Doug's Dungeon - Exploding Kittens
Wellity wellity wellity. It’s been a while since I’ve gone over a smaller game. The kind you want to open game sessions with. Or one to play with beginners. Fast setup. Short rules explanation. Not everyone wants to go over the finer points of Agricola to start the night. But not all simple games are that good. Many games are flawed because of their simplicity, where others are able to create great stories despite their restrictions. Enter: Exploding Kittens.
Exploding kittens is, in my opinion, a masterclass of simple game design. Within the box you’ll find a rules fold-out and a deck of cards. That’s it! This shuffle-and-play title for 2-5 players is a fantastic risk-taking game. Players play as many cards as they wish from their hands, then end by drawing a card. Pretty simple, but with a caveat: If you draw an exploding kitten, YOU DIE*. *Disclaimer: ‘die’ in this context refers being eliminated from a round of ‘Exploding Kittens’™ and in no way causes bodily harm to the players unless said players roughhouse due to said death. Players may prevent death via a defuse, which will be discussed soon.
Now you might be thinking: Gee, if everyone is just drawing from a deck with explosive felines, my death is certain, and quite out of my control! Not quite. Players have tools from their hand of cards to deal with the furry furies. You can play a skip, preventing your end of turn draw. You can play an attack, which is the same thing but making Billy-next-player take 2 (TWO) turns in a row! You can even manipulate the deck, using ‘See the future’ to check the top cards, and dropping a ‘shuffle’ to reorder the deck. And the deck order becomes important because of a card everyone starts with: the defuse.
If you draw a kitten, you are eliminated. Bad luck. Or, if you saw it coming, get gud. You can prevent dieing, however, by playing a defuse. This bad boy lets you take that kitten you drew, and put it back in the deck wherever you like, without looking at any other cards in the deck. Everyone else looks away while this happens, and when you look back, the game really begins. Did Johnny-previous-player put the kitten right on top of the deck for me to draw? Or 2 cards down? OR DID HE PUT IT ON THE BOTTOM LIKE A TROLL???
Once the kittens start being drawn, the game turns into a mud-wrestling contest of who can manipulate the deck and player draws the best. It’s not always a good idea to play many cards, or any cards at all. With no hand limit, frugal players can try to draw cards willy-nilly, adding to a pool of resources. Aggressive players can find themselves out of steam with a smaller hand, and more vulnerable to “I’ll have a card from your hand, thanks” effects. The bigger your hand is, the harder it is to steal your hard earned defuses.
As the deck thins, confrontations escalate. Kittens fire more often. Hand sizes dwindle. And ultimately, the last man standing wins. I always pack Exsmitten Kittens in my lineup of games, as it WILL see play. The game caters to as many kitten cards you have plus 1. So if you were to grab the NSFW expansion (with much naughtier cards), you can have up to 9 players at the table! Comic artist “The Oatmeal” really makes the cards shine, as so much care and imagination went into each image.
With the Imploding Kittens expansion, there are more tools for you to take to the table, including the dreaded IMPLODING KITTEN.
It can’t be reasoned with.
It stays face up even when defused.
And once it hits again, you’re done.
Also I heard he said you couldn’t put on the best damn 7-act opera this town has ever seen. Are you gunna take that?
I'm an avid lover of all things table top. I also have a growing collection of board games which inspire me to create my own. I put my loud and expressive personality to good use as a dungeon master for my friends, having run many campaigns through 4th and 5th edition D&D.
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