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  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Easy to teach and play
  • Encourages outlandish imagination
  • Hundreds of questions to play through

Might Not Like

  • Components look a little basic
  • A ‘travel sized’ box would be nice
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That Escalated Quickly Review


When playing games with friends or family, there is often that point when things suddenly escalate.

Perhaps a once-friendly game of Villainous suddenly turns nasty, as one player closes in on victory and the others choose to gang up on them and ruin their best-laid evil plans.

It could be 20 minutes deep into a family game of UNO, when four pick-up 2 cards come out back-to-back and Dad goes from having an Uno to holding more cards than everyone else put together.

Or maybe poker night goes from small, token wagers to one player betting their house, car and board game collection on a pair of 2’s.

It tends to be exciting and scary in equal measure, and the team at Exploding Kittens have taken that inspiration and created ‘That Escalated Quickly’, a party game for 2-8 players that lasts around 15 minutes.

How Does ‘That Escalated Quickly’ Play?

That Escalated Quickly is a co-operative game about ranking things, from the absurd to the mundane and everything in between.

To start a round all players are dealt a ‘number’ card, which they look at and keep to themselves. The ‘organiser’ for that round then turns over the top question card and then kicks off by giving an answer they think best fits the number on their card.

The rest of the group do the same in turn, and then it’s down to the organiser to rank them by flipping over players cards one at a time from lowest to highest.

Players can confer, and in games with a higher player count one mistake can be made, but at the end of the day the organiser’s word is final.

If all the answers are ranked successfully the question card goes on the ‘GOOD CARDS’ pile, if the organiser fails, it goes on the ‘BAD CARDS’ pile, and it’s the first pile to get to 3 that decides the fate of the team.

What’s in the Box?

That Escalated Quickly comes in a nice fold-up cardboard box, and contains 150 question cards, 10 number cards, a score mat and an instruction manual.

The question cards are good quality and are all double-sided, meaning there are a whopping 300 questions to get through, that’s enough for at least 60 unique games (or as many as 100 if you’re particularly good or particularly bad at the game itself!)

The number cards are of a similar quality, however as they are going to be handled quite frequently it would have been nice if they were a little bit thicker. If you’re a ‘sleever’, these would definitely benefit from it as any noticeable damage to them could potentially give the game away.

If the score mat was removed or folded (it isn’t REALLY necessary) the game could fit into a much smaller box, which would be handy for taking it down the pub or when travelling.

Here’s One to Try

So here’s an example of how a round would play out…

The organiser deals out number cards then flips over the top question card to reveal:

“I showed up late to work. What’s my excuse?’ and the answers must range from ‘1 – Least likely I’ll get fired’ to ‘10 – Most likely I’ll get fired’.

The organiser drew 1, so they say ‘I was late because I happened to drive by a car accident, so I stopped and rescued someone from a burning car, effectively saving their life.

The next player drew 2, so they say ‘I was late because I stopped at costa to get everyone a coffee.’

The third player drew 5, so they answer ‘I couldn’t be bothered to get out of bed, so I snoozed my alarm and set off an hour late’.

Finally, the last player drew a 10, so they answer ‘I was late because I spent all morning using stolen customers details to take out high interest payday loans’

The organiser then flips over their own card first (knowing there can’t be anyone lower than them anyway), and follows up with player 2, reasoning that the coffees would take the edge off someone being late.

They then decide being lazy is less likely to get someone fired than committing fraud, so they flip the 5 and then the 10 to win the round.

Escalating Fun

The real joy of That Escalated Quickly is how it gives players all the tools to let their imaginations take centre stage. The game poses a question, but it is the complete freedom for players to come up with something that matches their number that leads to a fun, engaging co-op experience.

Some questions don’t leave much scope for the obscure, bizarre, and oftentimes risqué answers generally associated with party games of this type (“I really need some new clothes. What should I buy?” ranked from Least Cosy to Most Cosy, for example.)

Others really do allow players to run wild though, as seen in the example above, which could easily have had far worse answers depending on how comfortable the group playing are with each other.

However, the variety of cards keeps things fresh, and it also allows for players to put together a ‘custom’ deck of cards should they wish to, perhaps picking out a dozen or so that are more family friendly if they are playing with kids, or a collection of questions that allow for more adult answers when playing with friends.

The Bottom Line

That Escalated Quickly is an easy to teach party game that doesn’t outstay it’s welcome, and gives everyone involved the chance to use their imagination to the fullest.

Best played at a higher count, the game does have a 2 and 3 player mode, although from personal experience it is nowhere near as fun as a group of 6-8.

It’s not the most complicated game, nor is it the most attractive in terms of artwork, but it gives players everything needed to have a fun, creative time with friends or family.

Fans of ‘The Mind’, ‘Cards Against Humanity’ and of course ‘Exploding Kittens’ will undoubtedly find a lot to like here, and based on the Kitten’s previous forays in gaming there are sure to be expansions to follow (in fact the question cards all say ‘Series 1’ so there are definitely plans to release more!) although the 300 questions included will keep most people going for quite a while.

So, if you’ve ever wanted to rank the must useless contents of a parachute pack, grossest cookie ingredients or scariest thing to be locked in a room with, That Escalated Quickly is definitely the game for you.

Zatu Score


  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Easy to teach and play
  • Encourages outlandish imagination
  • Hundreds of questions to play through

Might not like

  • Components look a little basic
  • A travel sized box would be nice

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