Exploding Kittens had a meteoric rise to fame the moment it hit Kickstarter. Now at $8.7 million raised the fun, irreverent card game has officially become the most-backed project in Kickstarter history. While other campaigns have raised more money on the crowdfunding site, Exploding Kittens received funding from more than 112,000 people and counting. The previous record was 105,857 backers, set by the Reading Rainbow campaign in July of last year.
This is good news for Shari Spiro, founder and CEO of Ad Magic, the company that manufactures and ships playing cards for games including Exploding Kittens and the wildly popular Cards Against Humanity. The online success of the game was, to her, incredible in the most literal way.
“When founder Elan Lee called to say the campaign had reached $1 million five hours into the campaign I started laughing,” she said. “He told me later that it sounded a little maniacal.”
Collaboration is also what allowed Exploding Kittens to achieve widespread popularity so quickly. All three people behind Exploding Kittens are well known in the entertainment industry. Matthew Inman is the creative force behind The Oatmeal, a humor website that gets at least seven million unique visitors each month. Elan Lee and Shane Small both have a background working with XBox. Each has an impressive following individually, and teaming up created a force of nature of sorts. As Spiro put it, “When they reach out, people are listening already.”
Moreover, the game seems to come at a time when seemingly old-fashioned, low-tech games are experiencing a resurgence. Combine that with what Spiro calls “world-class humor” and some colorful illustrations and its the perfect environment for unprecedented crowdfunding success.
The game — described on its Kickstarter page as a “highly strategic kitty-powered version of Russian roulette” — allows players to pick cards, and those who draw an “exploding kitten” card lose. Other cards in the deck allow for players to perform a variety of moves, including stealing a peek before drawing a card, or forcing another player to draw multiple cards.