition to throw in while someone is running to grab and set up something else.

One thought on “Board Game Review: Exploding Kittens”
  1. The card game is one of the worst board/card games I’ve played. I also hate it for being the sort of thing that could be many people’s first (and due to its crapness last) experiences of the world beyond Monopoly. And yet…somehow the quick-fire nature combined with online multiplayer makes me tempted to buy this. There must be something wrong with me

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