The Oatmeal's card game 'Exploding Kittens' is now available for Iphone and other platforms. I got to play the game quite a lot over the Christmas holidays, the real card version that I'd bought for my son when it was first being crowdfunded.
If you've never seen Mr. Oats site or looked at his comical take on everything I'd recommend you stroll on by.
The game is a simple one, sort of like Uno with comical cards with cat cartoons on them. The objective is to be the last one in the room that hasn't drawn the exploding kitten card. You get a card that will defuse the kitten and there are a couple more defuse cards in the pack. There are cards that let you skip a turn, look at the top three cards, reverse direction of play, slap others while forcing them to take extra turns, cards that let you take cards away from others and one that lets you draw from the bottom of the deck. There's even a shuffle the deck card.
The game is part luck and part strategy.
Now I'm pretty addicted to playing the game with strangers via the miracles of my Iphone. But I have noticed something about playing with strangers, strangers you cannot interact or talk with during game play. In some ways the playing the game resembles real life.
Important things I've learned playing 'Exploding Kittens' against strangers online
1 - Nobody likes jerks!
People that tend to burst into the game and biatch slap everyone around them with 'slap' cards (which give you extra turns) or use their steal cards tend to get ganged up on by everyone in the room until they are out of cards and forced to draw the exploding kitten card before leaving the game.
Too bad real life people don't deal so directly in a gang to stop bullies and jerks.
2 - Planning pays off!
Sure you could be so cautious that you don't ever make a move without consulting a peek at the top three cards or deploy a shuffle card, but you're not going to build up an arsenal of needed cards for the merciless play towards the end of the game. This is particularly true with the 'slap' cards, which are really vital towards the end. Some smart ass decides to give you three or four extra turns if you've got slap cards stockpiled you can cat slap them into 9 or 10 moves, guaranteeing they pull the wrong card and blow up.
3 -Always drawing cards towards the beginning when your odds of exploding are low and stockpiling them for later always pays off.
The players that consistently win tend to accumulate lots of cards, hang back without attacking others and go into defense mode against the jerk players. Just like real life where saving, being cool with others instead of an asshole and having enough money to insulate yourself from some of the bullshit of life makes your world run just a little bit smoother.
4 - Some people are sore losers and will ditch before admitting failure and defeat.
There's always one idiot in the bunch of players that when they get backed into a corner instead of taking their lumps and manning up to take cards when the odds are bad they cut and run. They will log out of the game before being forced to pull a card they know is an exploding kitten.
Just like real life! How many times in life do we see people that drop out of situations or relationships the second things get a little bumpy? Don't trust those people and definitely do not play games with them because they'll overturn the board and cry.
5 - The unknown is sometimes nerve-wracking and nail-biting, but always at least a tiny bit exciting.
One minute you're slapping some nasty player that slapped you first and the next you're trembling trying to figure out if the next card will blow you up. You just never know.
There are those in life that always try to mitigate any risks in their lives. But that's too boring sometimes. Surprises, good and bad, are part of life. It's how you deal with them. Don't run away and hide.
6 - Watch others behavior very carefully because they reveal what they are.
If someone peeks at the top three cards and then plays a skip card to avoid picking up a card is a pretty sure tip off that the next card is an exploding kitchen. Someone playing a lot of slap cards and steal cards is likely to pull dick moves like putting the used exploding kitten card back into the top card of the deck. Don't be fooled with self invented monikers like 'Mr. Nice Guy'
You can apply that to any social situation or relationship. Don't automatically believe someone that screams out what a great vegan or Christian or Rasta Stand Up Comedian they are while they're kicking a puppy down the street.
7 - Play in such a way that you know you're playing with good sportsmanship.
Sure, you can be sneaky or start attacking everyone, but do you really want to do that? It makes the game more interesting when everyone isn't trying to be an aggressive dick.
That translates to life by being good without having some weird deity threatening you with eternal punishment or not being influenced to do crappy things just because everyone around you is doing them first.