All a Board — Exploding Kittens + 1st Expansion Pack!

Hey guys, let’s talk cards. And by that, I mean card games. While looking at my pile of game collection and deciding which one to write next, I decided on the small red box of cards that is Exploding Kittens. This game is especially suiting around this time of year. I bought a copy of this game for my friend last Christmas, and she seemed to really enjoy it. For my birthday this year, she bought me the 1st expansion pack – Imploding Kittens. It was released in October and I probably laughed non-stop for 5 minutes after opening the box.

I’ve always been a huge fan of The Oatmeal. I own every one of his printed comic books, and I get super excited every time he publishes a new web comic. So in early 2015 when Matthew Inman started pushing a Kickstarter campaign about a card game that he’s working on with 2 other game developers, I decided that I needed to try the game out. It was an extremely successful campaign – most backers in Kickstart history, in fact!

Exploding Kittens – Gameplay & Review


First of all, I bought the Original version. It’s a game I pictured myself playing with people such as my boyfriend’s parents, nieces and nephews, and as cool as they all are, I just didn’t want to deal out cards with NSFW illustrations at family dinner.

For this game, you and up to 4 other players each start out with 6 cards + 1 Diffuse card in your hand. The Diffuse card is used to save yourself from being out of the game when you draw an Exploding Kitten card. After setting up the game, everyone take turns drawing a card from a face-down deck, while trying to avoid the Exploding Kitten card. Whomever draws the Exploding Kitten card and has no Diffuse is immediately out, and the last player standing wins the game.

There’s a good amount of strategy involved here. Throughout the game, you’re not only keeping track of your action cards and figuring out the best ways to avoid the Exploding Kitten card, but you’re also trying to reduce the amount of ammo that your opponents have. Personally I love trying to steal my opponents’ Diffuse cards. Things get pretty intense halfway into the draw pile when you’re out of your Diffuse and realizing that the EK can come up anytime now.

Pros

  • The rules are SO EASY to learn, because Matthew Inman is a freaking artistic genius. He lays each step out in a concise manner, and adds a touch of his humour into the graphics. Not to mention each card is pretty self-explanatory. I am so tired of reading gaming manuals. Most of the time, they’re not very well-written. Plus they are so dry that sometimes I opt to watching an instruction demo on YouTube instead. Which, by the way, totally exists for this game as well. Also made by Matthew. Also hilarious.
  • The graphics are amazing! No doubt that Matthew Inman is a great illustrator. He definitely brought it to this game and it’s the main part on why it makes Exploding Kittens so entertaining.
  • I really enjoy the game-play length. It’s not a game that drags on forever, but it also gives you enough ammo to keep you in the game for at least the first little bit. That is, if you play your cards right.
  • It’s kid-friendly. This is a game that will entertain people of all ages.

Cons

  • I really can’t think of any, to be honest. It’s definitely better with more than 2 people though.

Imploding Kittens Expansion – Gameplay & Review


Alright, let’s talk about this beautiful expansion pack. At first, I wondered why the box was shaped pretty strangely. Turns out it’s because it includes a cone of shame. Yes, you read that right, and it looks exactly like this:

A photo posted by Annie (@ayjsheng) on

In the expansion pack, you are given 6 new types of playing cards. There’s the Feral Cat, which can work as any type of cat card. Targeted Attack is like the Attack card in the original, but you can pick a target to use it on. Alter the Future is like the See the Future card, but lets you also re-arrange the top 3 cards. Draw From the Bottom let’s you draw a card from the bottom instead, and Reverse makes the turn go in the opposite direction. The Cone of Shame is used when the first player forgets whose turn comes next in the game. It’s a pretty hilarious addition.

newcards

Now, about that Imploding Kitten card. Once someone has drawn that card, they must turn it face-up and put it anywhere they like in the draw pile. The next person to pick up that card immediately loses. It’s definitely the deadliest card in the game because there’s no way you can diffuse it. That’s why it’s important to stock up on Skip, Attack, Targeted Attack and Reverse cards once that face-up card is staring you in the face at the top of the draw pile. The only way to avoid picking up that card is to push your turn onto someone else.

Pros

  • I like the new cards and the Imploding Kitten card adds a second enemy into the game. It can get pretty heated when you’re trying to avoid not one, but two cards, anywhere in the draw pile.

Cons

  • Again, definitely better with more than 2 players. Especially because the Targeted Attack and Reverse pretty much work like the original Attack and Skip cards in the original game if you only have 2 players present.

Annie is the Online Community Coordinator for Link Magazine and a student in BCIT's New Media Design & Web Development program. She is also a BCIT 2014 grad in the Marketing Management Diploma program. Coming from a sales and marketing background, Annie has done work for start-ups and a major hotel company. Outside of school and work, she enjoys playing board games, yoga, cooking up a new recipe, trying out new craft beer, and trying to finish up a painting that's been in progress for nearly two years.

asheng@bcitsa.ca