Game Title: Exploding Kittens
Release Date: 2015
Number of Players: 2-5 (4 is recommended number)
Average Game Time: 15 minutes
Game Publisher: Self-Published
Game Designer: Matthew Inman, Elan Lee, Shane Small
Available in Stores: Yes
Age Restriction: 30 and up? (In all honesty, probably not suited for anyone under 18)
Holy crap guys, this game. Where do I begin to explain the insanity that is Exploding Kittens? Created and published by 3 clever (and somewhat twisted) individuals, Exploding Kittens found an extremely high level of success early in its development through an aggressive Kickstarter campaign. When it was first created, Matthew Inman (creator of The Oatmeal comics), Elan Lee (Game designer for Xbox/ARGs), and Shane Small (Xbox/Marvel game designer) all got into a room and had a conversation that I pretty much assume went exactly like this:
Inman: OK guys, we need to create the most ridiculous game concept in the history of mankind so I can have an excuse to draw a cat shaped like a taco. What are your thoughts?
[pause for dramatic effect]
Lee: I’ve got it! A game where we draw a bunch of funny versions of cats… that EXPLODE!
Small: Brilliant! And we should totally add back hair, unicorn enchiladas, worm holes, and goats into the mix!
Inman: Whoa, hold on guys. This idea… NEEDS MORE LASER BEAMS!
That’s what I think happened, and if you tell me it went any other way I won’t believe you.
Now to get into the gameplay itself; you can pick up this game and be a master at it within about 5 minutes. The concept at its core is a card game equivalent to Russian Roulette, with some added twists and strategies to make the game more interesting. You draw and play cards until you draw an exploding kitten card, and unless you have a defuse card (you get 1 at the beginning of the game and more are added to the deck) you lose the game and are “out”. The last player standing is the winner.
I think it’s safe to say that the best quality this game has is its humor. Just check out this YouTube video to show how ridiculous and entertaining the creators and the game both are:
There was a lot of creativity, randomness, and art all thrown together and added into a deck of cards. It ends up being a very fun game that makes you laugh almost constantly as you play, especially for the first time. The gameplay is simple but gets exciting as the game gets closer to the end, and even losing early isn’t so bad because you can watch events unfold quickly from the sidelines.
Replay value is moderate; you will want to play the game multiple times when you first get it, but it will probably be a game you will play in bursts. Once you’ve read all of the cards and laughed at their wit and humor, it won’t be the same game experience until you take a break from the game for a while. In addition, the simplicity is great for first time players but also makes the game less captivating after a few playthroughs.
Ultimately games are supposed to capture your attention, bring you and your friends together, and be fun. Exploding Kittens does all three of these things and does them well. I highly recommend this game as a fun alternative to actual Russian Roulette, which I hear is not the best way to spend an evening (citation needed).
Jack’s Rating: 4/5 stars