How to play Exploding Kittens


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How it Works

In the deck of cards are some Exploding Kittens. You play the game by putting the deck face down and taking turns drawing cards until someone draws an Exploding Kitten.

How to Explode

When that happens, that person explodes. They are now dead and out of the game.

How to Explode

This process continues until there’s only 1 player left, who wins the game.

The more cards you draw, the greater your chances of drawing an Exploding Kitten.


if you explode, you lose.

and you are full of incendiary loser sadsauce.

If you DON'T explode, you win!

and you are full of greatness. good job, buddy.

And all of the other cards

will lessen your chances of getting exploded by Exploding Kittens.

For Example

You could use a See the Future Card to peek at the top few cards in the Draw Pile. If that reveals an Exploding Kitten you could then use a Skip Card to end your turn and avoid drawing it.

Exploding Kittens Card Sample


  • 1

    To start, remove all the Exploding Kittens (4) from the deck and set them aside.

  • 2

    Remove all of the Defuse Cards (6) from the deck and deal 1 to each player.

  • 3

    Insert the extra Defuse Cards back in the deck.

Exploding Kittens Card Sample

Defuse Cards

Each player is dealt 1 Defuse Card, the most powerful card in the game. These are the only cards that can save you from Exploding Kittens. If you draw an Exploding Kitten, instead of getting exploded, you can play the Defuse Card and reinsert the Kitten back into the Draw Pile anywhere you’d like in secret.

Try to get as many Defuse Cards as possible.

Two or Three Players

Put only 2 of the extra Defuse Cards back into the deck and remove the others from the game.

Exploding Kittens Card Sample
  • 4

    Shuffle the remaining deck and deal 7 cards face down to each player.
    Note: If your paper instructions tell you to deal out 4 cards instead of 7, don't believe them. Paper instructions are dirty liars.

Exploding Kittens Card Sample
  • 5

    Insert enough Exploding Kittens back into the deck so that there is 1 fewer than the number of people playing.

    Remove any extra Exploding Kittens from the game.

For Example

For a 4 player game, insert 3 Kittens.
For a 3 player game, insert 2 Kittens.

This ensures that everyone eventually explodes except for 1 person.

Exploding Kittens Card Sample
  • 6
    Shuffle the deck, and put it face down in the middle of the table. Exploding Kittens Card Sample
  • 7
    Pick a player to go first. (Some sample criteria: most impressive beard, most intimidating odor, shortest spleen, etc.)

Taking Your Turn

  • 1

    Gather all 8 of your cards into your hand and look at them. Do one of the following:


Play no cards.

Exploding Kittens Sample


Play a card by placing it FACE UP on top of the Discard Pile and following the instructions on the card.

Exploding Kittens Sample

After you follow the instructions on the card, you can play more cards. You can play as many cards as you’d like.


Some cards don’t have any instructions on them (Cat Cards). These cards must be collected and played as matching Pairs.

If you play matching Pairs of Cat Cards, pick another player and steal a random card from their hand.

Note: If you have a newer version of the game your Cat Cards WILL have instructions on them.

Exploding Kittens Card Icon

  • 2

    End your turn by drawing a card from the top of the Draw Pile into your hand and hoping it’s not an Exploding Kitten.

    (This is different from most games in that you END YOUR TURN by drawing a card.)

    Exploding Kittens Sample

    Play continues clockwise around the table.


Play as many or as few cards as you’d like, then draw a card to end your turn.

Exploding Kittens Sample

Ending the Game

The last player who hasn't exploded wins the game.

You won't ever run out of cards in the Draw Pile because you inserted enough Exploding Kittens to kill all but 1 player.

Three More Things

  • A good strategy is to save your cards early in the game while your chance of exploding is low.
  • You can always count the cards left in the Draw Pile to figure out the odds of exploding.
  • There is no maximum or minimum hand size. If you run out of cards in your hand, there’s no special action to take. Keep playing. You’ll draw at least 1 more card on your next turn.

Example Turn

Exploding Kittens Sample Turn

Field Guide

Exploding Kittens Card Icon

Exploding Kitten 4 Cards

You must show this card immediately. Unless you have a Defuse Card, you’re dead. Discard all of your cards, including the Exploding Kitten.

Exploding Kittens Card Icon

Defuse 6 Cards

If you drew an Exploding Kitten, you can play this card instead of dying. Place your Defuse Card in the Discard Pile.

Exploding Kittens Sample

Then take the Exploding Kitten, and without reordering or viewing the other cards, secretly put it back in the Draw Pile anywhere you’d like.

Exploding Kittens Sample

Want to screw over the player right after you? Put the Kitten right on top of the deck. If you’d like, hold the deck under the table so that no one else can see where you put it.

Your turn is over after playing this card.

Exploding Kittens Card Icon

Nope 5 Cards

Stop any action except for an Exploding Kitten or a Defuse Card. Imagine that any card beneath a Nope Card never existed.

Exploding Kittens Sample

A Nope can also be played on another Nope to negate it and create a Yup, and so on.

Exploding Kittens Sample

A Nope can be played at any time before an action has begun, even if it’s not your turn. Any cards that have been Noped are lost. Leave them in the Discard Pile.

You can even play a Nope on a SPECIAL COMBO. (see below).

Exploding Kittens Card Icon

Attack 2x 4 Cards

Do not draw any cards. Instead, immediately force the next player to take 2 turns in a row. Play then continues from that player. The victim of this card takes a turn as normal (pass-or-play then draw). Then, when their first turn is over, it's their turn again.

If the victim of an Attack Card plays an Attack Card on any of their turns, the new target must take any remaining turns plus the number of attacks on the Attack Card just played (e.g. 4 turns, then 6, and so on).

Exploding Kittens Card Icon

Favor 4 Cards

Force any other player to give you 1 card from their hand. They choose which card to give you.

Exploding Kittens Card Icon

Shuffle 4 Cards

Shuffle the Draw Pile without viewing the cards until told to stop. (Useful when you know there’s an Exploding Kitten coming.)

Exploding Kittens Card Icon

See the Future 3x 5 Cards

Privately view the top 3 cards from the Draw Pile and put them back in the same order. Don’t show the cards to the other players.

Exploding Kittens Card Icon

Cat Cards 4 of Each Type

These cards are powerless on their own, but if you collect any 2 matching Cat Cards, you can play them as a Pair to steal a random card from the other player.

They can also be used in Special Combos (see below).

Exploding Kittens Card Icon

Special Combos

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

Two of a Kind

Playing matching Pairs of Cat Cards (where you get to steal a random card from another player) no longer only applies to Cat Cards, it now applies to ANY cards in the deck with the same title (a pair of Shuffle Cards, a pair of Skip Cards, etc).

Exploding Kittens Special Combos

Three of a Kind

Exactly the same as Two of a Kind, but you get to name the card you want from the other player. If they have it, you get to take it. If not, you get nothing.

Exploding Kittens Special Combos

Five Different Cards

If you play 5 different cards (any 5 cards with different titles), go through the Discard Pile to take any single card you’d like. (Grab the Pile quickly to choose your card so that you don’t get “Noped!”)

Exploding Kittens Special Combos

When you play special combos, ignore the instructions on the cards.


If you are playing with the Streaking Kittens expansion pack, the Streaking Kitten cannot be used with the 5 Card Special Combo. This means you can't use it in your collection of 5 cards nor can you remove it from the Discard Pile.

Why? Because it breaks the game. Don't break the game...the game loves you.