Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Review: Exploding Kittens

Sometimes just one thing can get you to support a Kickstarter campaign. I've never been a big fan of Kickstarter: not saying that it doesn't result in great things, I've just never bothered with it. I don't like the idea of buying something before the something even exists: hyper-advanced pre-ordering comes to mind. But once, I decided to back what turned out to be the biggest Kickstarter of all time. I am of course talking about Exploding Kittens, the card game created by Matthew Inman (of The Oatmeal), Elan Lee (Xbox and ARGS pro) and Shane Small (who's worked on Xbox and Marvel projects). And now it's here, after many month of waiting, I can finally crack it open and enjoy the game.

Exploding Kittens, as you can guess by the name, is a game about detonating kitties, or rather avoiding such things. A game for 2-5 players (9 if you combine two sets), the aim of the game is to not 'blow up' from an exploding kitten, and be the last one standing. Sort of like Russian Roulette but with flaming felines, palindromes and portable cheetah butts.

As a person who's never really bothered with card games-apart from Yu Gi Oh as a small child, and briefly again in Sixth Form-this is effectively my first real card game review. I've played the odd game like Settlers once, but this is the first I've gone out to buy, not to play once on a whim, but to enjoy for a lifetime. 

At the time of backing I went for the NSFW level at $35 (about £22.50 UK coinage), resulting in two sets: one for normal games, and a NSFW variant (asparagus bum dragons, that about sets the tone). Price-wise this is about right for a premium card game. At about £11 a set, it puts it in the range of Fantasy Flight Games' Death Angel and slightly under the range for 'branded games' like A Game of Thrones: The Card Game. It is a complete set, so unlike collectable card games, you only had to pay the initial amount. Having said that, the market for expansions is huge, especially since the Exploding Kittens game received over $8.7 million in support. 

I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the game. Sceptical backers might have expected something cheaply produced, but you can identify where every penny of your backing went. The cards are well printed and solid, the box they came in is sturdy and finished smoothly, and the rules are clearly presented. The cards all include great artwork in the style of The Oatmeal comic strips, and it's a great style for the tone of this game. It is a product that you could see being sold in a respected games store, not from the back of a truck on a Luton industrial estate.

This is a very simple game, which is great. You can understand the rules very easily, and people who have never picked up a card game before will find this a gentle introduction to the genre. I played a few games with the missus, who apart from having a few Pokemon cards, has played even fewer card games than I have. We both found it easy to understand, and more importantly, fun to play. The whole point of a game is to create fun and enjoyment, and Exploding Kittens has this in bucket loads (or should that be litter trays?).

All in all it's changed my views on Kickstarter and was most certainly a great buy. Whilst there are no more sets available (apart from the inevitable cash-grabbers on Ebay), I remember reading somewhere that a full release is in the pipelines, so don't be upset folks, your chance to blow up troublesome felines will come. 

1 comment:

  1. This is a very simple game, which is great. You can understand the rules very easily