Exploding Kittens review- Box Photo Feature

Exploding Kittens Review, Strategy Tips & FAQ

Play Time: 15 Min / Players: 2-5 / Complexity: Low / Age: 7+ / Publisher: Exploding Kittens / Designer: Elan Lee , Matt Inman & Shane Small

Exploding Kittens Ratings and Summary


Kids Rating
Teen Rating
Parent Rating


Kids rating from our daughters (6 & 9).
Teen rating from our son (13).

Kids view: The cards are so funny and the game is a lot of fun.
Teen view: Good humour and cool card actions make it interesting.
Parent view: Great family game we can all enjoy. Easy to learn but has some good decisions.



  • Easy to learn
  • Quick to play, so great as a filler game
  • The card illustration is great and fits theme nicely
  • The various card abilities add a lot to the game
  • Cards add some good humour and fun factor.


  • The humour may not be for everyone.

What You Will Find in Our Exploding Kittens Review

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Exploding kittens is a Russian roulette style game of survival, designed by friends Elan Lee and Matt Inman while on vacation together. Each player is dealt a hand of cards and tries their best not to be knocked out of the game by drawing an exploding kitten. The game plays fast with little down time and there is some great humour on the cards which our kids really enjoy. This is one of our favourite family games, read on to find out why.

How to play Exploding Kittens


To win the game simply be the last person left! Once all other players are knocked out of the game by exploding kittens the last player wins.

Set Up

To set up, remove all exploding kittens and diffuse cards from the deck. Shuffle the remaining cards and deal four to each player. Then deal each player one diffuse card.

Insert exploding kittens cards back into the deck so that there is 1 fewer than the number of people playing. Next add all the diffuse cards back in the deck and shuffle. Place the deck in the centre of the table.


Exploding Kittens - Box and card selection
A selection of the hilarious cards.
  • Play a card from your hand face up in the middle of the table and follow the instructions on the card. You can also choose to play no cards at all
  • Continue playing cards in your hand and following instructions. You can play as many cards from your hand as you like
  • At the end of your turn, draw a card. If you draw an exploding kitten card and you don’t have a ‘diffuse’ card to play, then you are knocked out of the game.

If you did play a diffuse at the end of your turn due to an exploding kitten you must then place the exploding kitten back in the draw pile. You are allowed to put the exploding kitten back anywhere in the deck secretly. This gives you an opportunity to target other players at the table.

Gameplay: Simple rules and clever card abilities make Exploding Kittens a fun game that can be played in 15 minutes

We have owned a copy of Exploding Kittens for years and we still love playing this game. It’s one of the games we bring on holiday with us because it packs a lot of fun into a small package.

The gameplay is simple to learn and turns run very quickly meaning there is little down time. A game can run as little as 15 minutes. This makes it great for families with younger children who might have a shorter attention span.

The key to this game is in using the card abilities at the right time to be able to avoid drawing an exploding kitten. The abilities really do add some good choices to the game. If played right then they can really lower your odds of drawing an exploding kitten. There is a nice variety in the card abilities too. The game comes with:

Exploding Kittens - Selection of cards
There are lots of cool cards on offer with interesting effects.
  • Attack cards – enable you to avoid picking up a card at the end of your turn and force the next player to take two turns in a row. A great card to play if you know an exploding kitten is likely near the top of the deck
  • Skip cards – allow you to end your turn without drawing a card
  • Favor cards – force any other player to give you one card of their choice
  • Shuffle cards – allow you to shuffle the draw pile, very useful if you happen to know an exploding kitten is on top
  • See the future cards – allow you to look at the top 3 cards of the draw pile and then place them back
  • Nope – allows you to cancel another players action
  • There are also sets of cards that can be played in pairs or special combos

Our whole family really enjoys this game, the theme is quirky and fun. Most of all though the simple rule set means no one misses out. Our six year old was able to pick this game up fairly quickly with a little help.

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Components: The cards are nicely illustrated and tie the quirky theme together well for Exploding Kittens

Exploding Kittens - Tacocat, Diffuse and Nope
The card art is very well done and your kids will find it hilarious,

The art on the cards carries the theme nicely as well as adding some humour for fun factor.

We really liked the style on the cards which appealed to our younger family members.

The instructions on the cards are clear and rarely required us to reference the rules.

Final Thoughts: Great fun, easy to learn and some cool card abilities make Exploding Kittens a family favourite for us

Its great to have a game that is so simple to teach but ties in some fun decisions through the various card abilities. Exploding Kittens is one game our whole family enjoys. This is why whenever we go on holiday we often pack Exploding Kittens with us, its one game we can all agree on.

Is Exploding Kittens easy to learn? Very simple to learn. The cards are well laid out with clear instructions and the rules are simple to pick up.

What will Exploding Kittens teach my kids?  Probability is something your kids will get some exposure to here. There is also some strategic thinking in when to use card abilities. If you have a card that can reveal the next three cards from the draw pile knowing when to play it for maximum advantage is key.

What age is appropriate for Exploding Kittens? This is a very easy game to pick up. Our youngest played from 6 with not trouble. However, some parents may have issue with the humour for younger kids, for us it wasn’t an issue though. There is reference to toilet humour but it’s nothing too serious.

Does Exploding Kittens have good replay value?  This is a simple filler game that can be played quickly and is great for a wide age range. We often come back to this game as a family even after owning it for a number of years.

We hope you enjoyed our Exploding Kittens review. If you have any more questions or just want to share your thoughts on this game please leave a comment below, or get in touch through our contact page.

About the Authors

We are parents who love board gaming. We have three children and have been enjoying board games as a family ever since we had our first child. We share our real unbiased experiences and opinions on board games so you can decide if they are right for your family. We also write guides and articles to help you get the most out of your family game time. If you enjoy our content and want to support us you can do that through our Ko-fi page by clicking on the button below.

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Other Games to Consider

If you are looking in to Exploding Kittens you may be interested in some other ideas for simple, quick and fun family card games. Here are some other great options to consider that can be played in 15-20 minutes:

  • Monopoly Deal (Review): Monopoly Deal has plenty of ‘take that’ moments just like Exploding Kittens. Monopoly Deal takes Monopoly’s best traits and distils them into a simple, quick, and streamlined card game. We think this is the best version of Monopoly available. The object of the game is simple, collect three sets of coloured property cards to win. Just like Exploding Kittens there are a large range of card abilities that can thwart your opponent’s plans. If you want something a little simpler and with blind bidding then Monopoly Bid is a good option to consider. In Monopoly bid players start with a hand of cards consisting of money and action cards. Each turn will involve a property card being revealed that players can bid on. The bidding is secret and so this is where the strategy comes in. The aim is to guess what other players will be bidding so that you can purchase the property without overpaying
  • Sushi Go! (Review): Unlike Exploding Kittens, Sushi Go! introduces card drafting instead of simply being dealt a hand of cards. You can play this cute sushi themed game in 15 minutes. The object of the game is to play card combinations that will score you the most points over 3 rounds of play. The cards are really simple to follow and the game flows quickly. The card drafting mechanic is great in this game leading to some interesting decisions as you try to predict what will become available to you when you receive your next hand.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Exploding Kittens good with 2 players?

The game is more interesting with more players and down time is short so the extra players wont add too much time to the game. It also makes it more interesting when placing exploding kittens back in the deck after playing a diffuse.

Can you put an exploding kitten on top of the draw pile if you have a diffuse?

Yes, once you play a diffuse you are able to secretly put the exploding kitten back, anywhere in the draw pile. This includes the top.

Can you Nope a Nope?

Yes, the rules state that you can play Nope on top of a Nope to negate it. This effectively means the original card played takes effect.

When you play a combo including multiple cards can you still use their card effects?

No, the rules state that when cards are used as part of a combo you ignore the instructions on the card.

If my opponent plays an attack card, can I avoid having to take two turns by playing another attack card?

Yes, when the second attack card is played that player’s turn is immediately over and the next player would then have to take two turns.

If I play a three of a kind and name a card, does my opponent need to show me their hand to prove they don’t have it if they claim not to have it?

This isn’t covered in the rules. We have always just trusted that people are honest about this one.

Strategy Tips

  • Attack cards can be really useful near the end of a game – Having an attack card or two handy when the deck has almost run out is very useful. As the deck nears the end there will be an increasingly higher chance that you draw an exploding kitten. If you time it right you can make this your opponent’s problem. Especially if you can combo cards, see below.
  • Look for card combos – There are basic combos such as using two of a kind to steal a player’s card or three of a kind to name a card you want to steal. But there are more advanced combos available too. Like for example seeing the future and realising the next card or one after is an exploding kitten. This is the time to use your attack card if you have it to force the other player to take two turns in a row. If they don’t have a way to skip or shuffle the deck they may get caught out.
  • Steal cards early – Every player starts with a diffuse card. Getting three of a kind early and using it before your opponent has used their diffuse card is the best time to do it. You can ask them for their diffuse card confident that they still have it, You can also try this by stealing cards with pairs but it’s less effective.  
  • Use the early game to gather cards and improve your options – Early game you have a lower probability of drawing an exploding kitten. Unless there is a reason to believe the next card is an exploding kitten (i.e. opponent seeing the future and then skipping), use the opportunity to gather cards and conserve the cards in your hand. This will mean you have an advantage later in the game.
  • Late game is where you want to avoid picking up if you can – If early game is about hoarding cards in relative safety, late game is where the real danger is. There is a higher probability as the deck runs low that an exploding kitten card will be drawn. That’s when you want to get more aggressive if you can and use up some of those great cards you saved to draw less frequently than your opponent or even better be able to see what’s coming before you commit to a pick up.
  • Use skip, shuffle, attack wisely – There will be times when your opponent tips you off somehow that there is an exploding kitten near the top. A good example is if they see the future or use a diffuse. This is when you need cards that will prevent you from picking up. Don’t waste them unless you have good reason to think you are in trouble, or in the case of an attack card that you can lump your opponent with an exploding kitten.
  • Bluff to get players to waste cards – Seeing the future cards are useful because they help you avoid danger but they also allow you an opportunity to bluff. If for example you play a skip card after seeing the future it can convince another player to use an attack card if they have one and waste it.
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