Recommended: Exploding Kittens is fun, irreverent, and with the NSFW expansion downright dirty. It's a great party game for friends, but with the base game can also be fun for families. It's extremely easy to learn, and gameplay is quick. Strategy becomes a factor as you learn to play, and how best to position the exploding kittens in the deck and use cards to force others to draw. I would play this game again without a doubt. If you're into card games, party games, or just want something different to play this game might just be for you.
Editor's Note: Trever played the game using the copy of a friend whom had backed the project; as such, we have put it as a 'gift' copy since he did not pay but it was not a copy provided for review by a third party.
Exploding Kittens is a tabletop card game developed and published by Exploding Kittens LLC. Exploding Kittens is the result of the most backed Kickstarter in history, as of this writing. Created by Elan Lee, Matthew Inman, and Shane Small, this is a quick, fun, and energetic game where players basically play a game of Russian roulette (I called it that last night before having read the game's page), where the gun is a draw deck and the bullets are cards with exploding kittens on them. Play is simple. Each player gets four cards, and one defuse card. During your turn you can play as many cards as you want, at the end of your turn you draw. If it's an exploding kitten you die, and you're out of the game, unless you have a defuse card. Last player alive wins. Sitting around a small table with a large group of friends, beer and other drinks in hand, one of those friends opened a cute little cardboard box with kittens on the front, and everyone giggled like little kids at the electronic 'meow' the box emitted. That started a couple of rounds of one of the best card games I've played in awhile.
Other cards include nope cards that counter any other player's actions, including defuse and other nope cards. Skip cards that let's you end your turn without drawing a card, and attack cards that not only let you skip your draw, but makes the next player draw two cards. Favor cards let you force another player to give you one of their cards. See the future cards, that let you...well see the future, as in draw the top three cards, look at them, and put them back in the same order, and shuffle cards in case you want to 'spin the cylinder' before drawing. Finally there are cat cards, with humorous cat pictures on them, which don't do anything unless you play them in special combinations.
The quality of the cards and box is better than a lot of the games that have become popular over the years. The card coating and thickness are what one would expect from a quality deck of poker cards, durable, and slick without being ultra-glossy. The box is also not your average flip-top contraption that just slides the cards in the top, and tends to never last as long as the cards. The set fits in a durable, almost case, with a magnetic flap. The only drawback to the packaging and quality is the cute 'meow' the box emits eventually wears out with the battery (meowing boxes are limited edition only).
Players at the table commented on how easy the game is to learn, and it really was. One quick description of play, and less than one full round of play and we had it. The hilarity comes from the descriptions on the card, and has the most impact when players read them aloud when they play them. "I rub the belly of a pigacorn to see the future, then a plague of bat farts descends from the sky to shuffle the deck," is so much better than "I look at the top three cards, then shuffle the deck." It's definitely one of those games that's even more fun at parties where libations are had, but not necessarily required. Strategy is not necessary, but it's something I think most people quickly pick up on. You can look at the deck, skip your draw if you see an exploding kitten, and shuffle the deck if you can't skip. Twice I was down to no cards in my hand, at which point the game truly becomes like Russian roulette, with your only choice being a draw, and no defuse card if you get one of the explody ones.
The game is fun, there's no denying that, and the base game would have a lot of appeal for families and kids as long as fart jokes don't bother the parents. We also had the NSFW expansion added to the deck, which made things even more twisted and funny. The card types are all the same, along with more exploding kitties so you can increase the number of players, but the descriptions on the cards are definitely not safe for work. The inspiration for the art is obvious right away in Matthew Inman's (The Oatmeal) work, and the team put together great game that I hope to play again.