Exploding Kittens Blows Up Kickstarter

By Jared Miller
In Card Games
Jan 21st, 2015

In case you missed it, Kickstarter history was made yesterday with the launch of Exploding Kittens, the brain child of Matthew Inman, Elan Lee, and Shane Small. Within eight minutes, the game had reached its funding goal of $10,000. “That’s great,” you say. “Lots of games meet their funding quickly,” you add. Okay, how does 1000% funded in less than one hour sound? That’s $100,000 in ONE hour. Still not impressed? First, let’s be friends. I’ll let you buy me dinner. Second, how about $1 MILLION raised in under seven hours. Again, that is $1,000,000 in less than the average work day. If you’re not impressed now, then I’m not sure what will get you. Did you know we landed on the moon? Yes? Okay, well, I tried. So about this history making…


Twenty-four hours later, funding is at $1,985,242 and still going up. That makes Exploding Kittens’ first day the highest funded game in Kickstarter history. So was it the game that did it? It looks okay. A fun party game the likes of Cards Against Humanity (who happen to be helping behind the scenes). The reason this game broke such huge ground is all thanks to Matthew Inman. He’s the guy behind The Oatmeal, the hilarious web comic that has over 3 million likes on Facebook. So even just a small percentage of that would have gotten them their funding. But a large percentage of it leads us to where we are today. Truly impressive.

I’m looking forward to seeing what the final amount is for Exploding Kittens. As of right now, it seems the sky is the limit with Kicktraq projections putting this game as the highest funded tabletop game so far. Did you back it? Let us know in the comments.

Update: Corrected initial funding goal to $10,000. – JM

  • Daniel36

    While not exactly the same as making history, it is also the first ever Kickstarter in which I saw the backers counter just go up and up and up and up with between 2 to 5 backers EVERY FIVE SECONDS!!!

    I never see kickstarter pledges go up while I am taking a look. It just upped by 12! In the time it took me to write this post, I think about 100 people decided to pledge.

    That is insane. Then again, exploding kittens is a pretty awesome concept!

    • Daniel36

      Actually, probably more like 1000 people, because when I looked at it, it was at like 1,998,000 and it just broke 2 million.

  • Soulfinger

    I don’t get it. Is this a press release from the manufacturer? Sure, it’s impressive that the game is doing great, but that’s covered in the original posting isn’t it? The user posts there were what I counted on to inform my opinion. I miss the objective ‘new release’ posts where the user posts generated the buzz. I miss this being the Wall Street Journal of gaming in a market flush with tabloid-style yellow journalism and BoLSesque rumor mongering.

    • 4tonmantis

      Soulfinger I’m with you completely. I don’t know what changed or why but the approach being taken lately is horrendous. On top of this we got a “news” article on a rumor. Then.. we got an editorial on the rumours. The releases by smaller mom and pop type shops are getting swirled into those crappy round up posts and other projects for no apparent reason get previews, release stories, review stories… etc..

      And I still hate this layout.

      • For my part, I like the roundups for podcasts and game reviews, but the releases/previews getting in a roundup don’t work very well (especially since we can’t really tell what’s supposed to go where).

  • Justacomment


    Could not have said it better. It saddens me.

  • Ghool

    This looks like a crap game with a super-simplistic rules set.
    Also, not even a prototype, or gameplay video? My guess is that very few of the 55k+ backers are actually interested in the game, or know what it’s about.

    “Buddy from the Oatmeal did the art? I’m sold!”

    This should be called Exploding Sheep….not kittens.

    • Veshniltin

      I think it is a matter of taste and time. I’ve found my gaming group will often just start with something light and fast, like Coup, Lunch Money, or 8 Minute Empire before we launch into a major miniature wargame.

      For us, each human player represents a kingdom or chooses a kingdom to represent if they play multiple armies. Any game we play has narrative value to the entire campaign. So a 5 minute game of Coup may result in a general being removed in a game God of Battles. A well played game of Agricola means your troops are better fed and get a one time moral reroll, etc. We gave up on rules based campaign systems long ago.

      So is a game about Exploding Kittens going to strain my keen strategic mind? Nope, but neither does a game about Unexploded Cows and it’s still fun and relevant to our gaming world.

      • Kaiju_Cowboy

        Well said! My group also tends to warm up or cool down with these types of games. They are also great for the people I know who aren’t in to “deeper” tabletop games but will give this a try no problem.

        • Veshniltin

          Yes, we could almost start a thread of “Gateway” games. I know I started painting Talisman before I played any other miniature war games, and I started my vast Ork horde from GorkaMorka… Exploding Kittens could hook many people into playing at the table instead of the console, even just for a quick game.

          • Kaiju_Cowboy

            Gateway games are very important to the industry. Without them, we don’t hook in those players who would have walked right on by. Not to mention how great they are when you just don’t have the time for a big game either.

          • mathieu

            “Gateway games are very important to the industry. Without them, we don’t hook in those players who would have walked right on by.”

            Is that a fact? I’m genuinely curious. This concept of “gateway games” has only been around for a handful of years, and I’m willing to bet most people on this site were tabletop gamers long before they heard of it. Not that it necessarily mean anything, but there are generations of gamers who got hooked without these “gateway games” around, so I’m wondering whether this idea that’s been around for a couple of years that they are very important to the industry has actually ever been verified. As in quantified.

            For example, does anybody here know of any tabletop gamer who got into gaming via one of these “gateway games”? Or are any of these games routinely sold in stores that aren’t LGSs?

  • shiny

    Someone being impressed and exuberant is now slated as Yellow Journalism. The Wall Street Journal of the gaming industry. Bad layout.


    For my two cents, I can get into the excitement because 1) Inman is a freaking mutant genius and 2) exploding stuff. Neither point is either fact or very important in the Will The World End continuum, but neither is a website dedicate to informing the gaming public.

    And I will now go back outside.

    • Soulfinger

      Yellow Journalism = “journalism that is based upon sensationalism and crude exaggeration.”
      Sensationalism = “the use of exciting or shocking stories or language at the expense of accuracy, in order to provoke public interest or excitement.”
      So . . . “If you’re not impressed now, then I’m not sure what will get you. Did you know we landed on the moon?”
      versus just leaving it at,
      “$1 MILLION raised in under seven hours,” which conveys information without characterizing the reader as a drooling moron. Be impressed and exuberant, that’s fine, but do it in the comments section, because posting an article about it is a blow to the rock solid, long-standing reputation that this site built for neutral, objective coverage of new releases. I don’t come to this site much anymore, but it does bother me to see it reduced like this.

  • Enrico Nardini

    Hey guys,

    I was on and I wanted to address the concerns I felt qualified to, so that you know you are being heard, specifically, why this is on here. The Exploding Kittens Kickstarter is experiencing some of the most… well “explosive” growth of any crowdfunded tabletop game. This is a big deal, and though we are often a place where you can find out about new campaigns, this one is particularly newsworthy by both the volume of cash it has raised in such a short period of time and what it tells us about the kind of influence a high profile cartoonist can have in our medium. I imagine, if it continues to grow as it has, there will likely be another story or two on here before it is all said and done. This is news for our industry, and it’s especially interesting for those involved in crowdfunding (backers and creators).

    I’m not going to post an excerpt of what was discussed when we decided to post something further, but one thing that was debated was whether we needed to comment on it ourselves. We decided as a team to do that, and Jared wrote it up.

    To be clear, we have received $0.00 ad-dollars from anyone associated with the KS. That said, even if they had advertised with us, we still would be posting on it and not for nefarious reasons. We believe it’s newsworthy. Long story short, (and this is really not the place to debate this) buying an ad on this site doesn’t buy my opinion, and I think I can safely speak for the others that write here on that.

    Addressing the GW rumors issue in this thread would be derailing. I feel like it might be worthwhile to draft an article explaining how things get done around here. I hope, for the majority of our readers, there is a realization that we are not click baiting. Believe me, if I was I could do it a lot more efficiently than being bored to a stupor reading business jargon from a financial report.

    Hope that helps,


    • 4tonmantis

      I’m not sure who you are.. I’ve been here since before CMON or not came over and I’m hoping it’s unintentional that you’re coming across as condescending. I’m hoping that you’re unaware that your tone comes across as though we’re unable to see the changes, read the articles, and witness the staff of TGN ignoring our feedback. Very few people have actually mentioned liking the new layout and NOBODY has mentioned being happy with this recent direction of “reporting”. I have in the past submitted countless news articles. These ranged from website outtages, stores closing shops, new releases, etc. I stopped reporting these things when these were getting buried under Kickstarter announcement, card games, poorly edited reviews and editorials, and whatever else. For the last few weeks I’ve been avoiding this site. Within the past few days I have decided to give it a shot. So far I’ve not been won back over by any small margin.
      Perhaps I missed the introductory letter where you introduced yourself. Perhaps I missed the article when you explained the direction TGN was headed. Perhaps I missed the part where you appeared as anything other than someone who apparently is behind the scenes wringing his hands, waiting until he needs to step out and “lay down the law” or whatever your post was intended to do. Did it offer clarity? Perhaps.. but perhaps not in the desired direction.

      • Enrico Nardini

        You definitely know who I am. Not personally, but we’ve actually had conversations via email in the past. I also have been here before CMON took over. My name is Enrico Nardini. I was under a different handle at the time (eengaming). You may not remember, but please don’t try to pull rank on me, because how long I’ve been here has absolutely nothing to do with what I was responding to regarding this specific news piece.

        It’s really difficult to recognize tone in text. You’re entitled to read into my tone any way you like. There was a question as to why this was here. I tried to answer that. I didn’t resort to insults or attempting to dumb it down for anyone. I didn’t censor anyone or delete posts.

        “NOBODY has mentioned being happy with this recent direction of “reporting”.”

        Well, that is demonstrably untrue. It isn’t even your opinion that’s in question here, you are actually factually incorrect. You can check the comments in some of my articles. You were actually just posting in one.

        “Perhaps I missed the introductory letter where you introduced yourself. Perhaps I missed the article when you explained the direction TGN was headed. Perhaps I missed the part where you appeared as anything other than someone who apparently is behind the scenes wringing his hands, waiting until he needs to step out and “lay down the law” or whatever your post was intended to do. Did it offer clarity? Perhaps.. but perhaps not in the desired direction.”

        How exactly did you intend your tone to sound in the above text or in fact any of your posts, and how is posting my opinion on something said here “laying down the law.” You are trying to instigate a war where there is none. If I was “laying down the law” wouldn’t I just delete the posts I didn’t agree with? That would make a lot more sense and be far more expedient. Instead I shared my experience and opinion.

        We are trying to provide articles that are interesting for our readers, and we are allowed to respectfully defend that. There was no attack. You, apparently from your behavior, felt attacked. That also is out of my control. I can only present information and and my opinion.

        In closing, when I read this: “you’re coming across as condescending” I cannot help but wonder if you have ever looked at the history of your posts in the comment section of articles on TGN? Perhaps you, and when I say this, I am specifically addressing you, should consider how you are coming across.

        I love writing for this site, and I try to do it in a respectful and intelligent way. I love when an article I create sparks a discussion (like my most recent piece). I love the exchange of ideas and I learn something new from our commenters almost every time I read them. Reading comments on my articles has caused me to consider mechanical comparisons in editions of D&D, the production of plastic bases and its effect of a company’s bottom line, and that Soulfinger and I started with the same edition of Call of Cthulhu. The idea that I do not respect or care about this audience, that is very insulting to me.

        So, I’m off to bed, and you are entitled to think whatever you like about me and what I posted. I will continue to do my best, and if it is not to your liking, well, every writer isn’t for every reader. I can live with that.

        You wanted an introduction so here you go: I write and edit some of the articles on TGN.

        • 4tonmantis

          Oh.. right.. you’re that guy that left me hanging on my offer to do some art for you.. got it.

      • Soulfinger

        4ton, he’s the associate editor who writes up all of the editorials for people who want to read Play Unplugged but don’t actually want to visit that site, like the GW rumor mill article that you recently commented on. Also, kind of the reason that all of the product releases are bundled into “roundups,” as otherwise the editorials would quickly get buried by announcements.

    • Soulfinger

      Not sure who you are addressing most of your comment to. Was anyone debating this being a nefarious scheme, click baiting, or your integrity with advertisers? Is this story news? Sure. There’s your point, and I agree that some cogent reporting on it may be in order.

      My point, on the other hand, was that this site went from objective “X company released Y product at Z price” reporting (that “bored to a stupor reading business jargon from a financial report” writing that used to draw me here daily) to the “Dude!!! l33t hax0r gam3z iz lolz!” reporting that every other site does. I expected more from CMoN, which unlike its peers, has the resources to actually license a copy of MS Word for its spell check utility and put a grown-up professional at the keyboard.

      Boiled down to its most distinct form, my question is: Why even bother buying a brand if you are going to rebrand it into a generic indistinguishable from its ‘competitors’ (and I use competitors loosely, as prior to the relaunch, TGN was in a class of its own)?

  • supervike

    A correction to your story, the initial ‘goal’ was only $10,000 not the $30,000 mentioned about. For my two cents, I think it is a news worthy article, as it is of interest, pertains to gaming, and has done well enough to get people outside Kickstarter to pay attention.

    I’m not a backer of it, but I think it’s an amazing success story.

    • Jared_M

      Thank you for pointing that out, supervike! It has been corrected.

  • maxxev

    Not bothered about this article being here or not, but I will add my 2 pence on the rumour round-ups. I have to agree that I do not like the fact that new releases are appearing in them, not bothered about podcasts and other things in them but I come here for news on new releases that’s what I want to see.

    I appreciate the industry is now dominated by Kickstarters with pretty much every 2nd post on here is a KS post, where are over on TTfix you will find that they still post separate posts on product releases. I personally find TTfx more useful and always seems to have interesting small company launches tht TTGN doesn’t report, but I still come here as generally there is something they miss, between the two sites generally everything is captured, but TTfix captures less KS and more genuine releases.

    • Soulfinger

      Bookmarked. Cheers! That’s what I’ve been missing.

  • Mike Strefford

    and currently at $3.6M and trending towards $22.5M…….that is just ….