February 18, 2016
Fluxx is a fast and silly card game in which players attempt to be the first to fulfill a constantly-changing goal with constantly-changing cards while the rules constantly change around them. Looney Labs certainly chose an accurate name for this little gem!
There are four types of cards in Fluxx: Keepers, Goals, Rules, and Actions. To win the game, simply enough, a player’s current Keepers must match the current Goal card that’s face-up on the table. Keepers are cards which are kept in front of each player; they might be things like Gunpowder or A Monkey, both of which would combine to fulfill the Powder Monkey Goal card. Another example would be The Sun and Chocolate, which combine to satisfy the Squishy Chocolate Goal. Goals require a combination of two or three Keepers that cause the player who currently has them to win the game. The winning conditions sound easy, but nothing ever stays the same for long in a game of Fluxx.
The Basic Rules card, always present at the beginning of a game, dictates that each player draws one card from the deck and plays one card from a starting hand of three. But new Rules can then be drawn and played, which stack on top of other Rules and therefore change the way subsequent turns play out. Added Rules can vary greatly and bring new challenges into the game. For instance, a new Rule might force players to draw three more cards a turn while only allowing two to be played. Other Rules might reverse the order of play or impose a smaller hand limit. As Rules stack up, things get more intricate and zany, making for some hilarious and unexpected rounds of play.
Throwing Action cards in the mix brings some really fun player interactions into the game. Actions can be played just like any other card, but they produce unique effects that might let you steal cards from other players, take another turn, trash one or all of the extra Rules, or let you look through the discard pile for the perfect card to win the game. All of the card types in Fluxx interact to create a very dynamic game that can be won even if you step away from the table for a minute.
Fluxx is great for 2-5 players of ages eight and up, though younger folks could also enjoy it with some light guidance. However simple it is to learn and play, there is plenty of strategy in Fluxx. Players will be challenged to use their concentration, memory, and hopefully a good measure of luck to win a hand. Due to its highly random nature, a game can last anywhere from five to thirty minutes, and you’ll usually want to play again right afterwards to see how all the cards work together.
There are currently sixteen different versions of Fluxx available, including some editions with the popular themes of pirates, space, zombies, Monty Python, Cthulhu, the Wizard of Oz, and even Cartoon Network characters. In addition, there are several small boosters you can add into an existing game such as Jewish Fluxx and a pack of blank Fluxx cards so you can create your own. Many of these editions have new Rules that fit their themes, and all of them have new cards and card types. For example, Zombie Fluxx introduces Creepers, which are cards that prevent you from winning until you find a way to get rid of them. Oz Fluxx features Surprises, which can be played on someone else’s turn. And Monty Python Fluxx, of course, has a Rule card that rewards players for singing a few bars of any Python song during their turn.
The strength of Fluxx is really the combination of its unpredictability and dynamism. It’s fast and easy to learn, and you can win with crazy combinations that you weren’t necessarily expecting. Looney Labs gives you a huge choice from a variety of great themes, and you’ll never play the same game twice. Fluxx is absolutely perfect for killing time with friends or as a warmup for more in-depth games.