Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Review: Exploding Kittens (enjoyable, replayable, easy rules, new player friendly, party game)

Exploding Kitten is a strategic, social, card game.

First Impression

I played Exploding Kittens for the first time with 4 players. It was kind of interesting. The rules are simple and the pace can be fun.

Luck does play a role in the game. There are two luck factors in this game. First is when you get the exploding kitten and which cards get stolen. Second is the mind games on where the player puts the exploding kitten.

There is little that can be done with the first exploding kitten. Since everyone starts with a diffuse, there is a little buffer. But the first person to use the diffuse first have lost first in both games. I was not the first, but lost the first game because the other player was fortunate to get multiple diffuses.


Enjoyable, Replayable, Easy Rules, New Player Friendly

With the pace and duration of the game, this game is fun to play. There is enough strategy to manipulate but still enough randomness to keep less-strategic-minded players interested. The rules are simple but complex enough to make it replayable. Simple rules also make this a good party game with people who do not play a lot of games.

More maximum fun, play at most in semi-serious mode. It is just as fun to end up with exploding kitten and lose as it is to win so just enjoy hanging out with everyone. If one particular player does seem to win more often, target that person more often. In other words, don't think too much on what to play.

Cons

Once you are out, that player is out. Unlike Mafia, Werewolf, Bang!, and other similar games, the game is much shorter so it is really not that bad. The player can still taunt the other players or add to the mind games, although they should refrain from spoiling any clues to give a live player an advantage over another.

From how we played, the first person to lose their diffuse was unable to come close to winning. Majority of the time, they were the first to be completely out. If not the first, always the second. This could possibly change if we were more experienced.


Strategy - Placing Exploding Kitten

Once you get the exploding kitten card and you use the diffuse card, you get to place the exploding kitten anywhere in the deck. Obviously, you should remember where you placed the card so that you do not get it yourself. This is actually harder than I initially thought because you cannot predict how the others will change the order.

I have tried putting the exploding kitten on the bottom and top. Most of us put it near the top which caused us all to be very suspicious, so by putting it on the bottom, players were more likely to play their special cards.

I have not been the first to draw the exploding kitten card. But if I did, I think the strategy is to target the next player. You do not want the exploding kitten to end up with the player before you because that player will more than likely play the exploding kitten at the very top knowing you are now without a diffuse. This strategy should hold because if successful that player will target the player after him. If he targeted you, he may end up with the exploding kitten card if you had a way to skip your turn.

Of course, it is difficult to predict what the players would do especially when there are more players. On some occasions, the exploding kitten ended back at the original player. So this poses where in the deck you want to put it but still end up with the next person.

I think if you have more special cards than the rest of the players, then you should place it closer to the top. If you have no special cards, you should place it near the bottom if not the very bottom (that way you do not have to remember where it is). At the bottom, you continue to play as if you do not know where the next exploding kitten will be (since the remaining cards are in random locations above the bottom card). The other players will likely play their special cards to avoid the possibility that you placed it at the top because they do not know how many special cards you have while you continue (hopefully) to pick up more cards.

There was a time where a player placed the exploding kitten card near the top but ended up with another exploding kitten card that happened to be above the replaced card. Although unfortunate, this does add to the hilarity of the situation thus making this quite fun as party game.