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Research >> HappyGiftsForKids >> How many cards in Exploding Kittens? >> How to play Exploding Kittens with 2 players?
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How to play Exploding Kittens with 2 players?


The game premise of Exploding Kittens is quite simple as you'll have a deck of cards containing some Exploding Kittens. You would play the game by putting the deck face down and taking turns drawing cards until someone draws an Exploding Kitten.

When a player draws an exploding kitten, that player explodes! They are considered dead and out of the game. The game would go on and continue until there's only one player left, who will eventually be the last man standing and wins the game.

The logic of the game is If you explode, you lose. And if you don't explode, you win!

How to play Exploding Kittens with 2 players only?

The first step is to set up the game by starting with removing all the 4 Exploding Kittens and 6 Defuse cards from the deck.

Then, shuffle the remaining deck and deal 4 cards face down to each player.

Deal each player with 4 cards, then give them each a Defuse card.  Everyone should now have 5 cards. Keep your cards onhand a secret.

Try to get as many Defuse cards as possible as the game moves on.

Take note that a Defuse card is the only card that could save you from Exploding Kittens. If you play a Defuse card after drawing an Exploding Kitten, instead of getting exploded, you get to put back the Kitten into the Draw Pile anywhere you'd wish.

Insert enough Exploding Kittens back into the deck so that there is one fewer than the number of people playing. 

You'll need to remove any extra Exploding Kittens from the game if there are lesser players.

For two players game, you need to put only 2 of the extra Defuse cards back in the deck. Remove the other 2 from the game.

Then, shuffle the deck, and put it face down in the middle of the table. The shuffled deck would be your draw pile.

Pick a player to go first, and choose which way you could pick, and you're ready to play!

Also, all of the other cards would lessen your chances of exploding. 

Here's a good tip:

You could use a See the Future card to peek at the top few cards in the Draw Pile. If that reveals an Exploding Kitten you could then use a Skip card to end your turn and avoid drawing it and taking off the dreaded explosion from you!

How to take your turns?

Play a card from your hand by placing it face-up on top of the Discard Pile, and following the instructions on the card. Or play no cards at all; that's cool too.

After you follow the instructions on a card or play a Pair, you can play more cards. You could play as many cards as you'd like as there is no limit to how many cards. You could even dispose of all your cards in one turn. 

Lastly, end your turn by drawing a card from the Draw Pile into your hand and hoping it's not the much avoided Exploding Kitten.

Exploding Kittens is different from most other card games since you end your turn by drawing a card.

The play would continue clockwise around the table, or if there are two players, it also turns clockwise. 

There would be cards with no instructions on them, and they should be collected and played as pairs. If you play matching pairs with no instructions on them, you get to pick another player and steal a random card from their hand.

There are three more things to consider:

  • You could count the cards left in the Draw Pile.
  • You won't ever run out of cards in the Draw Pile, so there would be no need to reshuffle.
  • There is no maximum or minimum hand size in the rules. If you run out of cards in your hand, there's no special needed action to make. Just keep on playing and draw at least 1 more card on your next turn.

Here's a usual two-player scenario :

  • Your turn starts not by drawing, but by playing any or all cards from your hand that you could and want to, passing if you don't have any cards to play or don't want to play the ones you do have, or you're waiting because you only have one half of a pair.
  • As a rule, in general, you don't draw any cards until the end of your turn, and you do not discard what you draw. The strategy comes in trying to keep from drawing an Exploding Kitten. That is the reason you would play Attack or Skip cards, and See the Future card to have an idea what you're headed for and have a chance to steal your opponent's cards to try to improve your chances of surviving and eventually ending-up the winner.
  • There would be instances that both players would have no cards left on hand, and in a two-player game, you could still include all the kittens, and the game could still go faster. It's boring when you're just constantly drawing cards because you have nothing you can play, and the kitten is on the bottom of the deck.

After Thoughts

Winning Exploding Kittens is easy. Just make sure you don't explode. The last player alive wins the game regardless it's only a two or five-player game. 

As you get to play it, you'll learn how to use the cards smarter, and you'll be familiar with the right strategies to take as the game progresses. 

Be fearless and be ready to make your opponent explode!

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