It is a highly-strategic, kitty-powered version of Russian Roulette. Players draw cards until someone draws an Exploding Kitten, at which point they explode, they are dead, and they are out of the game — unless that player has a Defuse card, which can defuse the kitten using things like laser pointers, belly rubs, and catnip sandwiches. All of the other cards in the deck are used to move, mitigate, or avoid the Exploding Kittens.
HOW IT WORKS
You put the cards face down on the table and take turns drawing from them. If you draw a kitten card, you explode! When you explode, you die and you are out of the game (which is a bad thing), Unless! you play a defuse card which can defuse the kitten using things like laser pointers and catnip sandwiches.
You can also play various cards to skip your turn, attack other players, peek at the deck or secretely relocate exploding kittens (relocating an exploding kitten card to a new location in the deck lets you form complex, fun and cruel strategies against other players. Also! you can play cat cards, which are different from exploding kittens. Cat cards activate special powers when played as multiples.