Exploding Kittens
the rules

Original, First and NSFW Edition

How to Play
Sample Round

How it works

Rules step

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.

Rules step

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.

Basically if you explode, you lose.

And you're full of incendiary loser sadsauce.

If you don't explode,
you win!

And you're full of greatness, good job buddy!

And all of the
other cards

Will lessen your chances of getting exploded by Exploding Kittens.

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.

Rules step



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


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


Insert the extra Defuse Cards back in the deck.

Rules step
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.

Rules step
Two or three players

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

Rules step

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.


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.

Rules step
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.

Rules step

Shuffle the deck, and put it face down in the middle of the table


Pick a player to go first. (Some sample criteria: most impressive beard, most intimidating odor, shortest spleen, etc.)

Rules step

Take your turn


Play no cards.

Rules step

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

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

Cards with no instructions on them

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.

Rules step

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.)


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

Rules step

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


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 hurt 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


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 (play-or-pass 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


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


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.

Exploding Kittens Card Icon


4 Cards

Shuffle the Draw Pile thoroughly. (Useful when you know there's an Exploding Kitten coming.)

Exploding Kittens Card Icon


4 Cards

Immediately end your turn without drawing a card.

If you play a Skip Card as a defense to an Attack Card, it only ends 1 of the 2 turns. 2 Skip Cards would end both turns.

Exploding Kittens Card Icon

See the Future

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

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 any player.

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 pairs of Cat Cards. It now applies to ANY pair of cards with the same title (a pair of Shuffle Cards, a pair of Skip Cards, etc). Ignore the instructions on the cards when you play a combo.

Exploding Kittens Special Combos
Three of a Kind

When you play 3 matching cards (any 3 cards with the same title), you get to pick a player and name a card. If they have that card, they must give one to you. If they don't have it, you get nothing. Ignore the instructions on the cards when you play a combo.

Exploding Kittens Special Combos