With kittens, magical enchiladas, goats, and other hilarious components, how could you not totally love the card game Exploding Kittens? However, if you’re looking to freshen up your game night rotation, the best games like Exploding Kittens (but not) will deliver. These games feature similar elements and fast-paced play to give you the feel of the ever-popular card game, but they’ll also offer fun, unique elements of their own to shake things up.
Key Elements Of Exploding Kittens To Look For In Other Games
To find a game as equally awesome as Exploding Kittens, consider these aspects:
- Simple to learn and play: According to BoardGameGeek, players have given Exploding Kittens a low complexity rating of 1.09 out of 5, so it’s easy to learn and play. The game is designed for seven-year-olds and up, and for two to five total players — and each game only takes around 15 minutes! All of the card games on this list have a similar complexity rating (ranging from 1.02 to 1.5), so you and your fellow gamers should get the hang of them in a snap. The play times vary — some fast-paced options can be won in just 10 minutes, while others on the list can take up to an hour to play. So make sure to consider how much time to play you’ll typically have.
- Luck mixed with strategy: There is plenty of luck involved in Exploding Kittens — after all, you rarely know what the next cards in the deck will be. However, strategy is also required when choosing which cards to play. These card games share the same elements, though some tend to involve more luck while others are strategy-focused. Just like Exploding Kittens, these games are all highly competitive, too. There’s no teamwork to be had!
- Engaging theme: Anyone who’s played Exploding Kittens knows it has some seriously unique cards in its deck — between the portable cheetah butt, the thousand-year back hair, and the all-seeing goat wizard, you can’t help but laugh. If you love the zaniness of Exploding Kittens, you might want to look for picks with a similar lightheartedness. While some games on this list lack the humorous element, they make up for it by being highly thematic — like a dystopian fight for power, for example — or a classic favorite to keep players entertained.
Shop The Best Games Like Exploding Kittens
In a hurry? Here are the top picks for the best games like Exploding Kittens:
- A Unicorn-Themed Card Game For Fans Of Exploding Kittens: TeeTurtle Unstable Unicorns Card Game
- A Burrito Throwing Game From The Makers Of Exploding Kittens: Exploding Kittens Throw Throw Burrito
- Writer’s Pick: A Fast-Paced Card Game In A Dystopian Setting: Indie Boards and Cards Coup
- A Classic Card Game For Groups Small & Large: Mattel Games UNO Family Card Game
- A Card-Slapping Game You Can Play In Just 10 Minutes: Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza
- A Medieval-Themed Card Game With Plenty Of Strategy: Asmodee Love Letter Card Game
- A 2-Player Trading Card Game: Space Cowboys Jaipur Board Game
Read on to check out the seven best games like Exploding Kittens — they’ve all been played and loved by hundreds of Amazon shoppers, so you know you can’t go wrong.
1. A Unicorn-Themed Card Game For Fans Of Exploding Kittens
TeeTurtle’s Unstable Unicorns is a card game filled with betrayal, destruction, and revenge — combined with some adorable unicorns, of course. The strategic pick (which also relies on some luck to win) pits players against one another in a race to collect seven unicorns and ultimately be named The Righteous Ruler of All Things Magical. Cards with magic or downgrades will hinder your opponent’s progress and destroy their unicorns to help you get ahead. Similar to Exploding Kittens, the artwork is colorful with some ridiculously silly elements, too — like a narwhal torpedo or a ginormous unicorn.
The game is loved on Amazon boasting a solid 4.7-star rating overall after more than 23,000 reviews, with one commenter calling it “a new take on exploding kittens but with a fun twist.” Many reviewers also mentioned that it’s a bit more complex and involved than Exploding Kittens, so keep that in mind.
One reviewer wrote: “Ok, I LOVE unicorns and played this with a group of friends. Bought it for myself while we were playing. It is awesome. Super easy to learn, not too long to play and not too short. Perfect party game. And it has unicorns. Some sweet and nice, some angry […] all adorable. Has several expansions available. If you like Exploding Kittens, you’ll probably like this as well. Great game – my new favorite!”
Complexity: 1.50 | Ages: 8+ years | Number of players: 2 to 8 | Play time: 30 to 60 minutes
2. A Burrito-Throwing Game From The Makers Of Exploding Kittens
When dodgeball meets a card game, you get Throw Throw Burrito — a game that’s created by the makers of Exploding Kittens, so you can rest assured that it is equally as entertaining. The party game requires players to collect matching sets of cards to earn points faster than their opponents; this is where the luck element comes into play, because you never know what cards you’ll draw. While this is happening, squishy burritos will literally be flying through the air, and you must duck and dodge your way around them, since getting hit by a burrito means a loss of points. Some burrito battles only involve a couple of players, while others will be a full-on battle. Wildly popular on Amazon, it boasts a knockout 4.7-star rating overall after 35,000-plus reviews. The game is sure to be a hit at your next game night — and it’s quite cathartic!
Also available for purchase are an outdoor edition of the game, as well as an avocado version, should either of those be of interest.
One reviewer wrote: “This game is so much fun! My family loves exploding kittens and this is just next level! The joy I see on my boyfriend and child’s face as they hurl burritos at me is heart warming!”
Complexity: 1.09 | Ages: 7+ years | Number of players: 2 to 6 | Play time: 15 minutes
3. Writer’s Pick: A Fast-Paced Card Game In A Dystopian Setting
While thematically quite different (it’s set in a dystopian universe), Coup from Indie Boards and Cards has many near-identical elements to Exploding Kittens. The fast-paced card game can be played in as little as 15 minutes, and the goal of the game is similar — you’ll need to defeat your enemies and be the last player standing, which requires strategy, bluffing, and some lighthearted deception. To play, each player receives two character cards. On your turn you have to decide whether you want to utilize the powerful actions of the characters on your cards or bluff, pretending that you have other characters and use those actions instead. Bluffing is risky, though, because you lose a card if you get called out on your lie. Likewise, if you were telling the truth, the person calling you out loses one of their cards. There are coins involved in the mix, too.
Coup is one of my absolute favorite card games since it’s easy for beginners to enjoy, but the more experience you have with it, the more strategic it becomes. There is some luck involved as well — you never know which cards you’ll get at the beginning, which will largely guide the direction that you decide to take for the game.
One reviewer wrote: “Super easy to learn and super fun to play. Requires a little bit of strategy, a good poker face, and a little bit of luck, but is quick and fun. Definitely recommend.”
Complexity: 1.42 | Ages: 13+ years | Number of players: 2 to 6 | Play time: 15 minutes
4. A Classic Card Game For Groups Small & Large
Whether you have a pair of players or a group of 10, Mattel Games’ UNO is sure to be a blast — Amazon reviewers confirm it, giving this pick a near-perfect 4.8-star rating after more than 58,000 reviews. If you’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing a round of this classic pick, the game is super simple to learn and play, and it’s an equal mix of strategy and luck. To play, players take turns attempting to match one of the cards in their hand to the card on top of the deck by color, number, or action. Similar to Exploding Kittens, there are certain cards that can be played to inflict damage on other players, such as forcing them to draw more cards. When you’re down to just one card in your hand, you’ll need to shout “UNO!” — and when all of your cards are gone you win the game.
One reviewer wrote: “We love playing this, its such a fun competitive game to play with either just a few people or as a large group of people! The tin that this comes in is super nice since most of the time the boxes get shredded and you end up either having to store the cards in a bag or you end up buying a new game.”
Complexity: 1.11 | Ages: 7+ years | Number of players: 2 to 10 | Play time: 30 minutes
5. A Card-Slapping Game You Can Play In Just 10 Minutes
With a complexity rating a bit lower than that of Exploding Kittens, Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza is easy to learn and play — and a full game can be enjoyed in as little as 10 minutes, too. To play, each player places a card from their hand face up on the pile while saying “taco, cat, goat, cheese, pizza” in sequence. When the card matches the word everyone quickly has to slap their hand on the deck, and the last person to do so is forced to pick up all of the cards … bummer! The player that gets rid of all of their cards first is victorious.
Beyond ease of play, this silly card game has a variety of other similarities to Exploding Kittens, including its bright and colorful cards with characters like a gorilla, narwhal, and groundhog — in addition to taco, cat, goat, cheese, and pizza, of course.
One reviewer wrote: “It was a great hit with my Game Night friends! Very easy to learn and hilarious! If you like Exploding Kittens (which my friends and I do), you will likely like this game also.”
Complexity: 1.02 | Ages: 8+ years | Number of players: 3 to 8 | Play time: 10 to 15 minutes
6. A Medieval-Themed Card Game With Plenty Of Strategy
For a medieval-themed card game filled with risk, deduction, bluffing, and certainly some luck, look no further than Love Letter from Asmodee. A noble princess is seeking a partner, and you must ensure that your love letter gets into her hands. The highly competitive game is played with just 16 cards; players take turns drawing one card and playing one card with the goal of exposing opponents to help knock them out of the game. Players have to make strategic decisions in order to win — playing stronger cards could potentially make you a target, but relying on weaker cards for too long may mean your love letter ends up in the fire. Plus, Love Letter comes in super small packaging, so it’s a great card game to take on the go.
One reviewer wrote: “Great for casual game night when you don’t want to break out a board game with 100 pieces. The game is super easy to learn but there is plenty of strategy and scheming!”
Complexity: 1.12 | Ages: 10+ years | Number of players: 2 to 6 | Play time: 20 minutes
7. A 2-Player Trading Card Game
Like Exploding Kittens, Jaipur by Space Cowboys is a good mix of strategy-oriented tactics and sheer luck. Players must take on the role of powerful traders with one goal: Amass more riches than your opponents by buying, exchanging, and selling, all while keeping an eye on your camels. The game is pretty simple to learn at first, but it can become much more in depth as you dive into the strategy. A unique element to this pick is that it’s designed for just two players to enjoy.
One reviewer wrote: “Jaipur is easy to learn […] I feel like you can improve your chances of winning some with good strategy but there’s also a luck element. The games are short and leave you wanting to play again. The small box is easy to take on a trip.”
Complexity: 1.47 | Ages: 10+ years | Number of players: 2 | Play time: 30 minutes
About The Recommender
As a writer for Bustle since 2019, Jenny White has spent countless hours researching products — including a variety of other board games like campaign board games and drinking board games — to determine the best of the best picks. Jenny has written for other publications like Romper and Elite Daily. And she holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.