Exploding Kittens is one of my favorite card games. How could it not be? It is a card game that involves cats! Also, Matthew Inman‘s artwork and text on the cards are hilarious.
However, it is not easy to find someone to play hilarious card games with all the time, so I wanted to come up with a way to play it solo. Ever since I heard about Inman’s (and his co-creator Elan Lee’s) newest card game (Bears vs. Babies), I was inspired by the idea of Exploding Kittens as a deck building solitaire. You see, in Bears vs. Babies, you build these monsters (bears) to fight against an army of babies. And I figured, since there are a lot of Cat cards in Exploding Kittens with no instructions, they can act as the army of babies and I could fight them using action cards, building a (mini) deck (instead of monsters). In Bears vs. Babies, the army of babies usually get activated when their nap time is disrupted (provoked) by one of the players, and I thought, the Kitten cards could activate (provoke) the Cat cards in Exploding Kittens. So, that’s the main point, and below is my full variant:
- Start with a Defuse card. Shuffle two more Defuse cards into the deck. Discard the rest of the Defuse cards. Defuse cards basically negate the Kittens (just like in the original game) and stop the Cat cards from attacking you (the provoking).
- You can either hold a group of the same type of action cards (just Attack cards, for example) or two different type of individual action cards in your deck at all times. This rule is also applied to Defuse cards. You can swap an incoming action card with a card from your deck, and whichever doesn’t stay in your deck must be discarded.
- 4 of the action cards work for you and two of them work against you. The ones that work against you are Nope and Shuffle cards. When a Shuffle card shows up, you must shuffle the deck immediately. Nope cards cancel out one of your action cards on your deck. You must choose and discard one of them immediately. For the action cards that work for you, below are the instructions:
- Attack kills a group of Cat cards. Whenever the Cat cards show up, always keep them in groups in the middle of the table, for example, keep all of the Beard Cat cards together. All of the Cat cards in the middle construct the enemy Cat army.
- Skip lets you kill individual Cat cards. Skips are stronger together, one Skip card only kills one Cat card, two Skip cards kill three Cat cards, three of them kill five Cat cards and four of them kill seven Cat cards.
- See The Future acts as Adjust the Future (similar to the one from Imploding Kittens, the expansion pack) and affects 5 cards instead of 3. Basically, you can see and re-adjust top 5 cards.
- Favor lets you “recruit” the Cat cards for your own army. You recruit them in groups.
- You can use the action cards on your deck at any point. You cannot use an incoming action card right away, you must either put it in your deck or discard it without using.
- Whenever an Exploding Kitten shows up, the army of the Cat cards attack you. If you cannot stop them with your own army (Cat cards on your army and on the enemy army fight and cancel each other out) or with the action cards, you lose the game.
- At the end of the game when the main card deck runs out, the Cat army attacks you one final time even without being provoked by an Exploding Kitten, sort of a “Hail Mary” situation.
If you can make it to the end without being destroyed by the Cat army, you win the game!
Below are the links to the original games, if you’re intrigued:
Hope you enjoy this variant! Let me know what you think in the comments.