In the Fluxx card game, the rules change throughout the entirety of the competition. Touting itself as “The Card Game with Ever-Changing Rules”, the people at Looney Labs cannot be accused of false advertisement. Each new gaming session is going to be completely different. From one moment to the next, the object of the game might change. Conflict resolution might change. Everything’s in flux, which is why they call it what they do.
Card Deck and Rules
The Fluxx Card Deck has 100 cards in it. This includes cards for Basic Rules (1), a Meta Rule (1), Keepers (19), Creepers (4), Actions (22), Goals (29), and New Rules (24). Each of these introduces a new element to the proceedings. When the new rule cards are introduced, if a contradiction occurs, the newest new rule overrules the older rules–if that makes sense.
Action is a one-time event and then discarded. These can cause major disruptions to gameplay or have almost no effect at all. They also might require another action to take place.
Keepers and Creepers
Playing a keeper is usually a good idea, because most winning goals tend to involve keepers. Creeper cards are just the opposite; they keep you from winning. Luckily only four of these exist.
Goals and Strategies
A goal is the condition for winning. Each time a new goal gets throw into the middle of the table, players have to figure out a new way to win the game. With nearly 30% of the deck made up of goals, you can imagine what this does to strategy.
Now that you know what makes up this gaming environment, let’s talk about how to play.
How to Play Fluxx
The quick-play version begins real simply. You put the Basic Rules card in the center of the table. Then you shuffle the deck and deal 3 of the other 99 cards to each of the players. Choose someone to start and begin play.
Because most cards have rules on them already, you really don’t have to read through a complicated rulebook to get started. That’s my junior theory about the amazing popularity of Fluxx. Many players tune out during the rules-reading portion of game night. While they think about the ballgame or what they’re going to do at work tomorrow or how fun it will be playing Plants vs. Zombies on their iPad later tonight, someone drones on about the rules. Then you start playing and half the people at the table don’t know what they’re doing. The first run-through is a disaster and people don’t want to play again.
In Fluxx, all that’s eliminated by having people read the rules as they play their first game.
Gameplay – On Your Turn
When it’s your turn, you’ll do four things, though optional actions may be allowed by new rules, keepers, and other random events along the way. When these actions are called for, they can be performed at any time during your turn. Here’s the sequence of play.
1. Draw cards up to the required number.
2. Play any cards required.
3. Discard down to your Hand limit (if required).
4. Comply with the current Keeper Limit (if required).
That’s the sequence a turn takes. Everything moves along at a brisk pace, so nobody you play this crazy game with should have trouble following along. In effect, all you have to do is follow the instructions on the cards themselves to play Fluxx. If that’s not enough, the “Frequently Asked Questions” sections of the rulebook should suffice.
Frequently Asked Questions
The FAQ section of the rulebook has 23 different specific questions which have been commonly asked of the designers since the people at Looney Labs first released the game back in 1997. Have any rules lawyers consult the FAQ if need be, but unless you have a particularly difficult gamer in your midst, few problems should occur.
Expansions and Variations
Fluxx has been a popular release, so it’s spawned quite a few variants and variations. Most of these fall into the category of sequel instead of expansion, so it’s a little bit like all the new versions of Munchkin or Chez Geek from Steve Jackson Games.
Below are the versions to look for:
- Oz – Set in the Wizard of Oz setting.
- Star – A little bit Star Wars, a little bit Star Trek.
- Pirate – Arrh!
- Zombie – The Zombie apocalypse with new rules every turn.
- Martian – Aliens come to conquer the Earth, but are confused by all the new rules.
- Monty Python – Heavily influenced by the Holy Grail film, but can be any Monty Python humor.
- EcoFluxx – For all those tree huggers out there, learn about ecology while playing.
- Family Version – Every families can have fun with this the wholesome version of Fluxx.
More Games from Looney Labs
Though Fluxx is the most popular product developed by Looney Labs, it’s by no means the only one. You can enjoy a domino-like challenge called Sevens Dragons, strategy for kids named Aquarius, the award-winning Time Travel Card Game, a title which is good for parties like “Are You The Traitor?”, or the Back to the Future Card Game. I’m not sure what Looney Pyramids are, but the company claims you can play hundreds of really cool games with them. I’m note sure if that’s a joke or not, but I’m intrigued. Still, I’d suggest people new to the company begin with basic version.