Exploding Kittens Game Review: Minimalist Strategy Card Game

Exploding kittens game is a card game that has become popular in the last year. It was created by Elan Lee, Shane Small, and Matthew Inman (the cartoonist behind The Oatmeal). This review will cover what to expect when you play this game, as well as how it stacks up against other games of its class.

The first thing I want to focus on is the gameplay which takes about 15-20 minutes for an average player with three cards drawn each time they go around the table. The object of exploding kittens is not to be left holding a card at the end of a round after someone says “I’m going to explode some kittens.” You can also win or lose based on points if there are multiple rounds.

ReleaseAugust 24, 2015
Players2-5
Playing Time15 Minutes
Age7+
CategoryCard Game
BrandExploding Kittens LLC
MaterialCardstock, Cardboard
Item Dimensions LxWxH4.41 x 6.38 x 1.5 inches

Overview and Theme

The cards for this game are very simple with no text, numbers, or images. Each suite is represented by an archetype of a cat (i.e., one has sunglasses on) and each number card starts with a kitten who gets closer to “exploding” as you go up in value.

The highest valued numerical card only goes to five so if you get one that is a six, then the value counts as zero.

There are also types of cards that can change gameplay like “Nope” which makes your opponents draw two more cards or “Draw Pile” where everyone searches for the next card in the pile and puts it into their hand. Some other examples include Reverse, Skip, and Shuffle.

There are also special cards with different effects like “Nope” which makes your opponents draw two more cards or “Draw Pile” where everyone searches for the next card in the pile and puts it into their hand. Some other examples include Reverse, Skip, and Shuffle.

Easy to learn
Cooperative gameplay (no player elimination)
Can be played with three players or more
Quick gameplay (15 minutes)
The quality of the card is not very good

Mechanics and Rules

The game starts with each player being dealt two cards. Then the top card is flipped over and put into the center to start a draw pile, which then begins to be played on by each person in turn. Players can play either “Kitten” cards or number cards onto the growing stack of playing cards however they would like as long as it follows a numerical sequence.

Each player can have no more than three cards in their hand at a time, so if they do not want to play something then they need to draw from the stack or use an effect card that makes them discard some other cards instead of playing it on the pile.

To win you must get rid of all your cards before anyone else does. If a player has the “I’m going to explode some kittens” card in their hand then they can end the game before no one else takes any more turns by saying that phrase and turning it over, but if you do this too many times (once per round) then you will not be winning as quickly as everyone else so usually people wait until it is just down to themselves and one other person.

The only problem with this game is that the cards are not always dealt equally so some people will have a better hand than others, but if you play enough times then over time everyone should be close in terms of card values which makes for more even matches. There also might be a problem with there being too many cards for a certain round so it takes longer to play, but this is not something that happens very often.

Gameplay: Complexity and Replayability

The game is easy to learn but gets difficult as you go on because there are so many cards that it can be hard to find the next one. The first few rounds take only a couple of minutes, but then once everyone has played their first hand then it takes longer for other players since they have more options available with three cards in front of them.

This game is also very replayable because you get new cards every time someone buys the game or when they make an expansion for it.

This means that each round will be different and there are many combinations of effects to try out which makes this one of my favorite games in terms of how much fun I have playing with friends.

Exploding Kittens Review: Components and Setup

The cards for this game are very simple with no text, numbers, or images. Each suite is represented by an archetype of a cat (i.e., one has sunglasses on) and each number card starts with a kitten who gets closer to “exploding” as you go up in value. The highest valued numerical card only goes to five so if you get one that is a six, then the value counts as zero.

The game also comes with some tokens which are used to represent how many times someone has won and there are some variant rules in case things start to go on for too long or not long enough so players can decide what length of time they want it to take before they count as the winner. This game also has a cute box design, but it can make it hard to fit everything back in which is the only reason I am giving this category an eight instead of ten.

The components and setup for this game are not very complex because all you need is some paper, pens/pencils, and tokens along with fifty-two playing cards and the instructions which make it easy to transport around.

This game should take no more than five minutes to set up because each player just needs a pen/pencil, paper, and their two starting cards or one of the twelve other kinds that come with the expansion sets (there are currently three expansions).

Artwork and Component Quality

The artwork for this game is very simple, but I think that it works well with the minimalist strategy card game theme. The main reason why I like this style of art is that it makes me want to use all sorts of crazy combinations when playing which adds another element of fun into the gameplay since you never know what cards other people are going to get or what combination of cards will be played next.

The quality of this game is also very good because the cards are not flimsy, but they do have a bit of giving to them which makes it easier to shuffle and pick up without damaging them too much.

There is also an expansion set that comes with twelve new kinds of cards so you can have a total of fifty-six cards if you include the original twelve which is an amount that makes for some very complex games.

I would recommend this game to anyone looking for a fun card game that doesn’t take too long and can be played with up to six people because it has great replayability, artwork, component quality, and easy setup/breakdown.

Packaging and Unboxing

The game comes in a nice box with fun artwork that makes me think of the cat film, Kedi. The packaging is very simple since it only has some text on one side but nothing else which allows you to easily store this product even if there are expansion packs included (there currently are three). One thing I like about the packaging is that the game comes with a small card explaining how to play so you don’t need to go on boardgamegeek or watch some youtube video in order to understand what everyone else is doing.

The unboxing process for this product was very simple since all I had to do was open it up and everything came out of the box easily (which is something I can’t say about some other games). One thing that surprised me was the small card with instructions but since it’s only one page, you don’t need to worry about losing anything.

Bottom Line

This game is an excellent strategy card game that can be played anywhere without taking up too much space. I have had the most fun with this one when playing at a bar or party because it’s easy to learn, quick enough so people don’t get bored but long enough to make you want to play again.

This is a game that I highly recommend to everyone because of its simple rules, fun combination possibilities, and excellent replayability. It’s also worth mentioning that there are three expansions available so with just one game, you can have hundreds of different kinds of decks to play with which makes this game even more fun.

Price
5
Easy to Play
5
Gameplay
5
Artwork & Components
4
Result
4.8
I would recommend this game if you are looking for an easily transportable strategy card game (or want something to play on planes or car rides) that is fun to play with up to six people and has cute artwork, well-made components, and good packaging.

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