Play Journal – Exploding Kittens

I played this game both via the free app and also via distance card game. Though similar there were many differences between the games. The biggest was that the free app I would play with elementary kids and the one face to face, well lets just say it is for adults with a unique set of humor…. will not be inviting my mother-in-law to play a game …. ever!

The game is a simple card game. Ok, that is what the designers want you to think when you play the free app. Which is really quite simple. Draw cards and avoid getting an exploding kitten and try to give the exploding kitten to another player. Then you see the rules for the face to face card game. Wow, there are all sorts of twists and turns. Even the people who were physically at the table were having challenges with understanding all the rules after an hour of play. There was a much deeper level of strategy and devilishness about the card game. Not to mention the comments on some of the cards really can throw one off track.

Regarding experiences: The app was very easy to play and only took me about 10-15 minutes to figure out what I needed to do. But with the card game I would want to have the instructions in front of me and then explore different options, for probably about 30, minutes before starting play. It was challenging to hear all the different interpretations of the rules without being able to see them. Of course now I want to see the rules because I want to see if their interpretations were correct.

The games design is pretty straight forward as mentioned before. It is the twists and turns of the rules (and words on the cards) that makes the game different. Though there were rules, as a card game with the diversity of the cards it would be easy to get creative and make your own rules. Though as a card game it would be impossible to add new cards without making that obvious.

The first thing I think of is Bogost’s comment that the ‘world is so much bigger and weirder than we expected’. This game is weird but the strategies part really is what the driving undercurrent that keeps the world spinning. Though very loose in connect is the idea of how having creativity within the game can engage today’s youth in learning opportunities. Standard classroom desk and lecture is not successful. Peppler and Kafal specifically talk about gaming fluencies in relation to literacy but I see this as being cross content as well. This game would peak their interest and then one could talk about stats and probability.

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