The fastest-funded Kickstarter project of all time is the strategic card game, Exploding Kittens – which attracted $1.3 million in funding and almost 35,000 supporters in its first day alone. It went on to raise $8.8 million on the crowdfunding site, making it the fifth highest Kickstarter campaign in history.
Kickstarter is a global crowdfunding platform that supports creativity and merchandising, bypassing traditional means of investment by collecting money from the public for new innovations. Launched in April 2009 by Charles Adler, Yancey Strickler and Perry Chen, it is based in Brooklyn, New York.
Exploding Kittens was created by Xbox games designers Elan Lee and Shane Small, with artwork by Matthew Inman, of The Oatmeal webcomics site. They said the game combined all the things they were best at creating – card games, laser beams and weaponised enchiladas!
Funded in 20 minutes
In a recent interview, Small said Exploding Kittens had been funded within 20 minutes of the Kickstarter fundraiser going live. Within an hour, it had reached 10 times its $10,000 target.
Exploding Kittens is a kitty-based version of Russian Roulette, in which the players take turns drawing cards. When someone draws the exploding kitten card, they lose the game. However, you can play a defuse card, which defuses the exploding kitten.
The game also has cards that permit players to avoid exploding by peeking at the cards before they draw. This forces your opponents to draw multiple cards, or shuffle the deck.
Exploding Kittens gets increasingly intense with every card drawn, as there’s more chance of drawing the kitty and blowing up.
Small admitted the game hadn’t actually been planned. He spoke to Elan with the idea for a new digital game and they began to bounce ideas off each other. They started playing right away to get more of any idea of its feasibility and assigned special abilities to a deck of cards. The game was originally called Bomb Squad.
They enlisted their friends to test the game over a two-month period until they were satisfied, they had the optimum version. Once they had finalised the mechanics of how it would work, they enlisted Inman to do the artwork. He suggested the bombs should be replaced with kittens. The team explained they had struggled with the notion of blowing up kittens, albeit animated ones, because they loved the name, but didn’t want to hurt kittens, of course.
Eventually, they had the kittens exploding if they did things such as chewing wires. The “defuse” cards contained things that would divert a real kitten, such as a laser pointer, or catnip.
Small said that the money was raised so fast when the fundraiser was launched, in January 2015, that it left them “reeling from the whiplash”. They decided to take a breather at the time to define their future plans.
Having raised far more money than they needed to complete the original game, they weren’t 100% certain exactly what they would do with the additional funding. However, they have since made a number of expansion packs, such as Imploding Kittens in October 2016, the Exploding Kittens Party Pack and the Cards Against Humanity Hidden Compartment Pack in 2017, and Streaking Kittens in 2018.
The team has said that all of the money raised via Kickstarter will be ploughed back into further development of the Exploding Kittens concept.
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