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Exploding Kittens Kickstarter sets a record for backers, could set one for money

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Exploding Kittens, the cat-themed card game, has become the most backed Kickstarter campaign in the history of the service. As of this morning the game's three-man team, which includes the creator of the popular web comic The Oatmeal, has been promised money by more than 108,000 people.

But the campaign is far from over. There are still 22 days left, and if the momentum keeps up Exploding Kittens could become the most funded Kickstarter ever. Kicktraq, a service that plots the funding trends for ongoing Kickstarters, shows they have the potential to earn more than $14 million. That would put them ahead of the Ouya game console, the Pebble smartwatch, and a high-tech portable cooler called Coolest Cooler.

Designer Elan Lee told Polygon that community building, not raw dollars earned, has been the focus of their campaign.

"We wanted to try something brand new," Lee said. "At least in our experience, which is tie a stretch goal to the number of backers, regardless of money. You can back us for one dollar, which is the Kickstarter minimum — I wish we could set it lower. And that’s it. Show us you’re a backer and that’s what we’re going to tie our stretch goal to."

That stretch goal was a second game, a "not safe for work" deck that, when combined with the base deck, forms an 8-player version. The team's most recent update says that more announcements are on the way today.

"It has everything to do with you. You wonderful people who have come together to form the largest community in Kickstarter history," the team posted on their Kickstarter. "The numbers keep rising."

Lee comes from a background as designer of alternate reality games such as Halo's I Love Bees. He told Polygon that creating a community, and keeping its attention, was his plan all along.

"No one actually has any idea what this game is," Lee said. "The second component is what’s actually going on right now, which is a world-wide campaign to build an audience around a story that they alter in real time. That’s what I do. That’s what I do for a living. That’s what I’m doing today."

Read more in Polygon's complete interview with Elan Lee here.

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