Second Look: Exploding Kittens

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.In January, I pledged the Exploding Kittens Kickstarter and have waited (im)patiently for the past six months for my hilarious card game of kittens and explosions to arrive.

It was worth the wait.

The game reached its level of fame as the most-backed board game on Kickstarter due in part to one of the game’s creators, Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal. Just as you would imagine, each card is lovingly drawn with hilarious wit and witticism.

The goal of the game is to not be the person who draws the Exploding Kitten from a 56-card deck (or, 112 if you combine the basic deck and NSFW deck). How you achieve not drawing the card is all part of the strategy.

Exploding Kittens 1If I had to compare it to an existing popular card game, I would say it is most akin to Uno. Players draw cards from a deck and use those cards to either cause havoc for their opponent, or create a cushion of safety for themselves.

There are eight different types of cards, each with hilarious illustrations and flavor text to make you spew milk out of your nose. You can cause trouble for your opponent by playing an Attack card, which forces him or her to play two turns (thus drawing two cards from the deck) or a Favor card, which means you get to take a card from your opponent. You can also make things easier on yourself by playing a See the Future card, so you can check to see if one of the top cards is an Exploding Kitten, or play a Shuffle card, which allows you to reshuffle the deck. Skip cards allow you to end your turn without drawing. A Nope card negates the action of an opponent’s play. The elusive and all-important Defuse card stops a kitten from exploding.

Exploding Kittens 2With a few additional rules about the game, you can get started right a way. Action cards have text right on them to describe their abilities. You can get through a game in a few minutes, or take as long as 20 minutes, depending on the number of players and cards, as well as where the Exploding Kitten is shuffled into the deck.

I played this game with a fellow Oatmeal fan and we both laughed many times at the cards we played (especially the NSFW deck). While a two-player game was certainly fun, I can tell that it would be much better played with at least four. The strategy and card play would be more action-packed with more players. But, really, it was loads of fun with just the two of us.

While shipping for the Kickstarter campaign pledges has only just begun, you can sign up for the Exploding Kittens pre-order mailing list to receive information when the game will be made to the general public.

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Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.A few years ago, a tech professional created a simple card game where players try to beat each other’s hands by having a card with the highest value. The part that made CPU Wars Volume 1.0 unique was the fact that the cards were all pictures and specs of computer processor chips.

The game was popular enough to spawn a stand-alone sequel. CPU Wars Volume 2.0 covers 30 CPUs that focus on the history of servers dating back across the past 40 years. The game can be played by itself, or combined with CPU Wars Volume 1.0 for extended play (and more players).

CPU Wars 2.0 1Two tech-savvy friends played CPU Wars 2.0 with me and were immediately giddy over the game’s packaging, which is an anti-static sealed bag. They also enjoyed reminiscing over the status of some of the older computer companies, like SPARC and Sun Microsystems.

I know a thing or two about computers, but feel like I’m reading a different language when it comes to the details of processor chip specifications. However, I could still play this game just as good as my opponents.

The game supports two to three players. All cards are divided evenly amongst the players and each player picks one card from the top of their deck. The active player picks a category from the list on the card (like Max Clock Speed, or Die Size). Everyone then reads the value listed on their own card for that category. The player with the highest or lowest number wins. Whether high or low wins is designated by an up or down arrow next to the category.

CPU Wars 2.0 2You can also play an alternate version of the game where a D8 dice is rolled and the category is chosen at random. I highly recommend playing this version, since it adds an element of chaos to the gameplay.

You don’t have to know a thing about computers to play the game. All you have to do is choose a category and hope your number is higher (or lower) than your opponents’.

From a gamer’s perspective, the rules are a little too vague, which can be frustrating. The game is also a little unbalanced, especially if your card is from a few decades ago. Older processors have lower numbers for nearly every category except Introduction Year and Max TDP. Additionally, just like the traditional card game, War, this can last hours because a player may be down to only a few cards and suddenly end up with most of the deck after just a few rounds. We ended up just stopping after about 20 minutes.

CPU Wars 2.0 3Overall, we enjoyed how easy it was to simply sit down and play the game. It would make the perfect stocking stuffer for your hardware engineer friend or as a secret Santa gift for anyone working in the tech industry.

You can pick up each volume for only $10 or the double-pack for $17. You also can really make your computer tech buddy happy with an actual electrostatic-sensitive device component gift box.

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Race Against the Soundtrack in Pingo Pingo

PingoPingo_3DboxIello’s fun and chaotic card game Pingo Pingo will get you up and moving, literally. Some aspects of the game require you to physically get up, run to an object in the room and get back to the table before the crazy penguins invade.

The fast-paced game revolves around a 15-minute soundtrack (the game comes with a CD, but you can download the soundtrack to your smartphone). As the music plays, different actions take place. For example, if the song is playing daytime music, players must adhere to daytime rules on the cards. The same applies to night. If you are away from your seat when the crazy penguins shout “Pingo Pingo” and you might lose your loot.

The fun comes with the action cards. If you draw a yellow-border action card, you will have to perform some physical feat. For example, you may have to run to the other side of the room to tap the suspension bridge base. Or, you may have to shoot a wild beast with your dart gun.

Yes, the game comes with a dart gun.

The point of the game is to gather treasure from the island by drawing cards and following their actions as quickly as possible. You have seven health points. When you lose all of your points, you lose the game. If you make it to the end and have the most treasure, you win.

The game supports two to five players ages six and older and includes the following:

  • Pirate pistol and 10 darts
  • Soundtrack CD
  • Space Penguin target
  • Bear target
  • Two suspension bridge bases
  • Pirate ship base
  • 35 life point cards
  • 82 adventure cards
  • Rulebook

Pingo Pingo is available now from your local board game shop for a retail price of $34.99.

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Crabs Adjust HumidityNo, you are not reading that title wrong. Crabs Adjust Humidity is an unofficial parody expansion for the epically popular Cards Against Humanity card game. There are already four expansions with 112 cards in each deck (which you can now buy as a set). This June, expect Crabs to infest your game again with volume 5.

[Edit: Volume 5 is not shipping in June. Vampire Squid Cards told Purple Pawn via email that the new set is expected to launch sometime in mid-July, but nothing is official yet. The reason for the delay: counterfeiters. Vampire Squid Cards must changes to the game to make it more difficult to copy. A company in China managed to make detailed replicas that were printed on lower quality materials.]

The unofficial expansion cards are printed on linen finished casino-quality cards and feature the black-and-white card design similar to CAH. The main difference (other than the name) is the red icon at the bottom of each card.

Each 112-card pack contains 80 white and 32 black that are all 100 percent compatible with the original CAH game. In fact, Vampire Squid notes that you must have the CAH base game in order to play this unofficial expansion.

Volume 5 is set to launch this June July and will probably be priced at $14.

It is important to point out that neither Cards Against Humanity, nor Crabs Adjust Humidity are family friendly. In fact, I would considered this game to be X-Rated. If you have a sensitive disposition, you probably don’t want to play either game.

Win over hungry customers with Just Desserts

Just DessertsLooney Labs, the company that brought you the hilariously confusing game of Fluxx, is back with another card game. This time, it is set in a dessert cafe and you are a waiter.

In Just Desserts, players must try to satisfy customers’ cravings for sweets by serving them delicious dishes. Dishes include such things as caramel nut torte, mint chocolate milkshake, and tapioca pudding.

There are 24 customer cards, each with a different hankering. One might want chocolate, marshmallows, and fruit. Another might want cookies, nuts, and pie. You must serve the customer by placing any number of dessert cards that fulfill his or her request. Collect customers of a certain color group, or one of each color to win.

Just Desserts supports two to five players ages eight and up and takes anywhere from five to 30 minutes to play. It costs $18 and is available at your local game store now.

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Double Feature: A game for movie fans

Double FeatureMy boyfriend doesn’t really like to play board games. However, he loves movies. What better way to bring together my passion with his than with Renegade Games’ Double Feature?

You don’t have to be a movie connoisseur to play this game. The mechanics are broad enough that, as long as you’ve seen some movies in your lifetime, chances are, you’ll get it right.

There are 120 cards covering such topics as props, location, character, scene, genre, setting, and production. Players choose two cards (of different topics) and try to come up with a movie that fits the bill.

For example, one card could be “Comedy” (from the genre pile) and the other could be “New York” (from the setting pile). How many movies can you name that are comedies set in New York?

Double Feature supports three to 10 players for ages 10 and up. A single game takes approximately 20 – 35 minutes. It retails for $20 and is available at your local game store now.

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IDW Games Launching CHEW Card Game This May

CHEW Cases of the FDAIDW Games recently announced that the hugely popular independent comic book CHEW will make its way into tabletop gaming starting this May with CHEW: Cases of the FDA card game.

The game was developed in collaboration with comic creator John Laymen and game designer Kevin Wilson of Descent, X-Files, and Arkham Horror fame. Each card features art by Rob Guillory.

The game is set in the Eisner-award winning world of Detective Tony Chu, a “Cibopath” who gets physic impressions from anything he bites into (including human flesh when it is necessary). Two to four players take turns trying to close out cases that appear in the ongoing comic series. Enlist help from such characters as John Colby, Amelia Minz, and more (Do you like how all of their last names refer to food?)

All pre-ordered copies of the game will come with an exclusive variant edition of CHEW #1, which features the “Dogs Playing Poker” homage that is on the cover of the game box. Pre-orders will also come with 20 pink CHOG plastic minis.

Either visit your local board game store, or go to the IDW Games website for more information on where to pre-order.

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The Team at Looney Labs ( knows a good thing when they see one. And the Fluxx game system keeps giving us one good thing after another. Pirate Fluxx is the latest version to be added to the Fluxx themed games.

Fluxx was created in 1997 and has grown over time to include:

  1. Fluxx Blanxx – Customize your own game
  2. Stoner Fluxx
  3. EcoFluxx
  4. Family Fluxx
  5. Jewish Fluxx
  6. Christian Fluxx
  7. Zombie Fluxx
  8. Monty Python Fluxx
  9. Martian Fluxx
  10. Pirate Fluxx

For fans of Fluxx, Pirate Fluxx will be exactly what they are looking for. Laughter, silliness, and some new surprises from Surprise Cards.

For those new to the world of Fluxx, this version of Fluxx is as good as any version to jump in and learn the craziness of Fluxx. And trust me, for first time players, any version of Fluxx is a crazy experience.

The concept of Fluxx is extremely simple. Draw a card, Play a card, meet the goal to win. Except after nearly every hand, the goal changes, the rule of how many cards to draw changes, the rule for how many cards to play changes, and a whole group of other changes occur. For newbies, this constant changing of rules and goals can be overwhelming at first. It takes a few plays of Fluxx before you start to get a handle on dealing with a constant shifting set of rules.

What is nice, if you know one Fluxx game you know them all. I learned on Martian Fluxx, a gift from Andrew Looney himself. We played at the Las Vegas Airport returning from the GAMA trade show.  Next was a game of Monty Python Fluxx played in Germany with Dutch and German speaking players. That was an interesting game listening to Monty Python songs sung by Germans.

Picking up Pirate Fluxx did not require reading the rules; just jumped right in where we left off with the last one.

Because all Fluxx games play the same, the cards are designed to allow you to mix and match the games. You can put your Monty Python with your Zombie with your Pirate and have a great game.

And what’s nice about this version, you get to work on your foreign language, Pirate talk. I can’t wait to play with my German friends and listen to them talk like a pirate.


For full description and official product page visit

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Cell: The Corporate War Released

Cell: The Corporate War has been released by Warpunk Studio, and is now for sale through The Game Crafter.

I’d previously mentioned that the thing that excited me the most about this title was the method of distribution.  Now I have to say that the transmedia elements are the most interest to me.

The Neuronet acts as an online news source for the game world, and there seems to be several pieces of fiction already written around the universe. There’s also a desktop wallpaper and two Firefox themes available.  The game even has a theme song.

All this and more can be accessed at Warpunk’s Cell page.

Take a peek at the rules, if all of this interests you.

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