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Subject: Do you have what it takes to be a professional monster? rss

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Brian Kelley
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Columbia
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A comical familiar for an absent-minded wizard.
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If you are already familiar with the Fluxx series of games, you already know the rules for Monster Fluxx.

If you don't, the gist of this card game is simple:

- There is a goal to winning the game.
- There are Keeper cards which you must play to match the goal.
- The rules are constantly changing, hence the name of the game.

Changing Rules:

For instance, the basic rule is that during a player's turn, each player draws one card and plays one card. However, there are New Rule cards which can change both of these. For instance, someone can play a New Rule card which states everyone draws 4 cards. Then another player could play a New Rule card which changes the rule to where everyone must play 3 cards during a turn.

Also, there are goal cards which allow you to change what the goal is for a win. Therefore, you could be working towards the goal that's available and someone plays a new Goal card, which changes how you win the game. Of course, you could be that player, especially if you get to play more than one card during your turn. As a result, each round has potentially different rules and no game is like any other.

Old Familiars

If you're used to playing the Fluxx games, there are some old familiar cards. In addition to the standard Draw X and Play X New Rule cards (as well as the Rules Reset card), there are the old familiar cards like Steal a Keeper, Zap a Card, Trash a Keeper, and Draw 2 and Use 'Em. Therefore, strategies from previous Fluxx games are just as effective with Monster Fluxx.

New Theme Cards

There are action cards new to the monster theme. For instance, the The Creature Is Still Alive! allows you to bring a Keeper card marked as a monster card back from the Discard pile. Monster cards are marked with an eyeball in the upper right corner, which distinguishes them from other Keepers. There's also a Destroy All Monsters! card which sends all monster Keeper cards in play to the discard pile.

No Ungoal Cards

If you've played Cthulhu Fluxx or Zombie Fluxx, you're familiar with the Ungoal cards. These are where a player can play an Ungoal card, accomplish it, and the game ends but no one wins. There are no Ungoal cards in Monster Fluxx. Even cases where the monsters don't win are treated as goals, meaning one player will eventually win.

No Creepers

Given that there are no Ungoal cards, it's probably not surprising that there are no Creeper cards. If you're not familiar with Creeper cards, they are like Keeper cards, in that you play them in front of you, but unlike Keeper cards you (a) have no choice but to play them as soon as you draw them (though they don't count as a draw) and (b) in most cases having even a single Creeper prevents you from winning, even if you have the conditions to accomplish the Goal card(s) in play. The lack of Creepers makes the game simpler to understand and raises the stakes because it truly means anybody could go out any round.

The Keepers and the Goals

What typically makes each Fluxx variant different from the others are the Keepers and the Goals (and the Creepers, if that variant has them). Think about any iconic monster / classic horror movie villain and those make up the majority of the Keepers. There are others which are a nod to pop culture, like The Teenage Detectives and Fuzzy Monster. Also, typically motifs like castles, laboratories, angry mobs, and tombstones fill out the Keepers.

As for the goals, they are rich and varied. I think the first thing I noticed about this Flux version is the large number of both Keepers and Goals. There's a New Rule card that allows you to discard any number of Goal cards from your hand in order to draw the same number of cards from the deck, there are that many. Some of the Goal cards are classic, like Kill the Monster! which requires you to have the Angry Mob of Villagers + The Franken-Monster. Some are puns, like Bats in the Belfry which you win if you have both the Bats and The Castle Keepers. Then there are those that are nods to pop culture in accordance with their pop culture keepers like Yikes! It's a G-G-G-Ghost! (The Ghost + The Teenage Detectives) and Professional Monster (The Fuzzy Monster + The Spooky Door).

Will I continue to play it?

Because all of the Fluxx games are very rules light, they make for good games to play with folks who aren't regular gamers. There are some Fluxx variants, though, that I just don't find interesting enough to play again. Since the rules are basically the same, it's more about the genre being covered, which comes down to personal taste.

That being said, I love movie and TV monsters and the themes around them. Therefore, I will play Monster Fluxx again, especially since my family likes the game. I put it behind the Creeper/Ungoal games like Cthulhu Fluxx and Zombie Fluxx, which offer additional complexities, but this is definitely one I'd use to bring folks into the whole Fluxx genre of games, sort of like a gateway game.

In addition, each game doesn't take that long. The game advertises itself as lasting from 5-20 minutes and that's been my experience with the Fluxx genre and Monster Fluxx is no exception. Therefore, if I don't have a lot of time to play a game, I see myself reaching for this one.
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David Witzany
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Are there any cases where you'd go all the way back and play vanilla Fluxx?
 
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