2-5 (up to 9 with 2 decks)
-Not enough card variety
-May play too quickly for some
At the time of its release, Exploding Kittens was the fastest-funded item in Kickstarter history, hitting its goal of $10,000 USD in just 20 minutes. Although I was not one of the backers, I did manage to get a commercial release copy shortly thereafter for a reasonable price and decided to check it out.
This is one of the easiest card games I have ever come across. The way it plays is easy enough for anyone to figure out: Several exploding kitten cards are inserted into the deck (the number varies depending on the player count), and you as players want to avoid getting one. Otherwise, you are out of the game.
Each player starts with one diffuse card as part of their hand, which is used exclusively to stop the kitten from exploding. The rest of the cards are similar to face cards in poker, which can be paired up in order to steal other cards. There are also cards that can prevent the actions of other players, reverse cards, stops (instantly preventing an opposing player from an attempted action) and a few others. All of these are used to not only keep you alive, but knock out the other players as well.
Because it’s a random draw card game, it’s hard to plan a strategy.Although it is possible, you really just have to work with what you get and either avoid the kittens or hope you have a diffuse card in your hand, should you draw a kitten.
The cards themselves all feature hand-drawn cartoons in the Oatmeal style many of you are familiar with. Although many of the cards do the same as others, many of them have their own pictures and captions on them as well. Although not important to the game, they’re still pretty fun to read.
Each game takes about 15 minutes or less, so it plays incredibly fast, and you can get quite a few rounds in in no time. This is actually a negative for me, as I like a longer card game, but others will probably appreciate the pacing.
While it is fun and I do enjoy busting it out with the family, I feel there was far too much hype and not enough substance. Perhaps if the deck had more options for cards to play, it might change my mind.
It’s not a bad game by any means, and I can definitely recommend it for parties or if you just want something quick to play. However, if you’re looking for length, plot, etc., there are better choices available.