I currently have a love-hate relationship with Kickstarter. I like what it was originally intended to be: a community where indie creators can connect with like-minded consumers in order to economically collaborate on exciting and imaginative projects that would not have been made otherwise. I hate what it has become: a place where laziness and greed is masqueraded around as community involvement to trick consumers into paying for projects hosted by companies who have way too much money to resort to crowd-funding, I.e. Sony’s campaign to fund Shenmue 3 announced at this year’s E3 event, or Zach Braff’s campaign to fund his last pretentious directing effort Wish I was Here.
Luckily, under this murky pool of corporate abuse, certain great projects still find their way into the light for the entertainment and enjoyment of us all. In this instance, Exploding Kittens, the brand new card game from comedic internet hub The Oatmeal that just started shipping pre-orders on Amazon and that broke several Kickstarter awards, including having the most backers of any campaign in Kickstarter’s history.
Exploding Kittens is the card game equivalent to Russian roulette, except without the serious risk of injury or death (for you; the same can’t be said for these suicidal kittens). Hidden inside of a deck of truly zany cards are the “exploding kitten” cards that, if drawn, explode and remove that player from the game. The game ends once all exploding kitten cards have been drawn, and the remaining alive player is crowned the winner. It is possible to save yourself by using a disarm card, the “kitten therapy” card for instance, but every disarm that gets used is removed from the game, increasing the chances of you being SOL the next time you draw an exploding kitten.
The rest of the cards in the game are either power-ups, or “cat” cards. Power-ups are the usual brand of “mess with your friends” cards that can allow you to skip your turn or force the next player the take two turns, etc. Cat cards are the more mature older cousins of exploding kittens, and when combined or used in various quantities can also create benefits for you, the player. Each card is titled with the usual brand of irreverent humor found on The Oatmeal, with cards such as “Attack: Awaken the Bear-o-dactyl,” “Skip: Don a Portable Cheetah Butt,” or my personal favorite, “Tacocat” who gleefully exclaims I am a palindrome! not caring who he may offend by the statement. Each card also is beautifully illustrated with The Oatmeal’s disturbing art style, displayed all over their website.
The game comes in two versions: the normal card game, and the NSFW edition. Both versions are $20 on Amazon, and are available now.