A Little Wordy
the rules

How to Play
Choose the language that you’re looking for


Come up with a Secret Word that will earn you more Berry Tokens than your opponent by the end of the game.


Sit across from each other. Shuffle both the Vanilla and Spicy Clue Decks separately, and deal four cards from each deck face-up between you and your opponent so that you can both easily read them. Put the rest of the cards away — these eight Clues are the only cards you'll use during the game.

First Time?

If this is your first time playing, instead of dealing from shuffled Clue Decks, we recommend using the following Clue Cards to get you familiar with the game. You'll still place them face-up between you and put all remaining cards away.
First Letter
Letter Strike
Relative Word Length
Word Builder
Burn the Copies
Give & Take
Rhyme Time
Super Strike

Place the Berry Tokens in a pile in the center of the table. This is your shared Bank.

Both players should place their Player Shield in front of them.

Make sure the Vowel Tiles and Consonant Tiles are separated into the correct bags. Thoroughly mix up the tiles inside of each bag.

Randomly pick four Vowel Tiles and seven Consonant Tiles each. Place your tiles behind your Player Shield so that you can see them but your opponent can't.

Forming Your Secret Word

Arrange any number of the 11 Letter Tiles in front of you to form a Secret Word. It can be as short as one tile or as long as 11 tiles, but it must be a valid word that can be spelled using only the available Letter Tiles.

Not sure if your word is valid? Check out the "Valid Words" section below!

Once you've chosen your Secret Word, write it down on the "Secret Word" area of your Player Shield, then shuffle the tiles in front of you so that they no longer spell your Secret Word. Make sure to always keep your Secret Word hidden from your opponent.

Make a word
Write it down and shuffle your tiles.

After you've written down your Secret Word, fold up your Player Shield and place it to the side so that both players can see each other's scrambled tiles. You should use your folded Player Shield to take notes during the game. You can unfold your Player Shield to peek at your Secret Word anytime during the game, but always keep it secret.

Fold top down, fold wings under, then lay flat

When you're both ready, swap all 11 tiles with your opponent so that their set is in front of you and yours is in front of them.

After you've swapped tiles, choose a player to go first. You may take a moment to read the Clue Cards before taking your first turn.

Game table layout

Valid Words

If your Secret Word is misspelled or doesn't exist in the Exploding Kittens Dictionary, you'll automatically lose the round. We don't want to punish you for being a bad speller, so if you're not sure if your word is valid, you and your opponent can check the Dictionary to verify the spelling or validity of your Secret Word. You can't, however, just browse the Dictionary to help you come up with a Secret Word — you have to have it in your brain already!

Access the Exploding Kitten dictionary at https://www.explodingkittens.com/dictionary .

Like in other word games, you can't use proper nouns like the names of people or cities! If it needs to be capitalized in a sentence, it's probably not valid.

Taking a Turn

During your turn, you can do one of two things:

Activate One Clue


Guess the Secret Word

Activating Clues

You can get a hint about your opponent's Secret Word by activating a Clue. Each time you activate a Clue, your opponent earns Berry Tokens and you gain information.

Each Clue has a Berry Token value, an action, and instructions written on the card.

To use a Clue, announce the action of the Clue you want to activate, then follow the instructions on the card.

After you've completed the instructions on the Clue Card, your opponent takes the Berry Token value from the Bank that is noted on the top of the Clue you used. Your turn is now over.

Berry token value at the top of the card. Action and instructions at the bottom.

Keep track of information you have gained using Clues by writing them down on your Player Shield!

Why are there two types of Clues?

  • During each turn, you can choose between Vanilla Clues or Spicy Clues. You'll activate them the same way, but each has unique benefits.
  • Vanilla Clues are the easiest to use. They'll always provide helpful information.
  • Spicy Clues are a little tricky and may even require some give-and-take of information, but when used properly, they can be powerful tools for figuring out your opponent's Secret Word.
  • Higher-value Clues can offer a ton of intel! They may earn your opponent a lot of Berry Tokens, but in exchange you'll get a lot of valuable information.

Guessing the Secret Word

During your turn, you can guess your opponent's Secret Word instead of using a Clue. If you feel like you have enough information to guess your opponent's word, form it in front of you with the letter tiles available, then accounce that you wan tto guess the Secret Word.

If your guess is correct, great job! Your opponent will not gain any more Berry Tokens because you won't need to activate any more Clues.

If your guess is incorrect, your opponent takes two Berry Tokens from the Bank, and your turn is over

Even if you guess incorrectly, the game isn't over! Keep playing until someone wins!

If you're feeling totally stuck and can't figure out your opponent's Secret Word, you can forfeit the game. If your forfeit, your opponent automatically wins.


If you have more Berry Tokens than your opponent:

As soon as you successfully guess their Secret Word, you win!

If you have fewer than or the same amount of Berry Tokens as your opponent:

When you successfully guess their Secret Word, your opponent keeps playing. As soon as you gain at least one more Berry Token than them, you win!


After you've both correctly guessed each other's Secret Words, if you and your opponent have the same number of Berry Tokens, it's a tie. Count down from three, then using the set of tiles in front of you, spell a valid 4-letter word that has not yet ben used in the game. The first player to form this new word is the winner!

What if I think a word isn't valid?

If you think your opponent has created a word that is misspelled or does not exist in the Exploding Kittens Dictionary, you can challenge the word by looking it up. If their Secret Word is invalid, they lose the game

If your opponent presents an invalid word for a Clue such as "Word Builder", you do not need to offer any information until they present you with a valid word.

Word Builder

What if we've used all the tokens?

If you run out of Berry Tokens in the bank, just keep a tally of how many additional Berry Tokens each player would have on your Player Shields and include that tally in your final score.

Longer Game

Get a little more wordy! You can increase then length of the game by playing three times in a row. The player who wins two of the three rounds is the winner of the longer game.

Team Game

Want to play with more than two players? Divide up into two teams and work with your teammates to come up with your team's Secret Word, decide which Clues to activate, and guess the opposing team's Secret Word. The rules are the same, but be careful about what you say out loud!