Exploding Kittens

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Exploding Kittens
Exploding Kittens.png
DesignersElan Lee and Shane Small
IllustratorsThe Oatmeal
PublishersThe Oatmeal
PublicationJuly 2015
GenresCard game
Setup time< 1 minutes
Playing time15 minutes

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 the most backers in Kickstarter history. At completion on February 19, 2015, it had US$8,782,571 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] Exploding Kittens is described as a “strategic card game about cats and destruction”.


Exploding Kittens game play test 01.JPG

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 any trivial condition.

Each player may then play as many cards from their hand as they like on their turn, or choose not to do so, 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.

If a player draws an Exploding Kitten card, they must show it immediately and they are out of the game, unless they have a Defuse card. The last player still in the game wins.


Exploding Kittens has become the third biggest Kickstarter campaign of all time, raising $8.7 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 US$10,000, 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.

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]


Additionally, the creators released a number of expansion packs, most of which require a copy of Exploding Kittens to play.

The first, Imploding Kittens, was released in October 2016. It increases the number of players from 5 to 6, and adds 20 new cards.[18] 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 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.[19][20]

The third expansion, Barking Kittens, was released on June 5, 2020. It contains 20 cards, introduced Bury, Alter the Future Now, I'll Take That, Share the Future, Tower of Power, Personal Attack (3x), Potluck and Barking Kittens.[21]

Mobile versions[edit]

Microsoft's Zo chatbot offered a single-player version of Exploding Kittens.[22]

In January 2016, a multiplayer version of the game was released on the iOS platform with new content not found in the original game.[23] In April 2016, the mobile version was also released onto the Android platform, and allowed for cross-platform play between all mobile versions.[24][25] It was also available on Nintendo Switch.

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

Netflix's free-to-play mobile game "Exploding Kittens - The Game" was announced in April 2022 and was launched on May 31.[26][27] The game is available to its users at no additional cost and will have no in-app purchases.[26]

TV series adaptation[edit]

In April 2022, an animated streaming television series was announced by Netflix with King of the Hill creators Mike Judge and Greg Daniels as executive producers.[26] Additional game mechanics and cards tied to the show will be added to the mobile game at a later date.[26] The series is scheduled for a 2023 release.[26]


  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. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: EXPLODING KITTENS IS HERE! (Game Bang). YouTube.
  4. ^ "Exploding Kittens by Elan Lee". Kickstarter. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  5. ^ Imam, Jareen (January 28, 2015). "'Exploding Kittens' most backed Kickstarter ever". CNN. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  6. ^ Vincent, James (January 28, 2015). "Exploding Kittens becomes the most backed Kickstarter project of all time". The Verge. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  7. ^ Bischof, Jackie (February 2, 2015). "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. ^ "Imploding Kittens Game Rules". Ultra Board Games. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  19. ^ @gameofkittens (July 16, 2018). "Happy #PrimeDay2018The latest expansion of Exploding Kittens is now available for preorder. 15 game-changing card…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  20. ^ "STREAKING KITTENS: Expansion".
  21. ^ "BARKING KITTENS: Expansion".
  22. ^ "Microsoft's Zo bot wants to play Exploding Kittens with you". September 13, 2017.
  23. ^ "The Oatmeal's wacky Exploding Kittens debuts on mobile with iOS game". VentureBeat. January 21, 2016. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  24. ^ "'Exploding Kittens' is now on Android". Engadget. April 20, 2016. Retrieved April 22, 2016.
  25. ^ "'Exploding Kittens' Now Available On Android: New Cats, Hilarity And More". Tech Times. April 21, 2016. Retrieved April 22, 2016.
  26. ^ a b c d e "'Exploding Kittens' Animated Series, Mobile Game Coming to Netflix". The Hollywood Reporter. April 18, 2022. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  27. ^ "All the New Mobile Games Coming to Netflix in May". Netflix Media Center (Press release). May 24, 2022.

External links[edit]