Exploding Kittens: How to Play and Why It’s So Popular

Exploding Kittens: How to Play and Why It’s So Popular

We all have heard of this intriguing card game called Exploding Kittens. But not all of us know its creation story and what is left behind the scene. Here we are going to reveal some facts about the game and tell its basic rules which made a fuss!

Building up the Game

Once upon a time, a bunch of Xbox workers came together to hang out but they got bored pretty soon. So they took a deck of cards and began sticking jokers randomly into it and drawing the cards from the top of the deck. The one who drew joker busted. The game turned out to be not so exciting as they imagined. But the guys were captured by the idea of busting or “exploding” while drawing the cards, and they continued to develop the rules.    

A little later, Matthew Inman, a popular blogger and comic author, got to know about their idea. This guy really liked the game and offered his help in the promotion of the game. They could not refuse the offer from such a famous star. So he joined the team, and the work continued. In this way, the joker turned into a kitten, and the game was filled with some hilarious characters. The game was called Exploding Kittens and after numerous alterations, they unanimously came to the final version of the design and concept of the game. The developers used Kickstarter for fundraising and their campaign appeared to be more than successful. They set the record for the highest number of participants of fundraising as well as for the highest amount raised on Kickstarter by any of the games. More than 200,000 people donated money, a total of 8 million dollars, to start manufacturing the game as soon as possible. As for today, more than 8 million copies are sold, and this number broke the record in adult games, games for kids and everything in between. The game rules can be compared to UNO, but with explosions, goats, and, of course, kittens. The game includes 56 cards and an instruction, packed into a solid cardboard box. 

The Idea and Rules of the Exploding Kittens

This game is for 2-5 participants. The players take turns to draw the cards from the top of the deck. The player, who draws an Exploding Kitten, busts, so it is basically the card version of Russian roulette. The Exploding Kitten cards have different pictures, but their essence is the same. The alternative for busting or “exploding” is having a Defuse card. By playing this card, you shuffle the Exploding Kitten back to the deck. If you don’t have a Defuse card, you bust and leave the Exploding Kitten face-up in front of you. 

If you draw the card that is not an Exploding Kitten, you just keep it in your hand. At the beginning of the game, each player is dealt 5 cards, among them, there is going to be only one Defuse card. In the deck, there should be one Exploding Kitten card less than the number of the players, which means that only one will be left, so it is basically an elimination game. Before drawing a card from the deck, you can play any number of action cards. 

Exploding Kittens Cards

Action Cards

  1. Attack. By playing the Attack card, you don’t need to draw a card from the deck at the end of your turn. Furthermore, the next players must take two turns, that means, to draw two cards. 
  2. Nope. The Nope card can be played at any time, by placing it on the card played by the other player, and their card will not have the effect. The Nope card works for all the cards except the Defuse card. Obviously, it’s one of the favorite cards of all players. 
  3. Skip. The Skip card works like the Attack card, but you don’t need to draw a card at the end of your turn, it decreases your chances of getting an Exploding Kitten.
  4. Shuffle. The Shuffle card grants a possibility to shuffle the deck. Why do you need to do that? If any other player has drawn an Exploding Kitten card but could defuse it, they can shuffle it back into the deck. Many players just put it on top of the deck dooming you to lose. 
  5. See The Future. See The Future card allows you to check three top cards from the deck without changing their position. By doing so, you can find out what is waiting for you and other players. There is little sense in using See The Future card if you don’t have the Attack, Skip or Shuffle cards.   
  6. Favor. The Favor card allows you to take a card from the other player’s hand, but usually, people drop cards of questionable value. 

Apart from the action cards, there you can find also Cat cards. Don’t confuse them with the Exploding Kittens. These cards are harmless, and in some cases can be even useful. If you gather 2 identical cards, you can play them and steal any card from any player’s hand. It is wiser to steal cards from the player with fewer cards if you know they have a Defuse card, the most valuable card in the game. If you gather three identical cards, you can steal openly, just asking for the card you need. You can form pairs or trios from virtually any cards. 


The game is dynamic and fun. Plus, it’s quite exciting, as after you play a Defuse card, each new card move can be your last move. You will start thinking about getting a Defuse card from the other players. By the way, there is another Defuse card in the deck beside the cards dealt. You will have endless fun playing this game of strategy and luck. The playtime is approximately 15 minutes, and we promise you will not be bored. We invite you to try to play this game of chance and skill in a company of friends or with kids as a family game. 

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