Exploding Kittens’ creators have a new party game on Kickstarter

Artwork from Hand-to-hand Wombat, a new game by Exploding Kittens, showing wombats fighting on mountaintops

Exploding Kittens (maker of the card game of the same name) has announced its latest creation, Hand-to-Hand Wombat, launching the game via Kickstarter on Tuesday. Another light party game in the vein of Exploding Kittens and Throw Throw Burrito, it appears to be a mishmash of dexterity and social deduction mechanics, or, as the Kickstarter puts it: “a combination of thumb-wrestling and mind-wrestling”.

Hand-to-Hand Wombat swiftly met its crowdfunding goal of $10,000 / £7,300 within the first day of its campaign, and is nearing triple that amount at time of writing. In the Kickstarter, Exploding Kittens says it can’t guarantee exact shipping dates due to pandemic-related supply chain issues, but estimates backers will receive their copies some time in September 2022. There’ll also be a retail release “eventually”.

The creators describe Hand-to-Hand Wombat as “a social deduction game for people who aren’t into social deduction games”. Players are secretly assigned roles, either ‘Good Wombat’ or ‘Bad Wombat’ (wombats are known for their binary systems of morality), whereupon Good Wombats must construct towers together, while Bad Wombats try to disrupt the process. This is all done with eyes closed, and, after a set time limit, the group must stop and try to identify the Bad Wombats.

No stretch goals are currently listed for Hand-to-Hand Wombat, but the Kickstarter promises “a whole buttload of upgrades, stretch goals, and crowd-driven hilarity” as the 30-day campaign progresses, so presumably some will be coming. Currently, there are add-ons available for those who pledge more than the $22 / £16 required to secure the base game, however. These include a wombat pouch, keychain, and ‘adventure book’, which Exploding Kittens says “will contain adventures that we author together over the course of the campaign”, along with design notes and original artwork.

The cards, towers and components from Hand-to-hand Wombat a game by Exploding Kittens

The Kickstarter explains that the base concept of Hand-to-Hand Wombat was developed first, and the marsupial theme added second. Which makes sense – as wombats are burrowing animals who do not build towers. The game’s theme actually comes from an entry on comics site The Oatmeal, created by Exploding Kittens designer Matt Inman. Presumably that and a pun that could not be passed up.

If you’re a fan of simple, fast fun, these family board games have you covered. Or, if you want to be even more duplicitous than even the most machiavellian marsupial can manage, check out our list of the best social deduction games.