Exploding Kittens

Exploding Kittens, a simple but funny card game by Shane Small, along with Matthew Inman and Elan Lee, creators of the comic strip The Oatmeal, stunned the board game community in 2013 when it broke records on Kickstarter, earning $8.8M from 219,000 backers. Since then, the company has released several games including the dodge ball inspired Throw Throw Burrito, Bears vs Babies, and the recent Wolfgang Warsch game On a Scale of One to T-Rex. The company is even starting its own convention, Burning Cat, set to premiere in Portland, Oregon in May 2020.

Exploding Kittens has recently announced that it has received investment capital of $30 million from the TCG Capital Management to finance its continued growth. Kittens has said the investment will be used “to develop more games for its fans, expand its IP into live events, build out its team, control more of its production and distribution, and continue to experiment with innovative ideas around gameplay to help further build the community.”

For the full press release please click here.

Wolfgang Warsch has undeniably been on a tear in the game design world, inventing new and intriguing design-after-design, with several new games still in the pipeline. One that came as a surprise, but also no exception, was in collaboration with the publishers of Exploding Kittens, because it’s available right now as an Amazon exclusive. On a Scale of One to T-Rex is a party game for 2-to-8 players where all players act out cards simultaneously to find matching pairs among them. Billed as a game for “people who are bad at charades”, this isn’t misleading as the real ticket to the game isn’t in the quality of your performance, but the strength of it. Have a look at the game’s description to see why:

“Players must perform ridiculous actions like “Be a T-Rex,” “Scratch an Itch You Can’t Reach,” or “Be a Hula Dancer” on a scale of 1 to 10. The twist is that the quality of your action doesn’t matter – you earn points by guessing and matching the intensity each player is performing their action. There are no turns in this fast-paced game, so in the midst of all the roaring, dancing, meowing, and yodeling, you must find someone on the same intensity level as you to earn points. The player with the most points wins!”

It’s a very novel, simple idea – what if we had charades, but everyone acted at the same time in different degrees? Nobody will be able to focus on how skilled you are in acting, no no no, they’ll be too busy laughing and trying to find someone doing whatever they’re doing as loud or as fast. It’s not only a fresh concept that will undoubtedly pull your friends and family in as soon as you tell them what the game is called – it’s also a brilliantly funny experience that is definitely worth the look. If you’re interested in learning more about On a Scale of One to T-Rex, please check out their website for videos, rules, and more.

The creators of Exploding Kittens are offering a unique spin on gaming conventions next May with Burning Cat.

In keeping with their decidedly odd feline motif and a core philosophy of fun above all, the event organizers plan to offer a gladiatorial arena and a giant cat that will explode into glorious flames. There will be guest speakers, but the focus will be on discovering and playing new games while creators and artists will get a chance to meet and develop new ideas.

The Cat Who Burns” will preside over the convention, according to the event website, and at the conclusion of the festivities will erupt into “something terrible and wonderful.” Attendees are welcome to enter a central arena called “The Ring” and try a new take on the venerable dodge ball called Hairball, hurling massive hair-covered projectiles, or they can do battle in a cat-themed American Gladiators spectacle.

Inside this gladiatorial cage, humongous, over-sized games will be played. Stupid stunts will be performed. New sports will be invented. We will defy the laws of nature. We will defy the nature of laws.”

Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal was announced on the website as a guest speaker and more may be revealed at a later date. But Burning Cat’s priority is having fun, according to the organizers.

With less focus on hawking new product lines and more on actual game play, Burning Cat seeks to right what is wrong with today’s convention scene.

We don’t like that most conventions are basically a glorified shopping mall.

The convention will be a place to play games face to face and explore avenues of creativity, according to the website. Artists and game designers are encouraged to use Burning Cat to help test out their prototypes and ideas.

Burning Cat is set to open May 16-17 in Portland, Oregon.

Target is quickly seeing the benefit of offering better and more varied games on their shelves, and by benefit I mean they are making good money on them.  So in order to stay ahead of the game they are continuing their method of getting boat loads of exclusive games that will only appear on their shelves.  So this past weekend saw the addition of over 50 of those games ranging from 90’s themed games, party games, and rustic editions of classic games where they made games like Risk completely out of wood.  Some of the titles you will see now include:

  • Exploding Kittens Party Edition, an exclusive expansion pack to the mega-popular Exploding Kittens
  • Sunken Sailor, a Pictionary-type game from Finland with a distinctive Scandinavian design and a wooden box
  • Pling Pong, a Kickstarter game similar to beer pong in that you are bouncing balls into cups, but with no alcohol involved and is much more colorful
  • Deer Lord, a party game where players are challenged to do crazy things without being called out on them.
  • Coding games from Think Fun: On the Brink, Rover Control, and Robot Repair

And this is just a small selection of the games.  You can read more about these additions on the Forbes website, or just browse the game aisle of your local Target today.

bears-vs-babies

After achieving a ridiculous amount of success on their first game, Exploding Kittens, Elan Lee and The Oatmeal are back for another light card game.  This time around you aren’t trying to avoid a suicidal kitty, this time you are creating hideous creatures to fight off swarms of babies in Bears vs. Babies.  On your turn you will draw a card, if it’s a baby you will put it in the center row, if it’s a creature part you can hold on to it or add it to your army of creatures.  Each baby and each creature head has a terrain type associated with it, and babies will only attack monsters of the same type.  Two other cards that may come up are special cards that you can use to mess with your opponents or strengthen your creature, or provoke cards.  Provoke cards are what you use to bring the baby armies to bear on your creatures, and which baby army is determined by the provoke card type.  Play a provoke card and all those babies of that type will attack everyone at the table, if the babies are stronger they devour your creature, if your creature is stronger you devour the babies.  Determining strength is easy, just count the number of babies attacking for their strength, and count the number of cards in your creature (plus any special bonuses) and that is your strength.  Play continues until the deck runs out and whoever ate the most babies is the winner.

Those who are fans of their first game and the Oatmeal’s art will no doubt jump at the chance to back for this game, plus it also includes a completely superfluous NSFW deck add on.  Those looking for something with more depth than the first game will unfortunately be disappointed, either way you can check out the campaign page to decide for yourself.  As of this writing the game has already raised over $1 million in just the first day.

imploding kittens

Exploding Kittens is a pretty simple card game of draw one and play one, hoping to not hit the exploding kitten and getting eliminated.  The game, pardon the pun, exploded on Kickstarter, mostly due to the art and humor being done by The Oatmeal.  Now that the game is out and in everyone’s hands, they are starting to expand the game with the newest pack, Imploding Kittens.  This pack will add an additional 20 cards to the game, including 6 new action types and an imploding kitten.  With the addition of the imploding kitten, the base game with this pack will be able to play 6 now instead of 5.  You can see more of the pack and pre-order it on the Exploding Kittens Review site, and look forward to it’s release October 18th.

elan leeElan Lee is a designer of Exploding Kittens, a nifty card game essentially sporting a “Russian Roulette” mechanic. From the game’s website: “The game is essentially Russian Roulette; you draw cards until you draw a kitten, at which point you lose. All the other cards can be used to defend, attack, skip your turn, or defuse the kitten using various action cards.”

Outside of being a fantastic little card game, it more than blew away it’s $10k funding goal, having raised nearly $8.8 mil with nearly 220 THOUSAND supporters!

Well, T&G had recently met with Elan to discuss the project:

WERE YOU EXPECTING IT TO BE SUCH A SUCCESS?

Our original goal was $10,000 to print up about 500 decks of cards.  We hoped it would do better than that, but none of us expected what actually happened.

WHAT DO YOU THINK CAUSED IT TO GO VIRAL?

The easy answer to that is The Oatmeal.  Matt has such a huge following, that simply posting to his social media accounts was the entirety of our initial marketing plan.  However, four days after our initial surge, our numbers were dwindling, and we knew that we had tapped out The Oatmeal audience.  We had to change our strategy.  I decided to roll out the community building strategies I’d used for the last decade in building Alternate Reality Games.  We pivoted to build a Kickstarter page that was 100% community focused including activities, live parties, charity events, and user generated content sprinkled over everything.  The entire team worked around the clock for the next 25 days to host the largest party in Kickstarter history.

WHAT ADVICE TO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER DESIGNERS LOOKING AT PUTTING THEIR GAME ON KICKSTARTER?

Read everything you can from previous kickstarter success and failures.  Creators want to talk, and they do it A LOT.  Read everything.

You can read the entire article, over at T&G, here.

 

An article on Polygon by Ben Kuchera offers an opinion about the cost of producing a Kickstarter project as large as Exploding Kittens and posits that in the end, the expected large profit will be mostly eaten away by production cost.

You can read the piece here.

The Geek Dynasty offers an in-depth response to the above article by Ben Kuchera.

In the response, the math is broken down in great detail for each individual aspect of a card games production run, an excellent follow up if you’ve read the original article listed above.

Read the post here.

Exploding Kittens

Matthew Inman, creator of the popular satire comic strip series The Oatmeal, has a new Kickstarter project with game designers Elan Lee and Shane Small. Exploding Kittens, the self-proclaimed “card game for people who are into kittens and explosions” is a tongue-in-cheek take on hot potato.

Exploding Kittens is a highly strategic kitty-powered version of Russian Roulette. Players take turns drawing cards until someone draws an exploding kitten and loses the game. The deck is made up of cards that let you avoid exploding by peeking at cards before you draw, forcing your opponent to draw multiple cards, or shuffling the deck.”

Some of those special action cards include laser beams, weaponized enchiladas, bear-o-dactyl attacks, and more wackiness in the same distinct art style as The Oatmeal comics. There’s also a Kickstarter exclusive bonus set, the NSFW (Not Safe for Work) Deck, that ratchets up the adult humor.

The campaign has been extremely successful, funding in just 20 minutes. If Exploding Kittens sounds interesting, head over to the Kickstarter page and pledge your support.