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Last Christmas, my husband and I bought each other almost the exact same gift. I bought him the Exploding Kittens Party Pack and he bought me the Original version. It was one of those “Seriously?!” moments. Naturally, we were curious what the difference was and which game was better, so we played both. And now we’re here to share our thoughts with you…

Exploding Kittens Original vs Party Pack Different Packaging & Number of Cards

But first, if you’ve never heard of Exploding Kittens before, then you might also want to check out our detailed reviews to find out more about each card game:

What’s the difference between Exploding Kittens and the Exploding Kittens Party Pack?

The three most important differences between the Original Exploding Kittens game and the Party Pack are:

  • Number of players: The original game is for 2-5 players while the party version is for 2-10 players.
  • Number of cards: The Party Pack has two decks of cards (120 in total) to accommodate more players whereas the Original version has one deck of cards (50 in total).
  • New action cards: The party version has the same cards as the original game plus additional action cards (“Feral Cat”, “Targeted Attack”, “Alter the Future” and “Draw from the Bottom”), which help to change up the game. More on these shortly.

There are also two other minor differences worth mentioning. The packaging is different and there’s a new “Special Combo” mentioned in the Party Pack rulebook. Let’s discuss all of these differences in more detail.

Number of Players

The Original Exploding Kittens game is meant to be played with 2-5 people. There’s one deck of cards to play with, which contains 50 cards in total.

If you’re playing with a larger group of people and having one heck of an awesome game night, then the Party Pack edition is for 2-10 players. In this version, the total amount of cards you play with changes based on how many people are playing.

Number of Cards

In the Original Exploding Kittens game, there’s just one deck of 50 cards. You play with the full deck if five people are playing. For games of less than five people, you remove some “Exploding Kitten” cards from the deck as follows:

  • 5 players use 4 Exploding Kittens
  • 4 players use 3 Exploding Kittens
  • 3 players use 2 Exploding Kittens
  • 2 players use just 1 Exploding Kitten

In the Exploding Kittens Party Pack edition, there are two decks of cards (120 in total). Once again, the amount of people playing changes how many cards you use:

  • 2-3 players only use the cards with pawprints on them (44 cards in total plus 1 or 2 Exploding Kittens)
  • 4-7 players only use the cards without pawprints on them (67 cards in total plus 3-6 Exploding Kittens)
  • 8-10 players use all the cards (111 cards in total plus 7-9 Exploding Kittens)

Regardless of whether you’re playing the Original or Party Pack version, you always play with one less Exploding Kitten than the number of people playing. So two players use one Exploding Kitten, three players use two Exploding Kittens and so on.

For the eagle-eyed among you, you might’ve noticed that two people playing with the Exploding Kittens Party Pack will use fewer “Defuse” cards than in the original version of the game.

This is a change in rules with the Party Pack version, and naturally, it makes the game more challenging. Of course, you could just remove some “Defuse” cards from the Original version to get the same effect.

New Action Cards

With all this said, probably the biggest difference between Exploding Kittens Original and the Party Pack is the additional cards you get in the party version. You get all the same cards as the Original game plus the following:

  • Feral Cat: This card can be used in combination with any other cat card such as “Beard Cat”, “Rainbow Cat”, “Taco Cat”, etc. Handy when you need to use a “Special Combo” to steal cards from other players.
  • Targeted Attack: This card is in addition to the original “Attack” card. This time, you can target which player you want to attack. Most useful with games of three or more players.
  • Alter the Future: You can check the top three cards in the Draw pile (just like with a “See the Future” card). But this time, you can change the order of the three cards.
  • Draw from the Bottom: As the name suggests, you draw your next card from the bottom of the Draw pile rather than from the top.

If you like the sound of these extra cards and you already own the Original version, then you may want to buy an Expansion Pack instead. There are several to choose from, and therefore, lots more ways you can make someone “explode” before you do.

NEW Action Cards in Exploding Kittens Party Pack

5 Card Special Combo

In the rulebook for the Exploding Kittens Party Pack, there’s an additional “Special Combo” you can use, which is aptly named the “5 Card Special Combo”.

By playing five cards with different titles, you can pick up any card from the Discard pile. I imagine most people grab a “Defuse” card. But you have to be quick or you might get “Noped!”

Of course, there’s no reason why you can’t use this “Special Combo” when playing with the Original version of the game.

RELATED: Exploding Kittens Review – Is It Fun For Adults?

Packaging Quality

Finally, the only other difference between these two versions of Exploding Kittens is the quality of the packaging and rulebooks.

The Party Pack has a magnetic lid and makes a noise when you open it. Ours sounds like a cat purring. Or exploding, I guess. But other people have mentioned meowing cats or cats doing the conga (whatever that’s supposed to sound like!)

The Original version doesn’t make a noise and just has a bog-standard box with a separate lid. It still has a cool design, though!

Surprisingly, we thought the rulebook in the Original version was better quality than the one in the Party Pack as the leaflet is bigger, folds up fewer times and is made from stronger paper.

Exploding Kittens Review - Is It Fun For Adults?

The rulebook in the Party Pack folds up into a very small rectangle to fit inside a pocket next to the noise device mentioned earlier and it’s made from much thinner paper. I imagine this rulebook would be more likely to rip or tear over time.

Exploding Kittens Party Pack Review

Does the Exploding Kittens party pack work with expansions?

If you’re wondering whether you can use Expansion Packs with the Exploding Kittens Party Pack, then the official website confirms you can use all three of their current Expansion Packs (just like with the Original version):

Can you combine Exploding Kittens decks?

If you want to play with more people and you only have the Original version of the game, then there’s no reason why you can’t play with extra cards.

You’d need to work out how many “Exploding Kitten” cards to play with. (Remember: It’s always one less than the number of people playing). And you won’t benefit from the new action cards that the Party Pack has (you’d need to buy an Expansion Pack to get those).

But you can still host an epic game night with the Original version. You don’t necessarily need the Party Pack.

Note: when I was first deciding whether to buy the Original game or the Party Pack, I found some outdated Reddit forums, which said the card designs differed between the two games. Having bought both games very recently, it looks like the designers and manufacturers have fixed this issue.

One More Thing…

If you were reading this blog post because you wanted to know which version of Exploding Kittens you should buy, then I hope the info above has helped you.

But if not, then I’ll sum up by saying that the Party Pack is worth it if you’ll frequently be playing with more than five or six people. It also has some new action cards in it, which add another level of excitement to the game. At the time of writing, you’ll probably find it’s only about £5/$5 more than the Original version (or even less when it’s on offer).

Alternatively, if you’re never going to play with more than five or six people, then you might prefer to grab an Expansion Pack when you buy the Original version. (Imploding Kittens and Streaking Kittens are the most popular). This will give you some new action cards to play with, but you won’t have to store almost an entire deck of cards you’re never going to use.

That’s my two cents anyway! What about you? Which version would you go for? Let me know in the comments below…

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