Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Tuesday Reviewsday: Star Fluxx

Players: 2+ 
Playtime: 5-45minute
Replay Value: 10/10

Star Fluxx was released in 2011. There are currently 16 different versions of Fluxx, including the original, Cthulhu Fluxx and Stoner Fluxx, however, we opted to purchase Star Fluxx. This game is stupid fun. I mean those together and separately, it's stupid, it's fun, it's stupid fun. The rules are quite simple, you deal each player three cards. First player is decided by whoever says "I'm going first" and draws a card. Then they play a card. Then the next player draws one, and plays one. Super duper simple. In fact those are the only rules that exist when you start the game.

The missing element from the start is a win condition. Every element of Fluxx is changeable, including the end goal. Despite this it is extremely simple to learn to play, every piece of information you need is on the card, including how to play the card and what effect is has on the game. 

There are 6 types of cards in Fluxx. Green Keepers are what you need to win, although you'll never know exactly which until a Goal is set (pink cards). You can only ever have one Goal in play unless a new Rule (yellow card) is added. Rules change the number of cards drawn and played each turn, the number of goals that can be in play, or limit how many Keepers a player can have. You also have Actions (blue) that can be played in your turn or Surprises (Purple) that can be played out of turn to mess with someone else. On top of that there are three Creepers (black) in the deck. These are put into play as soon as they are drawn, and attach to one of your Keepers. If you have a Creeper in front of you, then it is impossible to win even if you have the required Keepers. Unless you need that Creeper to win.

The fun in Fluxx comes from the fact that you almost never know what you need to do. There's almost no point in working towards the current goal, because your opponents will change it before you get there. Goal cards seem to be the most common in the deck, so one of the best strategies is to just keep changing the goal and putting at many Keepers as possible into play. 

It's not just the goal that changes constantly, but the rules as well. The basic "Draw One, Play One" rules get thrown out very quickly, and replaced with Draw 2, 3, 4 or 5, and then Play 2, 3, 4, 5 or all the cards in your hand. The game becomes hilarious and extremely frustrating when you are playing more cards than you are drawing, forcing you to put down things that help your opponents. Although the reverse is also true because you can end up drawing so many cards that you don't know what to do on your turn, simply because you haven't had time to read the cards. 

Most games are won by a combination of luck and more luck. Not in the way that Snakes and Ladders can only be won with the right dice rolls and no player input, but due to the constantly shifting nature of the rules and goals, plans crumble quickly. Common 'wins' include drawing a Goal card that matches your current Keepers, or vice versa, or forcing an opponent to play all their cards and in doing so put out a Goal that causes you to win. This doesn't mean you spend the game crossing your fingers and blowing on the dice- er, I mean, deck - and hoping that you get the cards you need. It's a game about constantly dicking your friends, whilst trying to set yourself up for one of those surprise wins.

One of the most horrible cards in the game is the Rule: Hand Limit One. All rules apply the instant they are played, but Limits don't apply during your turn. This means that a turn could play out something like this:

Rules in play are Draw 4, Play 2, this has been going on for a while so everyone is holding lots of cards.
Player One plays new Rule: Hand Limit One
All the other players grumble and swear whilst throwing away almost their entire hand. Player One is not effected by the Limit until the end of his turn.
Player One plays new Rule: Play Five (Player One has so far played two cards, giving him three more turns)
Player One then places down 2 Keepers and plays Action: Reset Rules
Rules are reset to Draw 1, Play 1, no hand limit. Player One has lots of cards to choose from, all other Players are currently holding 1 card and flipping off Player One.
From what I can tell, Fluxx has no secured any copyright privileges for this game. That means that the Captain, Expendable Crewman and Starship have absolutely nothing to do with the Enterprise, that depressed robot isn't Marvin and that Time Traveller isn't a Lord of anything. The rip-offs are so blatant that the creators of Fluxx have marched right up to the copyright line, set up camp and thrown their empty beer cans over it. It just adds another level of fun to the game though, as well as the ability to be a know-it-all to your not so geeky friends. But on the plus side, even if you have never heard of a Tribble, you can understand the concept of a Cute Fuzzy Alien Creature that you just can't get rid of.

Games of Fluxx can be over in five minutes or they can drag out for half an hour. It is an excellent game to start the day, or for filling in gaps when your friend just has to pop outside for a second to be a responsible adult or deal with kids. It's also great for casual gamers because there is never a point where you are 'out' of the game. There is even a card for when things seem bleak, your hand is empty and there are no cards on the table in front of you - Brain Transference allows you to literally kick someone out of their seat and take over their game, just remember to take your drinks with you.

You wouldn't want to play Fluxx every single day, but it can be played two or three times in a row without losing any charm. We haven't discovered an 'upper limit' for players yet, it works for any age group (as long as the kids have strong reading skills) and makes a brilliant gateway game. And if you aren't into spaceships, there is an entire list of Fluxx games to try.



  1. "This item does not ship to McLaren Vale, Australia." makes me sad.

    1. I swear Amazon hates you/me/us/Australia. Such a tease

    2. Yup fairly sure it does.


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