Monday, August 10, 2015

Exploding Kittens - DICE HEAD REVIEW

Do you like cats?
How about explosions?
And lasers? Do you like lasers?
How do you feel about goats?
Are you curious to know what would happen if a Pterodactyl and a Bear had a lovechild?

If you answer positively to any of those questions then 1) we should hang out, and 2) We should play exploding kittens while hanging out.

Exploding Kittens is a card game designed by Elan Lee, Shane Small and Matthew Inman from the comic “The Oatmeal”. This project is the wet dream of anyone who has ever wanted to crowdfund a project. The original goal was to raise 10,000 USD. Within minutes (literally minutes…) they had reached their 10,000 USD goal. Then after 7 days they passed the 106,000 backer mark, breaking the record for the most backers in Kickstarter history. By the end of the Kickstarter campaign they had raised $8,782,571 USD in pledges by 219,382 backers.
That’s a lot of money.

So after much designing, playtesting and sending out surveys to their backers, they finally sent out the first batch of exploding kittens all over the world. I myself received mine last week and have played several times since. So today I bring you my review of the game, focusing on what it has to offer, the gameplay experience, and the feel of the game.


My version of the game comes with 
1) The rules of the game
2) A regular exploding kittens deck (2 to 5 players)
3) A box to carry the game

In addition to this I opted to buy an additional deck called the "NSFW deck" which can be played as a standalone deck, or by adding it to the regular deck to allow for more players (and more 'SPLOSIONS!). As you may imagine the "NSFW deck" has more... "adult" illustrations, but if you've ever read any comic on The Oatmeal site, then you know what to expect.

The NSFW deck contains:

1) The rules of the game (including a guide on how to mix it with the regular deck)
2) An NSFW exploding kittens deck (2 to 5 players)
3) A box to carry the game


The game describes itself as a "Russian roulette". You draw cards until you draw an exploding kitten, which then causes you to explode, losing the game in the process. You win the game by playing cards to either avoid drawing a card, or avoid death by kitty explosion.

The types of cards:

Exploding kittens: The deck starts with a number of exploding kittens equal to one less than the number of players (4 exploding kittens for 5 players, 3 for 4, etc)

Green cards: These are the defuse cards, you use them to defuse the exploding kittens and avoid death by 'splosion. After successfully playing this card (see the red NOPE card) you may re-insert the exploding kitten ANYWHERE in the deck (which lends itself to some pretty nasty strategies).

Blue Cards: lets you skip a turn.

Pink Cards: See the future by looking at the top 3 cards of the deck and returning them in the same order.

Orange cards: Attack cards. Lets you skip a turn and makes the next player take 2 turns.

Brown cards: These cards let you shuffle the deck before you draw a card.

Black cards: Favor cards let you choose another player and have him choose a card from his hand and give it to you.

Red cards: The Nope card. This card negates any other card except for the exploding kitten and defuse cards, and may be played at anytime to stop another player from doing anything. MY FAVORITE TYPE OF CARD BY FAR.

Yes, that card does say "Don a portable cheetah butt"

Cat cards: There are other cards with kitty-related illustrations. These cards do nothing on their own, but if played together (two of a kind, three of a kind, 5 different cards) they let you execute other advanced plays, like picking a card from your opponent's hand, or picking a card from the discard pile.

 Everyone starts the game with 5 cards in their hand: 1 Defuse card, and 4 random cards from the deck. After the cards have been dealt, the remaining defuse cards and the exploding kittens are mixed with the rest of the cards, the deck is placed in the center of the table and the game can begin!

The game starts out at a moderate pace, and since everyone starts with a defuse card, everyone has a fair chance of not getting blow up in the first few rounds. But then as the deck becomes smaller, the impending doom becomes greater and greater. The tension builds up as players start exploding faster and faster, It's tons of fun because even when you blow up and lose you feel like you're having a great time!


This game is fun. I tried it out at home, then with some friends at a party, and we had a blast. You could see the cards as simple colored cards, but it's way more fun to actually read the descriptions and appreciate the bizarre drawings on them. One of my favorite things is watching a person draw a card, and see how their face goes from a confused look to a snort and a laugh in a few seconds.

Now, about the nope card...

I've mentioned before how much I love the nope card, but you have to experience the thrill that comes with playing one of these by yourself. Imagine it's down to just two of you and your friend draws a card. It's an exploding kitten. He plays it and tries to defuse it via a Catnip sandwich card. But then you slap your nope card on the table with a loud "NOPE!". He smiles  cockily as the pulls out a SECOND defuse card, this time a "Cat therapy" card. He seems to have saved himself from the impending explosion but "NOPE!"... you had a SECOND nope card in your hand! Now he's done, defeated! BOOM!!! there goes the exploding kitten, and the game is yours!

So good... SO GOOD.

The game is very fast so you could play a good 3 or 4 rounds within an hour once everyone's familiarized with the rules and how to play. And learning the rules is really easy and fast. The game states that you'll spend 2 minutes learning to play, and 15 minutes playing it. I'd say this is pretty accurate.

The Illustrations by Matthew Inman are simple yet hilariously comical. One has to wonder how he comes up with stuff like "A Butt tuba spelled backwards is still A butt tuba" and then make an illustration for that. But like I said before, if you are familiar with his comics then this is exactly what you'd expect from him. 

As of right now only the backers of the Kickstarter campaign will receive copies of it, however the Exploding Kittens website has put up a mailing list in case you'd like to be notified when new sets of the game are available for purchase.

Considering all of this, I would definitely recommend picking this game up once it's available for purchase. Take it to a party and play it with your friends, have a few drinks and enjoy the sillyness of this very unique game.

Let me know what other products you would like to see me review next (If any). I'm working on a "Legend of the 5 rings RPG" review, on top of some other things, but I really welcome your feedback regarding this blog and I look forward to reviewing some other games for you, so if you have any favorites that you'd like to recommend to me, then leave a suggestion in the comment section below