Last night myself and a few friends ran an Exploding Kittens #KittenConsul Play Test Party at Dragon’s Lair in Austin, Texas. We had a great time, raised some money and goods for awesome causes, and got to meet some wonderful people.
I, like some many others, backed the Exploding Kittens Kickstarter a few months back. When the creators sent the announcement they were doing a public beta test, I anxiously awaited the news that someone in Austin was going to participate. When I realized no one had, I organized my friends, emailed our awesome local gaming store, and a youtube video and a few weeks of social media campaigning later, we had an event.
People showed up as early as six pm to start grabbing the few remaining time slots and to get on the waiting list. People of all ages and flavors of geek showed up to give the game a shot. All in all, we had over one hundred and twenty testers come through in less than four hours.
There were a few hiccups with the event (the time slots could/should have been longer, and a few people missed their name when it was called) but all in all things went fairly smoothly and everyone seemed to have a great time. The testing room constantly erupted with gales of laughter, cheers, and gasps of shock and amazement.
I’d rate the event as a success and the staff at Dragon’s Lair seemed to agree. We’ve already been invited back to throw a launch party for the retail release, and we’ve got some ideas for semi-regular ‘Learn to Play’ sessions and maybe even a tournament. This thing rocked, and I couldn’t have done it without Greg and the event’s staff at Dragon’s Lair, my Demolition Expert crew (Siobhan, Michael, Becca, David, and Adelaide), and the wonderful folks at Exploding Kittens (Bella, Elan and Mr Oats).
Now on to the game itself. Since this is a play test, the creators have been sending out updated versions of the rules based on tester feedback, and each iteration has made the game more enjoyable. I’ve played the standard rules, the rules (but shorter) and we had the pleasure of hosting using the Field Guide & Rules, which fixed the few small issues I had with previous versions.
The game is simple, funny, and fast paced. The basic rules are clear and concise and the advanced rules add more strategy and intrigue. The art is amazing, and you are really missing out if you don’t read the full card aloud. (It’s the difference of “I skip” vs “I skip to freedom by DONNING A PORTABLE CHEETAH BUTT!”) My personal favorite thing to do was to read the Attack cards in my best Don LaFontaine impression.
While I’m not sure I would bring this as the only game to play for several hours with only five people, it’s definitely going in my travel toolbox of games. This is perfect for getting to know people, killing time between rounds of longer games (you know the ones, the kind that take an hour per turn) and for casual hangouts. I would love to see this run (or maybe even run it) as a tournament.
I’d love to hear what you guys think, sound off in the comments.
Raffle (and Fundraiser)
We raised over $500 in goods and donations to animal shelters and children’s hospitals! I’m always amazed at how much good people can do when given a chance. This was awesome, and I want to give a most heartfelt thanks to everyone that donated!
but now for the parts you really care about, our raffle….
Playtest Deck: Melissa Martinez
Demolition Expert T-Shirt: Nicole Pinedo
Dragon’s Lair GC: Shanna Hoelscher
The management (aka, me) will be in touch with you to arrange for collection of your prize. Send an email to email@example.com if you have any questions.
Ridiculous Amount of Pictures
Photo credits: Fred Yost, Greg Burrow, and Spring Willow Lee.