In-Depth Review of Exploding Kittens

Review of Exploding Kittens

Exploding Kittens is a card game version of Russian roulette in which exploding kittens are added to a deck in the same way bullets are added to the revolver. So before getting any further into this review, I would like to state that if you are thinking of playing Russian roulette I would highly suggest trying exploding kittens out first as it will certainly not be as life threatening. Furthermore, I also do not suggest or promote trying out Russian roulette for anyone! Now with that out of the way I am going to start with the gameplay before getting in the review of Exploding Kittens. This will hopefully help you get a better idea of what the game will be like.


Before beginning the game a player must deal out one defuse card to each player. These defuse cards are the players’ lifeline if they happen to draw an exploding kitten throughout the course of the game. Allowing a player to simple defuse the exploding kitten and put it back into the deck, but a defuse card can only be used once. Luckily players can get additionally defuse cards from various methods one of which is from simply drawing more cards.

After a a defuse has been dealt out to each player the remaining cards in the deck are then dealt out until each player has a total of five cards including the defuse. Some of the other cards a player can receive are as follows:

  • Nope Card(5 Cards)- This card being by far my favorite one to receive, other than a defuse card of course, allows a player to nope any one action except defusing. The benefits of drawing this card are numerous as it can function as an offensive, defensive, or just straight revenge type of card. Nothing is better than throwing down a nope card and stopping the plans of your friends or acquaintances. Be careful though as players may try to get back at you.
  • Skip Card(4 cards)- The skip card allows a player to skip there turn. This card can be great if you know an exploding kitten is imminent and is often used in conjunction with other cards.
  • Attack Card(4 cards)- The attack card is great card to really screw another player over, as it forces them to draw two cards on their turn. An additionally feature of this card is that it allows the player who plays to also skip their turn. Thus, also providing the function of the skip card with the addition of an offensive action.
  • Shuffle Card(4 cards)- This one seems to be one of the more useless cards especially as the deck gets smaller and smaller. It can however be a lifesaver at times when you are out of defuses and are about to draw an exploding kitten, but of course a skip or attack would work just as well.
  • See the Future Card(5 cards)- This card as you can guess allows players to see into the future. Three cards into the future to be exact, as they are allowed to look at the top three and then must place them back in the same order. The downfall of this card as seeing into the future does you no good without the other cards.
  • Cat Cards(4 of each type)- The cat cards are unique from the other type of cards because they do not have a description on them for what they do. Making them powerless on their own, but in combos and pairs can do some amazing actions. For example, if you have a pair you may steal a card from any players hand.
  • Favor(4 cards)- The favor card forces one player to give you a card from their hand. The catch is they get to choose which card.

After all players have received their cards the exploding kittens that should have been previously left out of the deck are now added in based on how many players you have.

  • 2 players- Add 1 exploding kitten card
  • 3 players- Add 2 exploding kitten cards
  • 4 players- Add 3 exploding kitten cards
  • 5 players- Add 4 exploding kitten cards

As you can tell the amount of exploding kitten cards in the deck are always 1 less than then amount of players participating. Once these cards are added in and the deck is shuffled the game begins.

Players take turns in which they may first play or not play any card in their hand, given that it is an appropriate time to play it. After all desired actions have been taken, a player must then end their turn by drawing a card. This is flipped from most games as players typically draw first. Players will continue to keep taking turns until someone is unfortunate to draw an exploding kitten.

When a player draws an exploding kitten they must use their defuse card. Allowing them to avoid being removed from the game and instead placing the exploding kitten where ever they please in the deck. This can be very helpful if you wish to target the next player, as you can simply place the exploding kitten on top. If a player does not have a defuse card they are “dead” and removed from the game. Players then continue taking turns until one player is left. The last player standing is the winner!

Other Gameplay Options

There are a few additionally rules that players can add to make the game more interesting. For one, players can allows the use of special combos. These combos will add an extra layer of strategy to the game. Here are some of the combos allowed in “Advanced Play.”

  • Two of a Kind-Play any two cards of the same type and steal one card from any opponent. This is the same two of a kind function used with the Cat Cards, but now it applies to all types of cards.
  • Three  of a Kind-Play three of any card and you may steal a card in a similar manor to Two of a Kind from an opponent. The difference is that you can declare what card you want. If they have it you take it, but if they do not have the card you ask for you get nothing.
  • Five Different Cards-If a player plays five cards each one of a different type they may look through the draw pile and take any one card.

Other than the Advanced Play rules you may also try out combining decks to increase the number of people who can play. For example, you can mix two of the same deck and have ten people play or mix the regular deck with the NSFW Explding Kittens deck. Furthermore, you can mix the regular deck or the NSFW deck with the Imploding Kittens thus adding even more depth to the game.

Here is the In-Depth Review of Exploding Kittens:

Below I will list positive points, negative points, and a conclusion review of Exploding Kittens:

Positive Points

Exploding Kittens is super easy to learn as it takes only a few minutes which is great in a party game. Another nice thing about it is that it that adds in to making it such a great party game is that a game last roughly fifteen minutes. On top of that the game becomes more intense as time goes on and the deck gets smaller. So in those fifteen  minutes a lot can happen and by the end players will typically wish to play again and again.

Another aspect of this game that makes it great for being a party game or a quick pick up and play game is that its setup is super quick and easy. As previously stated you only have to deal out defuse cards and four other cards to each player. Then put the appropriate amount of exploding kittens back into the deck shuffle it up and off you go. Also with it being a card game and all the cleanup is super easy compared to other games.

Exploding Kittens also adds some very interesting and well done graphic designs on the cards that can be both pleasing and disturbing to look at depending on which deck you own.

The excitement from not know if you are going draw an Exploding Kitten constantly puts players on edge, especially if they no longer have a defuse.  This makes the game a bit of an adrenaline rush for some.

For the simplicity of this game it packs a decent amount of strategy into it, as players are constantly trying to be tactically in when and how they play their cards. Some may target one player to take them out if they notice they are low on cards.  While others may simple play defensive and just not try to aggravate anyone. Furthermore, the strategy can be increased significantly by playing with the Advanced Rules or with the addition of Imploding Kittens.

My Likes

So other than reasons for why it is a great party game I am going to talk about what I liked in the game.

One of the first things that I noticed I enjoyed about the game was the ability to just target a player. Nothing is better than exacting sweet sweet revenge on your friend who screwed you over in the previous game. This game allows you to do exactly that and is by far one of my favorite things to do. Although, if you are trying to win it may not be you best option strategically speaking, but it is definitely a fun option.

The captions on the cards are another thing that I find myself enjoying, as each card has its own description on it. This helps to keep the game from becoming too mundane especially after consecutive plays.

Negative Points

One of the main negatives in Exploding Kittens is that its gameplay is not anything spectacular. Mainly because of its simplicity which does make it great for some things and is a reason it made it on our Best Board Games for Couples List. The unfortunate part of the simplistic gameplay is that it can get boring pretty easily. The bright side is that depending on who you play the game with and in what way you play it you may never have to worry about this.

Another negative that becomes pretty obvious is the randomness in the game. You are never sure on who may target who or what cards will be drawn. To make matters worse some cards are significantly better than others making the luck of the draw a relatively important aspect of the game. Fortunately, this luck aspect is minimized to a point when a player plays strategically enough.


Exploding Kittens is a quick and easy to learn card game that can be a significant amount of fun. It is a perfect party game that can be played with 2-5 players or even more players with the addition of other decks. The game is overall pretty simple as expected with an easy to learn game, but can gain more complexity with the addition of Imploding Kittens. The theme and graphics are very interesting and well done making the overall experience quite pleasant. The gameplay is not bad, but could definitely use some improvement. There is also a significant amount of luck in the game, but there is also a decent amount of strategy involved with the game too. Making it a game that is easy to play with new players and veterans. Giving both types a decent chance at winning the game.

About the author


James is a father, husband, and coffee addict who plays way too many board games and rarely sleeps.

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