How to Play Exploding Kittens? Rules Explained

Exploding-Kitten-Card Rules

Exploding Kittens is not one of those games with just one rule, and you’re good to go. It has certain cards, with certain uses.

For whatever reason you’re here: you don’t understand the rules, you’ve got no clue how to play, or you’ve just got the game and you want to know how to actually play…

Welcome, friend!!

Grab something, because you will be reading everything you need to know about the rules of Exploding Kittens. 

… you can grab nothing if you don’t feel like it.

Let’s finally comprehend the Exploding game!

  • The Basics
  • You Must Know About The Cards
  • The Setup
  • Your Turn
  • Ending the Game
  • Special Combos
  • Examples
  • Tips

What Do I Need to Play Exploding Kittens?

  1. The game. You know the cards, you can’t play without the cards.
  2. At least another player. You also can’t play by yourself. Sorry if that’s bad news.
  3. A place to sit, and put the cards. Unfortunately you can’t play this in the air. It’d be kind of weird just throwing the cards and finding them wherever they land. 

The Basics

If you want to stay in the game then you want to avoid the Exploding Kittens cards. 

An Exploding Kitten card, means an exploding loser. If you manage to avoid the Exploding Kitten, you manage to win the game. And the rest of the group is a bunch of exploding suckers. 

The rest of the cards are made to help you not get exploded. That’s why you have to use them wisely. Each of them play a part in the game, and its importance. 

You Must Know About The Cards

There are 9 types of cards in Exploding Kittens. You’ll find everything you need to know about each of them below.

Exploding Kitten Cards

There are 4 of these. You must do anything you can to avoid these! Once you get it, you must show it. 

You don’t have a Defuse Card? You’re gone pal, adios.

Defuse Cards

There are 6 Defuse Cards. This is the only card that saves you from exploding.

Once you get the Exploding Kitten, you grab your Defuse Card and put it in the Discard Pile. 

This is the part where you become evil, and get your Exploding Kitten and put it anywhere you’d like in the Draw Pile. 

Screw your friends by putting it on top of the Pile. Just make sure they don’t see you!

Nope Cards

There are 6 Nope Cards in the entire deck. This will stop any action besides the Defuse Cards, and Exploding Kitten Cards. 

The other cards are simply helpless towards the Nope Cards. Nope another Nope to make it a Yup. Make them furious, you filthy animal!

You can play this card right before any action has begun, even if it isn’t your turn yet. The ‘Noped’ cards should be placed on the Discard Pile. 

Play one of these in the Special Combo (about which you’ll read further below in the article)!

Attack Cards

There are 4 Attack Cards. With this card, you not only skip your turn, you also worsen the other player’s life by making them take two turns in a row. 

Note: Taking a turn means playing or passing and taking a card.

If they’re lucky enough and they’ve got their Attack Card, if they play it then their turns will be over, and they worsen another player’s life by making them take two turns in a row.

Skip Cards

There are 4 Skip Cards in the deck. This card will skip your turn, obviously. 

If you get an Attack Card, you get to skip one of the turns you’re made to take. It is even better if you’ve got two Skip Cards, you can skip both turns. 

Favor Cards

There are 4 Favor Cards in the deck. This card will make the other player give you one of their precious cards. Hit them Mary!

Shuffle Cards

Shuffle Card

There are 5 Shuffle Cards in the deck. This will be very helpful if you know that there’s an Exploding Kitten Card coming your way. 

You shuffle the Draw Pile for a while until someone tells you to stop already! Jesus!

See the Future Cards

There are 5 See the Future Cards in the deck. This allows you to see 3 top cards on the draw pile. You must place them in the same order, and you MUSTN’T tell other players what those cards are.

Cat Cards

There are 4 of each Cat Card. On their own they can help you with nothing. 

But if you manage to match two of them, you  play them as a pair, and you get the authority to steal a random card from any other player. As you wish, master. 

The Setup

  1. Removing 2 types of cards. Exploding Kittens (4 cards), Defuse Cards (6 Cards)… remove them.
  2. Dealing the cards. Shuffle the rest of the cards in the deck. Each player gets 4 faced down from that shuffled deck.
  3. Get the Defuse Cards. Each player gets a Defuse Card, now having 5 cards in their hands.
  4. Insert Exploding Cards in the deck. There should be 1 less Exploding Kitten card than the number of players. E.g 4 players, 3 Exploding Kitten cards.
  5. Insert Defuse Cards in the deck. The rest of those that are remaining, but them back in the deck Rupert!!
  6. Shuffle. Shuffle the deck, and put it faced down where everyone can reach it. It’s called the Draw Pile.
  7. Someone goes first. You can pick one of the players, with criteria like: the tallest one, the one who woke up earliest in the morning, and so on. Get creative!

Your Turn

  1. You’ve got 5 cards in your hands. Look at them, and read them. 

After knowing your cards you can pass, or play a card by placing it faced up on the Discard Pile.

Read the instructions on the card and see what it does. After doing so, you can play more cards. As many as you wish to play.

There are cards with no instructions in them – Cat Cards. You can only collect them, and pair them up in order to get a card from your fella players.

  1. Draw a card from the Draw Pile. Cross your fingers for it to now be an Exploding Kitten.

    You can play as many cards as you wish, but you must draw a card to end your turn.

    Note: Play continues clockwise.

Ending the Game

The player who hasn’t exploded, wins the game! That’s the person who managed to avoid the Exploding Kitten. 

Special Combos

(Read this after you’ve played your first game)

Two of a Kind

You’ve read about the Cat Cards. Now the same rule applies to all the cards. 

You get two same cards (e.g two Attack Cards), you make a pair and grab a random card from any of the players.

Three of a Kind

This is the same thing as Two of a Kind, except you must make 3 cards to make a pair, and you can name the exact card you want from another player. If they don’t have it… Well, you get absolutely nothing, niente.

5 Different Cards

You play 5 different cards, different titles. You can go through the Discard Pile, and grab one of the cards you wish. 

Make it quick before you get noped!


Now that you know all about the rules, cards, and the game you can finally understand some examples of how to avoid that damn Exploding Kitten then you must read our review about the Exploding kittens

You think that the Exploding Kitten can be close? Hit them with the See the Future Card.

If you find out that you were right, you can hit them with the Skip Card, or even better the Attack Card.

They ‘Noped’ you? Use your Shuffle Card, and nail it!

Tips – How to Win the Game

  1. Save the good cards.
    The other players will be rushing, and spend all their good ones. You’ll be having them after theirs are gone. Start evil laughing!
  2. Count the cards on the Draw Pile (without peaking at them, of course), and you can calculate the chances of exploding.
  3. You can run out of cards. But that’s okay! You will draw a card next time it is your turn.
  4. Use the special combos.

Are the rules the same for editions and packs too?

The answer is yes and no.

Exploding Kittens’ rules are a little different from other games like ‘Cards Against Humanity’ rules, or ‘What Do You Meme?’ rules. or Rules of the Voting Game

In Exploding Kittens, each of the editions has a theme, and the cards, and rules are based on that theme.


Exploding Kittens NSFW edition has the same rules, but the cards are obviously NSFW. 

Exploding Kittens Party Editions has new cards, and more cards. It can be played by up to 10 people. And of course new cards, new rules. 

As for the expansions, they also have new cards which come with instructions on how to use them. 


Have fun! Exploding or not, it is most importantly that you enjoy the game and the time while playing it with your fella players. 

What are you waiting for? Go play!

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