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Subject: Less Random = Great Family Fun - The Board Game Family review rss

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Trent Howell
United States
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Fluxx is an extremely random card game that can be fun to play in the right situation. With the right group, in the right mood, it can be a lot of fun.

Just expect random.

Because with Fluxx, the rules and goals of the game change constantly.

So when Looney Labs announced Fluxx The Board Game, we wondered what was in store.

Since the name “Fluxx” remained in the game title, we knew to expect randomness. But we were very curious as to what else was in store.

We’re happy to report, to those that don’t like total chaos, that Fluxx The Board Game is less random than the typical Fluxx card games. Not a by a lot, but by enough that it definitely feels like a different game.

For Fluxx fans, you’ll be happy to know that the board game version still is full of changing rules and goals. For non-Fluxx fans, you’ll be happy to know that the board game offers a bit more control over your destiny.

In essence, it’s a good balance of random and strategizing.

Ok, so maybe “strategizing” is a strong word for such a game. (This definitely isn’t Power Grid.) There’s really no way to plan for all the changes in the game, but you can do more planning around your choices to be able to win.

How to Play Fluxx The Board Game


The object of the board games is similar but different than the card game.

In Fluxx, the object of the game is to match cards in front of you with the images on the Goal card. In Fluxx The Board Game, the object of the game is the collect the required number of Goal cards. (The required number changing throughout the game like everything else.)

To claim a Goal card, a player must position 2 of their pawns onto the pair of spaces indicated on the topmost card of the Goal card stack. Any time 2 of that player’s pawns are in position (at the same time, of course), that player claims the Goal card.

For example, to claim the Time Is Money goal card, a player will need a pawn on both the Money space and the Time space at the same time.

The game comes with 2 pegboards (rules, goals) where the elements that can change throughout the game are tracked. Pegs are placed in the left-most position on each of the pegboards to indicate the starting conditions.

But wait, it’s time for a change already.

Before play begins each player gets one free Rule change. In turn order, each player can move one peg, one spot in either direction (even if it has been moved before). Now you’ll have your starting conditions, which include rules such as:

* Draw – # of cards to draw at the start of your turn
* Play – # of cards to play during your turn
* Move – # of spaces you can move 1 of your pawns on the board
* Hand Limit – # of cards you must discard down to at the end of your turn
* Rotate – yes/no if a tile has the option of being rotated
* Uproot – yes/no if a tile has the option of being moved
* Wrap – yes/no if pieces can move off one edge and reappear on the other side

Players then look through the deck of cards and pull out the first 5 goal cards they see and place them stacked on the “Place Goals Here” pink pegboard. Players can become familiar with the 5 goal cards before shuffling them so the order is randomized.

The rest of the cards are shuffled and 3 are dealt to each player.

The next thing to do is set up the board – which is actually 9 board tiles randomly set out in a 3×3 grid. Players then place their 3 colored pawns on the center Start tile (that tiles isn’t placed randomly).

On their turn a player will Draw the number of cards indicated on the rules pegboard, Play the number of cards indicated, Move the number of times indicated, and discard down to the Hand limit.

Playing cards and moving can be done in any order or alternating between the two as long as the right numbers are achieved. And Moves can be divided between a player’s pawns as desired (no diagonal moves).

Spaces can hold only 1 pawn at a time. If a player pawn moves onto a spot with another pawn, that pawn will be bumped to another space. The Octagon spaces can hold multiple pawns, and the Portal spaces instantly move a pawn to another Portal space.

Of course, the cards being played may also cause change to occur. There are 5 types of cards:

* Action – triggers events that the player must do
* New Rule – change the indicated rule
* Leaper – that player moves one of their pawns to that spot on the board (bumped pawns go back to Start)
* Goal – new objective to meet and it’s placed on top of the Goal card stack
* Color – placed in front of each player indicating their color (which can also change)

After playing cards and moving their pawns the required number, that player discards down to the Hand limit and play moves to the next player.

When a player claims a Goal card, they place it in front of them. Once a player claims the required number of Goal cards, the game ends and that player wins.

Why we like Fluxx The Board Game
The thing we like the most about Fluxx The Board Game is that we feel more in control of our destiny. Making choices about where to move our pawns and how to bump others around makes the game less random.

Sure there’s still plenty of randomness in the game with rules and goals constantly changing (and being bumped), but with more choices, there’s more fun. We get to do more on our turns and that’s always fun too.

Knowing what 5 Goals are in the initial Goal stack also provides an element for planning ahead. For example, I may not be able to claim the Goal currently on top of the stack, but when someone does claim it, I’ll be in position to grab the next one.

Stringing together a series of moving tiles, rotating tiles, and moving pawns into position on one turn feels awesome. In that sense it’s kind of like solving a puzzle. And I like puzzly things.

A Fluxx game with opportunities to think through a string of moves is great.

How does Fluxx the Board Game score on the “Let’s Play Again” game meter?
In our family, Fluxx The Board Game will hit the table more than the Fluxx card games. The card games are still fun in their turn. But the board game will win out in number of plays.

It’s simple to get up and get rolling, and just as easy to start right up again when one game ends. There’s a great mix of maneuvering and randomness to keep the game light and enjoyable for everyone at the table.

Thanks Looney Labs for a fun family board game!
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