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Exploding Kittens Two Player Edition Review

Important Note:

All board game reviews and ratings from “A Pair of Meeples” are entirely based on the game at two players. You can learn more about our rating system by clicking below.


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Exploding Kittens, the most backed Kickstarter game ever to exist has recently released a two-player edition of their game.  You no longer need more than one friend to play this extremely popular game, which is good for us loners and introverts.

Gameplay Experience:

We have played the original Exploding Kittens plenty of times before as it’s usually one of the only games our non-gamer friends have, no offense if it’s one of the few games you have on your shelf.  It’s the type of game we don’t normally reach for, but a two-player version had us intrigued.

At first impressions, the packaging was a little lackluster, but I guess that should be expected for a game in this price range.  I even ripped the box a little when opening it, but I guess you could blame my inner child for that.  The cards themselves are good quality though and are the same as the ones in the original.

Exploding Kittens Two Player Edition Packaging
Just some cards, rules and some frustrating packaging.

Instantly I started to wonder if we could have just printed off the instructions and selected the same cards from the party pack version that was on our shelf.  Even though we were starting to feel like we paid for something we didn’t need, we decided to get down to playing and avoid our emerging frustrations. We could deal with emotions later, it was time to explode some kittens.

It had been a while since we played the game so it was a very fresh experience playing the two-player version this time around.  After some clumsy rounds and some rule refreshers, we were into the Russian roulette style of drawing cards that this game is so well known for.

We kind of forgot how fun this game can be and our “frustrations of an unnecessary purchase” dissipated.  We were noping each other’s nopes and stealing defuses back and forth until one of us was victorious.  Some rounds ended before the deck was empty but many came down to the last card.

Exploding Kittens Two Player Edition Review
Somehow I’m the one who always explodes!

Even though Exploding Kittens isn’t too heavy of a game, it still is quite fun. Playing with the right person (such as my wife) can lead to quick and very aggressive rounds of Russian roulette-style card drawing.  Pretty sure my wife was cheating and stealing Nope Cards because she just noped everything I did, almost like in real life. Just kidding, she’s lovely and lets me do almost everything I want even when she really shouldn’t (my inner child doesn’t think a lot of things through sometimes).

We weren’t feeling too bad about our purchase after a few rounds, but I can’t say the same about the packaging when I tried to put the game away after a few rounds.  It took me like five tries to get the cards back in the box.  Other than this minor frustration though we still had a pretty good time playing Exploding Kittens Two Player Edition.

Exploding Kittens Two Player Edition Rules Summary:

Exploding Kittens Two Player edition plays exactly like the original, just with fewer cards.  The goal of the game is to just not explode.  

To do so you have to avoid drawing an Exploding Kitten at all costs by using cards and their abilities to increase the odds that your opponent draws the Exploding Kitten instead of you.  There are Defuse Cards available though and this can help you to avoid exploding and allow you to put the exploding Kitten back in the draw pile.  

Each player starts with 7 cards and 1 defuse card, one additional defuse card is in the draw pile.  Players then take turns playing as many cards as they wish and drawing cards at the end of each turn.  Cards that can be played include 

  • Attack Cards: You do not have to draw a card, immediately force your opponent to take two turns instead.  If the victim of an attack card plays an attack card on any of their turns then the other player will have to take any remaining turns plus total attack card turns.
  • Favor Cards: Force another player to give you another card of your choice.
  • Shuffle Cards: Allows you to shuffle the draw pile immediately.
  • Skip Cards: Immediately end your turn without drawing a card.
  • See The Future Cards:  Privately view the top three cards and put them back.
  • Cat Cards: There are four of each and two of a kind can be used to steal a random card from your opponent.

There are also reactive cards that can be played in response to other cards.

  • Defuse Cards: Can be used if you draw an exploding Kitten to not Explode.  Once used you can secretly put the Exploding Kitten back in the draw pile anywhere you wish.
  • Nope Cards: Stops almost any action.  You cannot Nope a Defuse or Exploding Kitten, but you can nope a nope.

There are also special combos that can be used which are 

  • 2 of a Kind: You can use any two of the same card to steal a random card from your opponent.
  • 3 of a Kind: You can use any three of the same card to steal a specific card from your opponent.  You ask them for any card you want (including defuses), and if they have it they must give it to you.
  • There also used to be a 5 Card Combo where players could lay 5 completely different cards to take any card from the discard pile, but this rule no longer appears in the official rules of Exploding Kittens.

Players continue taking turns until one player has Exploded by drawing the Exploding Kitten without a Defuse in their hand.

Exploding Kittens Two Player Edition vs Regular

If you’re familiar with Exploding Kittens you can see that there really is no difference between the two-player version and the original, other than the number of cards in the deck.  So if you already have the original or the party pack and want to play the two-player version you can pick out the required cards which are listed in the official two-player edition rules which can be found here

We have another post with a quick reference of the cards you need and how to set up for a two-player game also here.

Conclusion:

Exploding Kittens is a pretty simple, straightforward game that is easy to teach and quick to play.  For people who like heavier games, Exploding Kittens may seem more like an activity of luck than an actual game.  Though we tend to like our games a bit gamier, there is no denying that Exploding Kittens is more fun than it deserves to be sometimes.

It is a perfect quick filler game that provides excellent tension with its Russian roulette-style card drawing.  It’s super aggressive and is quite confrontational but in a way where everyone is still having fun and laughing.  It may get stale after a few plays in one game night but it’s still a treat to bring out to the table every once in a while. 

Exploding Kittens is a pretty fun game but is the two-player edition worth it?  If you already have the original or party pack edition of Exploding Kittens then we would say probably not.  You can take the cards you need out of the other versions and use the official rules from Exploding Kittens to play with only two players.  We have even created reference cards for quicker picking of the cards you need which you can find here

Now if you hate wasting time picking through cards and like to get down to playing as quickly as possible then maybe you should consider getting this edition.  It’s not super expensive so if you think you will play quite a bit with two players then it might be worth it for the time saved during set up.

Is Exploding Kittens Good For Two Players?:

Now for the real question, is Exploding Kittens worth playing with two players?  Most people would argue that it’s only worth playing at higher player counts but we would like to disagree.  

The endings may be anticlimactic sometimes when the Exploding Kitten is the last card left and both players just drag it out to survive, and your options are more limited, but Nopeing each other’s Nopes will never get old.  

The tension of potentially drawing an Exploding Kitten is still there no matter whether you’re playing with two players or ten, so the thing that made Exploding Kittens so popular has not changed at this player count.  If you think about it, the tension is even higher because there are fewer players drawing cards so your likelihood of drawing the Exploding Kitten card is even higher.  Even worse your opponent only has you to steal defuse cards from!

So in our opinion, not much is lost when playing Exploding Kittens with two players compared to higher player counts.

Pros:

  • Easy to learn
  • Quick to play
  • Can be enjoyed by a wide variety of players.

Cons:

  • Terrible Packaging
  • Some rounds can be anti-climatic

We hope this Exploding Kittens Two Player Edition game review has helped you and if you are interested in buying a copy you can click the orange “Buy on Amazon” button.

Our reviews are not paid reviews, but some games are given to us, we do not let this affect our opinions in any way. This post may contain affiliate links so we might receive compensation if you sign up for or purchase products linked to. As an Amazon Associate, we can earn from qualifying purchases. This helps cover our site’s costs and allows us to continue reviewing games.


Exploding Kittens App

If you are a Netflix member you also have exclusive access to the Exploding Kittens app on android or apple.  According to app reviews though, it doesn’t appear to be the best, but still might be worth taking a look at if you want to check out Exploding Kittens before making a purchase.


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