Exploding Kittens has been a firm favourite in our house for years now, and alongside Uno it’s the game that seems to keep the kids amused most when they go on Cub or Scout camps too. The only problem I see with the game is that once you’ve exploded that’s it if you don’t have a detonate card to play. I’m not so keen on games that eliminate players as you go as it can make some people (especially kids) feel a bit excluded. Zombie Kittens solves that problem though.
Introducing Zombie Kittens
The general principles and game play of Zombie Kittens is very similar to Exploding Kittens. On their turn players can play cards from their hand and then end their turn by taking a card from the deck. If that card is an Exploding Kitten then they are dead, unless they have a Zombie Kitten card (rather than a detonator as in the original game) which can bring them back to life. The winner is the last player left alive.
Playing whilst dead
In Zombie Kittens though dead players aren’t out of the game. There are certain cards that they can still play when dead and some cards that other players can play on them forcing them to take actions themselves. The most fundamental part of the game though is that dead players can be brought back to life.
If a player plays a Zombie Kitten card at any point in the game to bring themselves back from the dead then they also need to bring another player back with them. If there’s more than one dead player then they can choose which one they want to revive.
Players don’t have to use a Zombie Kitten card if they have one though. Some players might prefer to be dead for a while if they think it might work to their advantage, and if another player brings them back from the dead later in the game. Or maybe they don’t want to have to bring another dead player back from the dead with them. It can get a bit vicious!
Whilst the basics of the game may be familiar, there are some new cards in Zombie Kittens that you can have some fun with. Attack, Skip, Nope, Favor, See the Future and Shuffle are familiar, along with the concept of Cat Cards that you play in pairs.
The new cards are as follows:
- Clairvoyance – when another player has played a Zombie Kitten you can see where they return the Exploding Kitten card(s) to the draw pile.
- Super Skip – like a regular Skip card, but if you have multiple turns (from an Attack card) then it ends all of your turns without you having to take a card
- Feed the Dead – pick a dead player and all other living players must give that dead player a card from their hand
- Clone – when you play this it takes on the properties of the card below it in the discard pile and is as if you played that card yourself
- Grave Robber – all dead players with cards must choose a card from their hand and shuffle it into the draw pile
- Dig Deeper – take the card on top of the draw pile. You can then either keep that card yourself, or put it to one side whilst you take the next card from the draw pile e- which you MUST keep. The first card then returns to the top of the draw pile of the next player.
- Attack of the Dead – a bit like a regular attack card, but the next player must take THREE turns for each dead player in the game.
These new cards can really turn the game on its head a bit and whilst the Attack of the Dead card can be vicious in a game with a lot of players, players can also be very clever in how they use some of the other cards too. It certainly shook the game up a bit and it felt a bit more akin to a game of Uno or Uno Flip in the way that players can be a bit more strategic about how they use cards, and even when they decide to play a Zombie Kitten card, or not play one!
Two and Three Player games
Zombie Kittens is for 2 to 5 players, but if you’re playing either a two or three player version then be warned that you don’t use all the cards in the pack. For two player games use only the cards with a small paw print in the top right hand corner of the cards, and for a three player only use the cards without this paw print. For four and five players just use all the cards in the pack.
I’ll be honest and say that two player game isn’t great in my opinion. You can’t bring back other players from the dead, which makes it all a bit pointless in my opinion. You might as well play normal Exploding Kittens, although some of the alternative cards are good I suppose.
Our first thoughts
I’m not going to lie, our first four player games of Zombie Kittens were painfully slow. We kept having to go back and check the rules so many times regarding the new cards and it made everything really clunky. Once we’d got into the swing of things though the game really took off. It’s great to be that bit more strategic and you an have some real fun with the new cards and ability to bring back other players from the dead. We’ve only played with four players, but I imagine with five it will open it up even more.
There’s a cub camp next weekend I expect this will be going with my son in his rucksack, so it will be interesting to hear what all his friends think of it too.
Where to buy Zombie Kittens
Zombie Kittens is available to buy online here.
Like card games?
If so then please take a look at the other card games that we’ve been playing here.