Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fluxx: Don't like the rules? Wait a minute; they'll change.

Fluxx, by Looney Labs, is a quirky little card game for 2-6 players that is rather difficult to describe because (a) no two games are ever the same; and (2) there are so many different versions.

The rules constantly change over the course of a game of Fluxx, which could last as long as 30 minutes or as few as 2--you're just as likely to win by strategy as you are by dumb luck, and the incredibly random nature of the game means that you could win the game at any moment and not even realize it.

Fluxx starts out with barely any rules at all: On your turn, you may draw one card and play one card. Simple. Boring. But not for long.

As soon as people start putting cards into play, the rules and victory conditions are subject to change at the drop of a hat (or, rather, the drop of a card). All of a sudden, you might be able to draw two cards on your turn, do a one-time hand swap with another player (exchanging cards, not appendages), or establish that all a player needs to do to win is make chocolate milk.

Huh? Chocolate... milk? I'm confused.

Allow me to explain: In addition to New Rule cards, Action cards (such as swapping hands with another player), and Goal cards that determine what you must do in order to win, there are Keeper cards that depict random objects and concepts such as Love, Bread, Time, Money, Dreams, Death, Cookies, Chocolate, and Milk.

See where I'm going with this? Keeper cards are essential to victory: the Chocolate Milk Goal card says that if you have both the Chocolate Keeper card and the Milk Keeper card in play, then you win!

Of course, that goal could change at any moment. Next turn, it could be decided that All You Need Is Love. Or, someone might steal your Chocolate from you and never give it back. Or, maybe the rules will suddenly change so that you can only have one card in your hand at a time, meaning you need to dump the Milk you just drew. Or, perhaps you'll pick up another type of card called a Creeper that prohibits you from winning while you hold it... Anything can happen!

Once you've gotten a feel for the basic game, there are many more versions of Fluxx you can try. Options include the colorful and super-kid-friendly Family Fluxx, the nature-themed EcoFluxx, the self-explanatory Zombie Fluxx and Monty Python Fluxx, and the marajuana-themed Stoner Fluxx, which I am totally not making up.

Of course, that's to say nothing about the special-offer bonus cards, such as the Time Travel Goal card that was only available at Gen Con in 2001, and the expansion packs, such as Jewish Fluxx and Christian Fluxx. If English isn't your preferred tongue or if you're looking to add a new game to your foreign language class, Fluxx is also available in Spanish, German, Dutch, and Japanese. No word yet on an Esperanto release.

As if that isn't enough, Looney Labs continues to work on new and updated editions of Fluxx--version 4.0 of the original Fluxx debuted at the end of 2008 (D&D did it; why not Fluxx?), and the sci-fi-themed Martian Fluxx is rumored to have a Fall 2009 debut date.

If you're looking for a fairly inexpensive, totally random, and utterly outrageous card game that requires no skill whatsoever to play, check out Fluxx here.

Images from and From personal experience, you either love Fluxx or you hate it, so don't blame me if your best friend doesn't talk to you for a week after you play.


GarHoch said...

How about a game of Fizzbin?

Flashman85 said...

Aw, man. This one time I was about to reveal a Royal Fizzbin, but then a Borg cube showed up and totally ruined the game.