Fluxx: Written Review

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Sooner or later I will put together my top 10 or top 100 games of all time list. But until then, just trust me when I say that Fluxx is most certainly on that list. Where exactly on that list it would fall is TBD, but I can guarantee you it will be on there somewhere :)

Overview

Fluxx is an ever-changing card game for two to six players that can be played in as quickly as two to three minutes or 10x as long (and sometimes even longer still). On your turn you read the cards and do what they say. That’s pretty much the game in a nutshell.

Fluxx was designed by Andrew Looney and published by Looney Labs.


fluxx-logo

Image Credit: Looney Labs

How to Play

The goal of the game in Fluxx is to be the first player to accomplish the goal. (No, really… that’s it.) The goal is constantly changing throughout the game, but if at any point in time a player meets the goal that is currently in play – they win and the game ends immediately. If no one has met the goal, then players carry on taking turns until one player meets the goal.

On your turn you will always do two things: draw cards & play cards.

Drawing Cards: The number of cards you draw on your turn is always determined by the “Draw __” rule. At the beginning of the game, the rule starts out at Draw 1, but throughout the game you can change this rule to Draw 2, Draw 3, Draw 4… you get the idea.

The types of cards you can draw are the following: new rules, goals, keepers (creepers), actions, and surprises.

  • New Rules: New rule cards are cards that either add to the list of current rules or update existing rules that are currently in place. All of the cards with specific numbers or limits will be replaced throughout the game, for example a Draw 2 would replace the Draw 4 that was currently in play. All other rules build upon existing rules. You must obey all rules currently in play.
  • Goals: The goal card in play is the goal that must be met to end the game. Typically the goal will involve a combination of keeper cards, though there are some oddball goals in the mix. There can only be one goal in place at a time (unless the rules say otherwise).
  • Keepers: Keepers are the cards you will be collecting in your individual play area that will help you win the game. Keeper cards in your hand do not help you meet the goal, they must be in play on the table. Some versions of Fluxx also contain Creeper cards. These go immediately into your play area, sometimes cause negative affects to trigger, and typically prevent you from winning the game (unless the rules say otherwise, of course).
  • Actions: Action cards, as you might expect, allow you to take actions. For these cards, you do what the card says, and then discard the card when you’re finished.
  • Surprises: Some versions of Fluxx contain surprise cards. These cards have two ways to be played – during your turn or during someone else’s turn. These are the only cards that can be played when it is not your turn.

After you have drawn the specified number of cards, then it’s time to play cards.

Playing Cards: Similar to drawing cards, the number of cards you play on your turn is determined by the “Play __” rule. At the beginning of the game, the rule starts at Play 1, but throughout the game, players will be changing this rule just like they changed the Draw rule above – Play 2, Play 3, Play 4, and even Play All.

Any time you play a card, it’s actions or rules happen immediately. For example, if you changed the Draw rule from Draw 2 to Draw 4 – you would immediately draw two additional cards. Because of this, you will want to be very intentional about the order in which you play your cards.

After you have finished all of your plays (and you must finish all of them so long as you have cards in your hand – even if it would make another player win), it is the next persons turn.

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What did I think of the game?

Fluxx gets 4 out of 4 corners from me (hence why I said it would be on my top 10 or top 100 games of all time list). I’ve played the heck out of this game, so needless to say I really, really, really like it. Check out the scorecard below to see a breakdown of the score for each category.

Art 4.0

The art in Fluxx is very cartoon-like. Most of the cards contain things like milk, cookies, chocolate, money, peace signs, etc. So this is to be expected.

One thing I really appreciate about Fluxx is the layout of the cards. Each type of cards has an identifying color (keepers = green, new rules = yellow, etc.). This makes it easy to tell which type of cards you are drawing, playing, and holding in your hand.

In addition to that, each card’s tittle is in a larger/bolder font. If you’re familiar with the cards in the game, you can quickly read this title and know exactly what the card does. Underneath the title each card has a full description for whether it’s your first time playing or need a quick reminder of the details.

Rules 4.0

This seems like an odd thing to rate Fluxx on since the rules in Fluxx change throughout every game you play. However, both the overarching rules as well as the individual rule cards are so on point (pretty much perfect in my book).

The game is incredibly well balanced and the way the cards interact with the other cards in the deck make the game a true treasure.

Learning 3.5

Fluxx is a fairly easy game to learn since the rules and instructions are printed on every single card. That being said, for new comers, it’s a little weird to explain who the rules the change. Saying “the rule could be this” or “could be that” doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense (mainly because there aren’t a lot of games out there like Fluxx).

All that to say, the easiest way to learn the game is by playing it. And once you’ve played a few rounds (especially once the Draw __ & Play __ rules are a little higher than 1) you’re pretty much good to go as far as understanding how to play.

Theme 3.5

The basic/original game of Fluxx doesn’t have too much theme to it, but…

The cards certainly make sense as far as the rules and even the goals go (milk & cookies, dough = bread + money, etc.).

Where I think Fluxx’s theme really shines is in all of it’s various versions. Are you looking for Pirate Fluxx? That exists. Zombies? Got that covered. Adventure Time? Batman? Monty Python? Yup, those all exist also. (Here is the full list of Fluxx versions, if you want to see them all.)

Replayability 4.0

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve played the heck out of this game, so it’s a no brainer that this gets 4.0 from me.

Fluxx is great for quick replay. Since the games usually last 5-15 minutes, it’s easy to want to play a second or third or even fourth round as soon as you finish the first. (Especially if you didn’t win and want your revenge.)

In addition to that, Fluxx has hit the table far more often for me than other games I own. It’s always one that’s suggested to play since it’s easy to pull out, quick to set up, and if you’re familiar with the rules you can jump right into it.

Uptime 3.5

Technically speaking, all players take turns in the game of Fluxx. And when it’s not your turn, there isn’t too much to do (unless you’re playing with a version that contains surprises).

But, that being said, the turns go really quickly – especially at the beginning when a player’s turn consists of drawing one card and playing one card. And, even when players are drawing and playing more cards, you’ll want to pay attention to what they’re doing because it typically has a direct impact on the things you will be doing on your next turn.

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The likes…

  • I love how this game is always different… and yet the overarching rules + mechanics are the same.
  • I love that no one is ever “winning” until one person wins. You can think you are close, but then the goal changes.
  • I love how succinct the game is. All of the cards work well with the other cards in the deck.
  • Bonus: I love that you can pick this game up for around $13.

And dislikes…

  • For new players, who aren’t as familiar with the rules, it can seem as though they don’t know what’s going on (at first).
  • Selling a new player on a game where the rules are constantly changing can be a challenge.

All in all, Fluxx is a fantastic game and it’s one that I think will always be a part of my collection. I’ve given it as a gift to many people over the years and I will almost never turn it down when someone suggests to play it. I just can’t say it enough – I really like this game. That pretty much sums it up.

 

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