Exploding kittens. Now, that may sound a little grotesque or even sadistic—and it would be if it was literal, but it is not. No kittens were harmed in the making of Exploding Kittens. However, bizarre would be an appropriate summation for this game (which I will explain in The Offer below).
The highly ranking “what’s Popular” Kickstarter campaign was posted by Elan Lee and produced in conjunction with Matthew Inman and Shane Small. At the time of this writing the campaign has already raised a whopping $2.5 million in three days which is more than Oculus Rift made in 30!
“100% funded in 20 minutes. 1,000% funded in less than an hour.”
I am kind of intrigued as to what this exploding kittens thing is all about. To start, Exploding Kittens is a card game. That’s right—a good ol’ fashioned card game. The concept began while two of the founders were playing a game with a traditional 52 count deck of cards. They inserted the joker card and whoever drew it first lost. “It was called ‘Bomb Squad’ and it wasn’t any fun at all,” says Elan in a post on the campaign page.
Exploding Kittens, while stemming from this, is vastly more comedic and includes some elements of strategy and a heavy helping of luck. The “exploding kitten” cards remove players from the game. However, there are lifelines. The game includes distraction cards, like laser pointers and cat kibble. There are also attack cards to go on the offensive, like “thousand-year back hair” or “Bear-O-Dactyl”, or “Unicorn Enchilada”.
"But wait a minute! I love cats, especially kittens!" you may say. Don’t worry, this is not a direct affront on felines, only some friendly chiding.
“First, Matt tried drawing the kittens as the actual bombs…But that felt too Angry Birds’ish. Next, we tried making the kittens suicidal, but that felt terrible. In the end, we realized that everyone understands feline shenanigans, and that could be our solution. Our kitties would not blow up out of malicious intent or negligence, but by doing the things that kittens do, like running across keyboards or chewing on things they shouldn't be chewing on.”
The potential for this project is still in the works. Will it end up like potato salad—a one hit internet phenomena or Oculus Rift—bought out by a large firm for $2 billion? By the numbers, Exploding Kittens will far exceed these examples. But why? There is a strong correlation to the success of this campaign—networks.
Look at Elan Lee. He was the former Chief Design Officer for Xbox Entertainment Studios and is no first timer with Kickstarter, as he has personally backed over 140 Kickstarter projects. These two large groups within his network (video game industry and crowdfunding entrepreneurs) are targeted potential backers for his crowdfunding launch.
Now look at Matthew Inman. Matthew is the owner/creator/contributor of the successful online comic The Oatmeal. He is also the one who created the unmistakable artwork and design of the Exploding Kittens game. He also has hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of hits on his website each month.
Merge these several personal networks together and you have an explosion of success for a crowdfunding launch like, say, Exploding Kittens.
Exploding Kittens’s Kickstarter Campaign Page
Exploding Kittens’s Website