Exploding Kittens

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Exploding Kittens
"A card game for people who are into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats"
Exploding Kittens game play test 01.JPG
Designer(s)Elan Lee and Shane Small
Illustrator(s)The Oatmeal
Publisher(s)The Oatmeal
Publication dateJuly 2015
Genre(s)Card game
Setup time< 1 min
Playing time16 min
Random chanceMedium

Exploding Kittens is a card game designed by Elan Lee, Matthew Inman from the comics site The Oatmeal, and Shane Small. Originally proposed as a Kickstarter project seeking US $10,000 in crowdfunding, it exceeded the goal in eight minutes[1] and on January 27, 2015, seven days after opening, it passed 103,000 backers setting the record for most backers in Kickstarter history. At completion on February 19, 2015, it had $8,782,571 USD in pledges by 219,382 backers. The campaign ended as the fourth most funded campaign on the crowdfunding site.[2] The first play test of Exploding Kittens was recorded on YouTube by Smosh Games, who had the first deck.[3] The backers started receiving delivery in late July 2015; all backers received the game by September 2015.[4][5][6][7]

Game rules[edit]

All cards are put into a deck, save for the Defuse and Exploding Kitten cards. The deck is shuffled and each player draws 7 cards and takes a Defuse card. The Exploding Kitten cards are then shuffled back into the deck so that the number of Exploding Kitten cards in the deck is one less than the number of players. The remaining Defuse cards are then also put back in the deck. A turn order is decided upon.

Each player may then play as many cards from their hand as they like on their turn (including none) before drawing a card. Players are not to tell any other player what cards are in their hand. Played cards are put into a discard pile.

The list of cards is as follows:

  • Exploding Kitten: Eliminates the player that draws it, putting them permanently out of the game. The last player remaining wins the game.
  • Defuse: Allows a player that draws an Exploding Kitten card to put the card back in the deck in whatever location they choose. This location is kept secret from other players.
  • Nope: Negates the card that was just played except Exploding Kitten and Defuse. This card can be played by any player at any time. A Nope card can be negated by another Nope card.
  • Attack: Ends the player's turn without drawing a card and forces the next player in the turn order to take two turns in a row. Note that if a player affected by an Attack card plays another Attack card on their first turn, both of their turns are ended without drawing.
  • Skip: Ends the player's turn without drawing a card. Note that if a skip card is played by a player affected by an attack card, it will only end one of the two turns.
  • Favor: Forces another player to give the player who played this card a card from their own hand. The player affected by this card chooses which card to give.
  • Shuffle: Shuffles the deck until told to stop by another player. The player of this card may not view any cards in the deck while shuffling.
  • See The Future: Allows the player to see the top 3 cards in the deck. The player of this card may not say what cards they saw.
  • Combo cat cards: Useless alone, but with two a player can steal a random card from an opponent.

In addition to the cards already mentioned, there are cards that do not have any effects when played on their own. In each deck, there are five types of these cards and four cards of each type. However, when two of each type of card (known as a pair) are played at the same time by a player, that player can take a card from the hand of a player of their choice. The player that plays a pair may not see the cards in the other player's hand.

Kickstarter details[edit]

Exploding Kittens has become the third biggest Kickstarter campaign of all-time, raising $8.8 million on the crowdfunding website.[8] In just its first day Exploding Kittens earned $1,333,586 and grew to nearly 35k backers. By day 4 the project was over 91k backers raising over $3,500,000.[9] The creators of the game were initially trying to raise just 10,000 USD, but ended up getting 219,382 backers on the crowdfunding website.[10][11]


On February 3, 2015, achievements were announced in lieu of stretch goals because the game designers did not want to delay production or distribution of the game to backers. As of February 16, 2015, 30 achievements had been unlocked and the second stretch goal (Unlock 20 Achievements) and third stretch goal (Unlock 30 Achievements) were completed. With the first stretch goal accomplished, the company expanded the NSFW deck to a full stand-alone game.[12] The second stretch goal gave an upgraded storage box which holds two full decks of cards to all backers of the campaign,[13] and the third and final stretch goal includes a Kickstarter-exclusive surprise in the box.[14]


On April 11, 2015, Elite Team Kitten play tested the new game during the International Tabletop Day.

Exploding Kittens began shipping to Kickstarter backers in late July 2015.

In October 2016, the first expansion Imploding Kittens was released. It introduced the cards/mechanics of Alter the Future, Draw from the Bottom, and Reverse from the mobile game, and the new Imploding Kitten card/mechanic.

On July 30, 2017, the Exploding Kittens Party Pack was released in addition to the [[Cards Against Humanity]] Hidden Compartment Pack at Target.[15] The party pack is an update to the original game that allows for up to 10 players. It removes the Attack card/mechanic and replaces it with the Slap mechanic from the mobile game. The mechanics introduced in the Imploding Kittens expansion are also included. The Hidden Compartment Pack contains 5 cards of the new mechanic, Blind as a Bat, and 15 new white CAH cards. The card package is hidden in a secret shelf in the Exploding Kittens display at the store.[16]

At the 2018 South by SouthWest festival Exploding Kittens maintained a booth that displayed merchandise and had interactive components such as a large kitten vending machine.[17]

On July 16, 2018 (Prime Day), it was announced that a second expansion, Streaking Kittens, would be released on October 9, 2018. Containing 15 new cards/mechanics, it introduced Mark, Swap Top and Bottom, Catomic Bomb, Curse of the Cat Butt, Garbage Collector, Super Skip, and the Streaking Kitten.[18]

Mobile version[edit]

Microsoft’s Zo chatbot offers a single-player version of Exploding Kittens. [19]

In January 2016, a multiplayer version of the game was released on the iOS platform with new content not found in the original game.[20] In April 2016, the mobile version was also released onto the Android platform, and allowed for cross-platform play between all mobile versions.[21][22]

The mobile-exclusive card types are as follows:

  • Slap: The player ends their turn and makes another player take any other turns they have left plus 1 more. In the second expansion pack, you can also slap yourself. This card is basically the Attack card from the physical deck.
  • Reverse: Reverses turn order and player skips drawing a card. Also in Imploding Kittens.
  • Draw from the Bottom: The player draws from the bottom of the deck and immediately ends their turn. Also in Imploding Kittens.
  • Annoy (Expansion Pack): Makes two random cards in the target player's hand unplayable until they draw a card.
  • Blind (Expansion Pack): Transforms all the target player's cards into cat butts until they draw a card.
  • Fake Shuffle (Expansion Pack 2): Pretends to shuffle the deck, visually showing it to all of the other players in the game. Even though other players see the card as a shuffle, you see it as a fake shuffle. However, the next card you draw is random.
  • Kitten Roll Call (Expansion Pack 2): Relocates all of the Exploding Kitten cards to the top of the deck.
  • Alter the Future (Expansion Pack 2): You can see and alter the future, meaning you can change the order of cards and potentially avoid exploding. Also in the expansion pack, "Imploding Kittens".

The 'Attack' and 'Nope' cards from the original card game were not released in the mobile versions on iOS and Android.


  1. ^ Kooser, Amanda. "But why blow up cats? Inman gives inside scoop on Exploding Kittens". CNET. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  2. ^ "Most Funded Kickstarter projects". Kickstarter. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  3. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhsgYhUDA_M
  4. ^ "Exploding Kittens by Elan Lee". Kickstarter. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  5. ^ Imam, Jareen. "'Exploding Kittens' most backed Kickstarter ever". CNN. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  6. ^ Vincent, James. "Exploding Kittens becomes the most backed Kickstarter project of all time". The Verge. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  7. ^ Bischof, Jackie. "A Card Game About Exploding Kittens Broke a Kickstarter Record". Newsweek. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  8. ^ Dredge, Stuart (February 23, 2015). "Exploding Kittens card game raises $8.8m on Kickstarter". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  9. ^ "Kicktraq:Exploding Kittens". Kicktraq. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  10. ^ "Exploding Kittens". Kickstarter. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
  11. ^ "Kickstarter folk pay $8 MEELLION for joys of EXPLODING KITTENS". The Register. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
  12. ^ "Unstoppable". kickstarter.com. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
  13. ^ "We said "STRETCH" and you said "HOW FAR?"". kickstarter.com. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
  14. ^ "YOU DID IT! LET'S PARTY!". kickstarter.com. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
  15. ^ Formichelli, Linda (July 28, 2017). "Target Unleashes Over 50 New Exclusive Games For The 2017 Holiday Season". Forbes. Retrieved August 2, 2017.
  16. ^ "Secret shelf". Imgur. July 28, 2017. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  17. ^ Harrison, Will (March 17, 2018). "Five things we loved at SXSW Gaming 2018". Austin American Statesman. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  18. ^ https://twitter.com/gameofkittens/status/1018945476832313344
  19. ^ https://venturebeat.com/2017/09/13/microsofts-zo-bot-wants-to-play-exploding-kittens-with-you/
  20. ^ "The Oatmeal's wacky Exploding Kittens debuts on mobile with iOS game". VentureBeat. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  21. ^ "'Exploding Kittens' is now on Android". Engadget. April 20, 2016. Retrieved April 22, 2016.
  22. ^ "'Exploding Kittens' Now Available On Android: New Cats, Hilarity And More". Tech Times. April 21, 2016. Retrieved April 22, 2016.

External links[edit]