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Be honest. How many times have you played Exploding Kittens by now? If you’re anything like us, it was probably at least 20 times the first week you got the game.

But do you want to change up your EK experience even more?

Here’s how to play some classic card games using your Exploding Kittens cards because… why not?!

How To Play Classic Card Games With Exploding Kittens Cards

1. Rummy

With a standard game of Rummy, you have 7 cards and must create two sets of cards with them (e.g. 3 of a kind and 4 of a kind). In the Exploding Kittens version, you’re matching types of cards rather than number cards (e.g. Tacocat, Alter the Future, etc). When you discard a card from your hand, you or the player after you must follow that action (e.g. Draw From The Bottom). The Exploding Kitten card causes players to discard their entire hand.

Objective:

Be the first player to make two sets of cards in your hand (3 of a kind and 4 of a kind).

Adapted Rules For Exploding Kittens:

  • Cards Needed: Cat Cards, Action Cards and 1 Exploding Kitten card.
  • Setup: Shuffle the deck and deal 7 cards to each player. Shuffle an Exploding Kitten card into the draw pile.
  • Special Actions: When an Action Card is played, you or the next player must follow that action e.g. Draw From The Bottom. If you draw the Exploding Kitten card, you must surrender all the cards in your hand and draw a fresh batch of 7 cards. Place the Exploding Kitten card back into the deck. Play continues.

Note: You can only play this game with groups of 4 or more cards e.g. make sure there are 4 Tacocats in the deck and 4 of each Action Card you want to play with.

A successful Rummy hand using Exploding Kittens cards
A successful Rummy hand using Exploding Kittens cards

2. Slapjack

Slapjack is a fast-paced card game for 2-6 players. The goal is to win all the cards by being the first to slap the pile when a Jack is played. In the Exploding Kittens version, Exploding Kitten cards are used instead of the Jacks, so that’s when you’ll slap the pile as quickly as you can to win the cards.

Objective:

Win all the cards or have the most cards at the end of the game.

Adapted Rules For Exploding Kittens:

  • Cards Needed: Cat Cards, 4 Exploding Kittens (to use as the Jacks), Action Cards.
  • Setup: Shuffle the deck and deal it evenly among the players. Place your cards in a pile face down in front of you.
  • Gameplay: Players take turns flipping one card from their hand face-up to a pile in the middle. When an Exploding Kitten is flipped, players race to slap the pile. The first player to slap the pile wins all the cards in the middle.
  • Special Actions: The Action Card dictates what the next player must do e.g. Skip their turn, Draw from the Bottom of their pile of cards, peek at the next 3 cards in their hand with a See the Future card, etc.
Playing Slapjack with Exploding Kittens cards
Slap the pile when the Exploding Kitten card appears to win all the cards!

3. Old Maid

Old Maid is a classic matching game where you try to form pairs from your cards. The game is typically played with 2-8 players and your goal is to avoid being the player left at the end with the unmatched card, known as the “Old Maid”. In the Exploding Kittens version, this card is an Exploding Kitten card.

Objective:

Avoid being the player left with the unmatched card aka the Exploding Kitten card.

Adapted Rules For Exploding Kittens:

  • Cards Needed: Cat Cards, 1 Exploding Kitten (to use as the Old Maid card).
  • Setup: Remove one Cat Card to create an unpaired card. Shuffle and deal all the cards. Players look at their cards and discard any pairs.
  • Gameplay: Players take turns drawing one card from the player to their left, aiming to form and discard pairs. The player left holding the Exploding Kitten card at the end of the game is the Old Maid and loses. All the other players win.
Using an Exploding Kitten as an Old Maid card
Avoid being the player with the Exploding Kitten card at the end

4. Crazy Eights

Crazy Eights is a shedding-type card game for 2-5 players. The goal is to be the first player to get rid of all your cards by successfully matching the cards in your hand to the cards in the middle. In the Exploding Kittens version, Action Cards determine what happens to the next player (e.g. Skip their turn, Reverse order of play, etc) while the Exploding Kittens cards cause the next player to draw 2 cards. Sounds a bit like Uno, doesn’t it?

Objective:

Be the first player to discard all of your cards.

Adapted Rules For Exploding Kittens:

  • Cards Needed: Cat Cards, Action Cards, 4 Exploding Kittens.
  • Setup: Shuffle the deck and deal 5 cards to each player (7 if 3 players or fewer).
  • Gameplay: Players must play or draw a card each turn. The top card of the deck is turned over to start the discard pile. Players must match the top card on the discard pile by type or play an Action Card.
  • Special Actions:
    • Skip: Skip the next player.
    • Reverse: Reverse the turn order.
    • See the Future: Look at the top 3 cards of the deck.
    • Exploding Kitten: All players must draw 2 cards.
Playing Crazy Eights with Exploding Kittens cards
Playing Crazy Eights with Exploding Kitten cards

RELATED: How To Play Uno With Regular Playing Cards (+ Printable Cheat Sheets)

5. Go Fish

Go Fish is a simple card game typically played with 2-6 players. The goal is to collect as many sets of four matching cards as possible. While the original card game is quite dull, the Exploding Kittens version uses Action Cards to make it more fun.

Objective:

The player with the most sets of matching cards at the end of the game wins.

Adapted Rules For Exploding Kittens:

  • Cards Needed: Cat Cards (e.g., Tacocat, Hairy Potato Cat, Rainbow Ralphing Cat, etc), Action Cards, 1 Exploding Kitten.
  • Setup: Shuffle the deck and deal 5 cards to each player (7 if 3 players or fewer).
  • Gameplay: Players take turns asking each other for specific Cat Cards (e.g., “Do you have any Tacocats?”). If the asked player has the card, they must hand over all cards of that type. If not, they say “Go Fish,” and the asking player draws from the deck.
  • Special Actions:
    • Skip: Skip the next player’s turn.
    • See the Future: Look at the top 3 cards of the deck.
    • Exploding Kitten: Discard your entire hand and draw a new hand of the same size.

Note: Just like adapted Rummy, you can only play this game with groups of 4 or more cards e.g. make sure there are 4 Tacocats in the deck and 4 of each Action Card you want to play with.

Playing Go Fish with Exploding Kittens cards
Make sets of 4 Cat Cards in our Exploding Kittens version of Go Fish!

Read More About Exploding Kittens & Other Card Games

What do you think? Would you play classic card games with your Exploding Kittens cards? If you try it, we’d love to know!

And do you have ideas for other card games you could try this idea with? Share your ideas with us in the comments below…

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