A card game that made Kickstarter history

What started in January 2015 as a modest plan to raise $10,000 turned into a crowdfunding phenomenon. Elan Lee and Shane Small both have a background working with XBox, and they team up with Matthew Inman, – the genius mind behind behind The Oatmeal  – a humor website that gets at least seven million unique visitors per month – to create a card game that they called: Exploding Kittens.

Check out the campaign video:


In less that 7 hours from its launching they raised 1.000.000,00, and by the end of the campaign they successfully raised $8,782,571 in total with 219,382 backers. It became the most-backed game in Kickstarter history and the campaign with the most number of backers, ever.

Matthew Inman didn’t create the game, but in my opinion, he made it FABULOUS! He is a cartoonist and an incredible storyteller – read one of my favorites: When your house is burning down, you should brush your teeth – and the game gained his personal touch in writing and drawing

The game description says:

It is a highly-strategic, kitty-powered version of Russian Roulette. Players draw cards until someone draws an Exploding Kitten, at which point they explode, they are dead, and they are out of the game — unless that player has a Defuse card, which can defuse the kitten using things like laser pointers, belly rubs, and catnip sandwiches. All of the other cards in the deck are used to move, mitigate, or avoid the Exploding Kittens.

I have to admit that I was sold from the moment I saw Matthew Inman’s name involved in this project but, after reading that description, Who could resist buying or at leats click to see more about this awesome game, right?.


Almost all of the emails updates had a funny infographic, and some of them were to announce and position hashtags like #ExplodingKittens was the official hashtag for the game, Be our #KittenConsul was for people who wanted to play with a Playtest Deck and do reviews of the game, #BackerParty consisted of special events like sending Matthew Inman a picture and he did a funny draw of it.


Updates also received a lot of feedback on social media. Update 27 was a very compelling re-cap of the campaign that ended announcing that they were still delivering the game on time as the promise, which is very unusual in Kickstarter history.

Click to see full Update #27

They had to team up with another card game company called Cards Against Humanity  to help them with the distribution of the game, and they had to create a new company called Black Box  to distribute and deliver the game worldwide on time. That’s how HUGE this project was!


The tone of the campaign was fun and entertaining and even though is over, they still update the twitter and facebook accounts, and send emails to the Kickstarter backers with updates and special promotions. They launched an app of the game this year and also, an expansion for the original card game.

Exploding Kittens is a great example of how great writing can lead to a successful campaign, especially when you do it with the same authentic voice that defines you.

I’m gonna finish my post with a Simon Sinek’s quote that it came recurrently to me while I was writing this post:

People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.

As one of the backers of this project I can testify that at the time, I wasn’t just buying an awesome super cool card game. What I wanted was to be part of something in which I believed. No one imagined that we were making Kickstarter history.

Thanks for reading
Follow me at @Lesmy

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