«Exploding Kittens» review

Exploding Kittens

Exploding Kittens was designed by Elan Lee, Shane Small, and Matthew Inman known as the Oatmeal and famous for drawing comics. The illustrations were done by Matthew Inman.

The game was self-published in 2015. The designers were seeking to raise $10,000 in crowdfunding on Kickstarter. Their goal was exceeded in eight minutes. Seven days after opening, Exploding Kittens broke the Kickstarter record for most backers in the history of the site with 106,000 backers under its belt. When the project was completed, Exploding Kittens had raised $8,782,571 in pledges by 219,382 backers. It ended as the fourth most funded Kickstarter campaign.

The game was supposed to be delivered at the end of July 2015, but the ship date was delayed.

Exploding Kittens NSFW Deck Expansion

exploding kittens - nsfw deck
The game designers were using achievements instead of stretch goals. Achieving the first stretch goal meant turning NSFW deck expansion into a full game in its own right. The second one meant an upgraded box with two decks. The third and final stretch goal meant a Kickstarter-exclusive surprise in the game box.

During the play-testing, only 0.3 of players gave the game one star. One unsatisfied player even left a review that the designers now have framed in their offices: “I knew this game would suck and it did – Grumpy Dude”.

Game Components

  • 56 cards
    • Exploding Kitten Cards (4 cards)
    • Defuse Cards (6 cards)
    • Nope Cards (5 cards)
    • Attack Cards(4 cards)
    • Skip Cards (4 cards)
    • Favor Cards (4 cards)
    • Shuffle Cards (4 cards)
    • See the Future Cards (5 cards)
    • Cat Cards (5 of each type)

Card size: all cards are 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches in size.


The authors of the game promoted Exploding Kittens as “a highly strategic kitty-powered version of Russian Roulette”. Your goal in the game is to prevent the kittens from detonating themselves.

The number of players is two to five. Players take turns to draw cards from the deck. If you draw an exploding kitten, you explode and are out of the game. There are various ways to save yourself from drawing an exploding kitten.

Exploding Kittens exists in two variants: the base deck you can play with kids and the NSFW deck.

The game box comes with a surprise an audio file that plays when you open the box.

Exploding Kittens - Defuse cards


There is an Exploding Kitten Card for every player minus one. The one who will not draw an exploding kitten and will remain the last standing player in the game will be the winner.

At the beginning of the game you are dealt five cards with one defuse card. The remaining cards are shuffled into the draw pile.

You begin your turn by placing a card from your hand on top of the discard deck. You can play as many cards as you like, and you end your turn by drawing a card from the draw deck (praying it is not an exploding kitten).


Exploding Kittens - Cards

Exploding Kitten – 4 cards

If you draw this, you are dead immediately unless you have a defuse card.

Defuse – 6 cards

This is the only card that saves you from detonating. If you use it, you secretly shuffle your exploding kitten back into the deck.

Nope – 5 cards

A Nope card cancels any action apart from Exploding Kitten and Defuse. You can use it any time, even if it is not your turn. A nope can also be cancelled by another nope.

Exploding Kittens - Nope card

Attack – 4 cards

You use this card if you do not want to draw this turn. If you play it, the next player will have to take two turns and draw two cards.

Skip – 4 cards

This card ends your turn immediately, and you do not have to draw a card. (But if you were attacked, this card ends only one of your turns.)

Favor – 4 cards

You choose any player to give you one card of theirs. It is their choice which card to give to you.

Shuffle – 4 cards

This allows you to shuffle the draw deck. You may need this if you know there is a kitten at the top of the pile.

See the Future – cards

You can peek at top 3 cards in the draw deck.

Cat Cards – 5 of each type

These cards can be collected as two and three of a kind and used to steal from other players.

Exploding Kittens - Regular cards


If you have two cards of the same type, you can use them to steal a card from anyone you want blindly – they will hold up their hand to you, and you will choose any card without seeing it.

If you have three cards of the same type, you can name the card you want. But if your chosen player does not have it, then you will not get anything.

If you have five different cards, they allow you to go through the discard deck and choose any card from it.

You can download the rules in PDF here.

Exploding Kittens - Skip cards

Similar Games

Exploding Kittens vs Uno


Exploding Kittens is like Uno with detonators. In Uno, players race to get rid of their cards, and if they cannot do that, they draw cards from the pile. Uno is an abstract card game, it does not follow a specific theme.

Exploding Kittens vs Coup


In Coup, you bribe and manipulate your way to the power by using cards. It is more richly themed than Exploding Kittens and a bit more complicated.

Exploding Kittens vs Love Letter

Love Letter

You are fighting your way to take your love letter to the unapproachable princess. There are other pretenders to her love, so you will also keep an eye at what others are up to in order for them not to get to her first.

Exploding Kittens vs Cards Against Humanity

Cards Against Humanity

Cards Against Humanity is another self-published card game that goes well at parties. In this game, your job is to choose the funniest answer from the cards you have in your hand to the question on the card that is shown to everyone. Cards Against Humanity has many expansions with hidden cards and different bonuses.


Q: How does Exploding Kittens play with one or two people?

A: If you have just two players, then after you have dealt them both one defuse card, put only two extra defuse cards into the deck and put the remaining defuse cards aside. There is no solo variant for the game.

Q: Are there any misprints found in Exploding Kittens?

A: No, currently none have been found.

Q: Do combos overrule card instructions?

A: Yes, they do. If you are playing a combo of two, three, or five cards, ignore what is written on the cards. Also, keep in mind that using combos is an additional rule. You do not have to include it in your game, but do it if you want to. Playing combos will make your gameplay more varied and unexpected.

Q: Is there an iOS app for Exploding Kittens?

A: Yes, there is. You can purchase it on AppStore: .

Q: My box stopped meowing, what do I do? Is my box broken?

A: Try removing the sound card from the box, see if this can help with the box not meowing. If the chip meows once it is out, it means the sound card was not installed correctly. You will have to reinstall it. If the box meowed at first and then stopped, maybe the problem is with the battery.

Exploding Kittens iOS and Andoid app

exploding kittens - app
There is more good news for fans of Exploding Kittens! It is available as an app on iOS and Android! If it is not possible for you to take the game with you or it is more comfortable to see it on your screen – this is your lucky day! You can play with 2-5 players who has this game on their devices using bluetooth and wi-fi. Don’t forget to read the description carefully before start playing! Use this link for Android and this one for iOS to download the app and have a good exploding time!


The authors of the game advise the players not to follow the directions but to watch their tutorial video to learn how to play instead.


The thing that one cannot help but notice about Exploding Kittens is its wonderful design: it starts with the blue box you immediately see on the arrival and ends with the funny details of every card in the deck. You will love the kittens and hilarious notes on the cards.

The rules of the game are simple, and the explanation will take minutes, you will learn to play and start playing right away.

The deck size is enough for the game to go on for some time. The simplicity of the game and the attractive design guarantee it will be a hit for parties. Exploding Kittens definitely has the potential to become a drinking game (check out an example for rules here.).

You can buy it on Amazon.

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