Exploding Kittens is the shuffle card game that just keeps growing in popularity. There is one goal among the players – don’t explode. But that goal is harder than you think. Now, with the new two-player pack of Exploding Kittens hitting the shelves, it’s time for an in-depth review of this popular game.
What is Exploding Kittens?
Exploding Kittens is a last-player game. The goal is to not get an exploding kitten card from the draw pile. The draw pile helps out with defuse cards and actions such as catnip and laser pointer. It’s a fast and simple game that is perfect for tweens.
The base pack contains 56 cards. Expansions include Imploding Kittens, Streaking Kittens and Barking Kittens. Games in the Exploding “family” include Zombie Kittens, the Party Pack edition, NSFW Exploding Kittens, Cat Burglar, Recipe for Disaster and Exploding Minions.
The newest release is a two-player edition suitable for ages 10 and up.
Original Gameplay Vs The New Two-Player Game
Each player takes cards from the draw pile until they get an exploding kitten. At that point, the player is out of luck. When one player is left, that player wins. It’s a Russian roulette style of game with cards.
While you don’t want an exploding kitten card, you do want the other helpful cards in the draw pile. One of the most helpful cards in the draw pile is the future card. This allows you to preview the top three cards on the deck. That way, if the exploding kitten cards are on top, you can avoid them. If you have the future card and also have the skip card, this means you can avoid drawing a card and not get the exploding kitten.
Another great one to have is the defuse card. If you draw one of the exploding kittens but have the defuse card, you can simply negate the effect and stay in the game.
Of course, it just wouldn’t be a game from the Oatmeal if you couldn’t betray your friends! Like most other games from this brand, you can – of course – put the odds of winning in your favor; depending on what you draw from the deck.
The annoy card lets you disable some of the cards in another player’s hand. The attack card immediately ends your turn without you having to draw. This forces the next player in turn to draw (unless they have special cards left to avoid the deck). If you used the future card, saw an exploding kitten and then used the attack card, you have truly betrayed your friends! When the next player draws…. boom! Explosion.
Play continues clockwise until everyone has exploded except for only one player. This last player standing wins.
The two-player edition has the same rules. The two opponents play cards until one player draws an exploding kitten. The main difference between the two games is the packaging, portability and the number of cards. Also, In the original, the amount of exploding kitten cards inserted into the draw pile is equal to one less than the number of players. So, if four people are playing, three exploding kittens are put in the draw pile. No need to do this with the two-player version.
The two-player edition also has different odds because it had fewer cards. The original version has 56 cards, while the two-player version only has 32. Gameplay with the two-player edition is, therefore, much shorter. Gameplay is about 10 minutes as opposed to 15 minutes with 3 or 4 players. The shorter time play doesn’t matter, though, since after someone wins you can just randomly shuffle the deck and play again!
The final big difference between the two versions is the portability. If you are like most card game aficionados, your cabinet shelf is short of space. Two-player Exploding Kittens is nice and compact and will fit between the other fun items you bought from The Oatmeal. It is roughly the size of a deck of play cards, meaning you can also toss it into a purse or pocket.
On the other hand, the original version comes in a larger square box.
Tips on play for both editions
A lot of random luck is needed to win Exploding Kittens, but you can get closer to that win with some strategic gameplay. These tips apply to both editions but remember, with the two-player game you only have about 10 minutes to be the final player left. Just because it is a random card game doesn’t mean you can’t help yourself win! So, make every move count!
- Leverage your nope cards. While they are not as powerful as defuse cards, they will stop actions against you taken by other players. Hold onto the nope card (if you can!) and use it at the most critical moment.
- Collect cat cards. Once you have two or three of a kind you can use them to steal other cards from the other players.
- The alter the future cards lets you preview and rearrange the top three cards in the draw pile. If you can use this with other cards, such as the skip card, blind or reverse, you can really change up the odds of the game.
- Everyone starts out with one defuse card. They are the deck’s most powerful card. Try to get as many more defuse cards as you can. This is where special combos and card stealing can really help.
- Always start with a deck freshly shuffled. In fact, shuffle cards at the end of each game. This is a good habit for any card game.
How to Choose Between the Original or the Two-Player Game
The original game is best for three or more players. When playing the original with just two players, you would insert one exploding kitten card and put the rest in the discard pile. The higher number of cards overall also makes for a longer game. The original can be played with just two players, but it is best with 3-5.
The two-player edition has everything you need in one small, portable package to play the game anytime, anywhere. Just open the pack, enjoy taking turns drawing cards and have fun. With 10 minutes of gameplay, the two-player edition is perfect for:
- Lunch break with a friend
- Coffee meet up with a friend or family member
- To take to school
- A fun and easy game to play on a date
- Playing on long car trips. I think it goes without saying that the driver should not be the other player!
Where to Get the Exploding Kittens Two-Player Edition
The best place to get Exploding Kittens is directly from the official website. You’ll also find the two-player edition for sale at major retailers (Walmart, Target, etc.). Online retailers include Amazon.
Are There Accessories and other merch for Exploding Kittens?
Yes. You can shop websites like Etsy for accessories for your Exploding Kittens games; for example, a 3D printed deck holder for the expansion packs. Outside of Exploding Kittens accessories, you can find general gameplay and aftermarket merch like playing mats, themed cups, stickers and more. Redbubble is a good place to find Exploding Kittens aftermarket merch.
Here is Why You Need The Two-Player Exploding Kittens Game in Your Life
Summary of the original
Exploding Kittens is a fun simple game where every player takes turns in a row. The ultimate goal is to not get an exploding kitten card, as without a defuse card, when someone draws an exploding kitten this ends their time in the game. Each player starts with a defuse card and the remaining defuse cards are shuffled into the draw pile. Other cards, like the nope card, see the future, skip cards, etc., can help you get that win.
Summary of the two-player edition
The two-player edition is simply a more portable, faster version of the original. You need the two-player edition if you:
- Love the original game
- Want to play fast and easy games on your lunch break
- Need a portable game to break the ice on a date
- Simply enjoy good, clean fun
Exploding Kittens raised $8.7 on Kickstarter in 30 days. It is playable in 30 languages and spawned a show, mobile game, expansions and editions. Exploding Kittens is one of the most successful card games, so don’t miss out on the fun!