(Giveaway) Exploding Kittens is a great gateway game and undeniably modern classic

Quick turns, silly artwork and deadly odds made Exploding Kittens into a modern classic.

Frankly, I’m surprised that we haven’t written anything up about Exploding Kittens before. The main reason might be that it’s a phenomenon that happened just before B3 came into existence. We missed the record-breaking 2015 Kickstarter campaign, and backers had received their copies of the game half a year before Big Boss Battle came into existence.

Anyway, the Exploding Kittens team has, undoubtedly, changed board gaming with their game and their games that followed. Board games are back, and while it might largely be spearheaded by Eurogames in the more dedicated shops, games like On a Scale of One to T-Rex, Throw, Throw Burrito, Power Hungry Pets and, of course, Exploding Kittens, are now found in book shops, supermarkets and, well, queue barriers everywhere.

But, you’re presumably here because you’ve not played Exploding Kittens and you’re wondering if it’s good or even how to play it. Luckily for you, you won’t need to read much further, because it’s an incredibly simple game that requires only minor planning ahead.

Players are each dealt a hand of cards (there’s some prepping done on the deck to make sure people don’t instantly wipe out) and then play commences. Each player takes turns, with a turn comprising of the player using any action cards they have in their hand and then drawing a card. If they draw the card and it’s an exploding kitten then they are out unless they can play a defuse card.

If they do defuse it then the defuse card is out of the game (increasing the chances of failure in future) but the exploding kitten card is not, with the player able to choose where they insert the card into the deck.

That’s very much the core of the game. There are a few cards that allow you to undo other player’s actions (Nope cards, which can go on repeatedly), and the action cards allow for some clever turns such as peeking at the deck and skipping your turn. The absence of a limit on the number of action cards is clever, and so it means that once you’ve got some familiarity with the cards you can pull off some truly cunning moves… however, because of its ‘What it Says on the Card’ rulings it means that anybody who can read can quickly jump into it.

The one thing that adds an extra wrinkle in is trading off multiples of non-action cards. If you get a double you can steal an unrevealed card from another player, and if you have three then you can name a player and a card and, if they have it, you get it. If not, no such luck.

When it comes to things that it does poorly there aren’t many — It was an instant classic for a reason. The artwork might have weirded out some people, but for others its the main selling point. The only real thing that there is to take issue with is, well, the curse of all board games, the instructions. They’re compact and well ordered, basically an A5 leaflet folded into quarters, however a square of that is dedicated to linking to the (incredibly easy to understand) online instructions. There’s little to no reason why most of this couldn’t have just fit on a card, it’s basically two paragraph’s worth of text which could likely be compressed further with some iconography on the cards… but, what kind of complaint is that? Most people will likely never look at the instructions again after they’ve played a couple of rounds.

Exploding Kittens is a modern classic and a very quick to pick up and easy to play gateway card game.

Exploding Kittens is available now from Amazon.

Looking to get your friends or family into board games? Check out our list of great, accessible games, perfect for just that, here.

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17 Comments
  1. Maya Russell says

    I like the fact that it is easy to pick up. I don’t like too may difficult to remember rules.

  2. Margaret Ms. Gallagher says

    Love the fun element – perfect for all the family to join in

  3. julia Linsley says

    I LOVE THAT IT HAS EASY ONLINE INSTRUCTIONS

  4. Brendan Payne says

    It seems easy for the children and the rest of the family to play this together rather than them on xbox etc

  5. Corinne Peat says

    I love the look of the artwork. We have cats so it will appeal to the kids!

  6. Becci Cleary says

    Love how if you can’t diffuse the card you’re out. Sure fire way of stopping any arguments in this house!

  7. Annabel Greaves says

    This looks like great fun to play with friends

  8. Charlotte isobelle says

    I like the idea of different games, I love card games too.

  9. Paul Brown says

    easy to learn and great fun to play

  10. lisa tebbutt says

    love to try this game

  11. Gill Foster says

    Looks like FUN

  12. Emma Foster says

    I just love anything about kittens!!

  13. Claire V says

    Played this at a recent board game event, was great fun

  14. lynn neal says

    I love that it is a compact game that is easy to take out with us for entertainment when we are away from home!

  15. LAURA JONES says

    this game looks great fun colourful and would be great fun to play, I love board games nothing like them for family fun

  16. Gary Lawlor says

    Must-have prize!

  17. Ursula Hunt says

    I like that it will be something we can all play as a family

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