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Subject: Fluxx - A Raggy Review rss

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Dev Sodagar
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I originally wrote this review for the website GeekPlanetOnline

Fluxx
Written by: Dev Sodagar

Designer: Andrew Looney
Publisher: Looney Labs
Number of Players: 2 - 6 players
Playing Time: 2-30 minutes
Category: Abstract, Card Game
Mechanics: Variable Rules
Web: http://www.looneylabs.com
Release Date: Out now

“Play your own game.”

In Brief: How do you keep a game feeling fresh and new even after 600 games? Change the rules every time you play! It's a simple concept, but how to make it work?

In Fluxx, the game consists of 4 types of card: Goal Cards state what the win conditions are building a hand of ten cards, for example, or possession of particular Keeper cards); Action Cards that are played with an instant effect, such as switching your hand with that of another player; Keeper Cards that are played in front of you in an attempt to fulfill the Goal; and New Rule cards that add or alter existing rules, such as how many cards you draw and play. There is only ever one Goal card active (unless a rule changes that!) and the first person to complete the active goal is the winner. Finally, the game starts with each player having a hand of three and one basic rule in play: draw one, play one.

That really is all there is to Fluxx, until the rules change! The game comes in a neat little box that contains eighty-four cards (plus a rule card, an advert card and a folded sheet of rules). The real beauty of this game is that it will go anywhere and can be played by anyone. The measures roughly the same size as two decks of regular playing cards stacked on top of each other (rather than the more awkward side-by-side layout, as in Uno), and while this makes it a little too chunky to carry in your pocket, it's still small enough to slip into a handbag or rucksack without any trouble -- perfect for journeys by train, coach or car.

Fun as it is, however, there are a couple of drawbacks to Fluxx that should be mentioned. The nature of a game with variable rules makes the game length hugely variable, and while you'll generally be done in about thirty minutes the running time fluctuates crazily; it's entirely possible for games to end before some players have even had a go! As you can imagine, it makes sense to have a couple of goes when teaching newbies how to play. At the same time, Fluxx isn't something that you can play for hours on end – after three or four quick hands you'll definitely be ready for a break.

Thankfully, there's a bunch of expansions to help mix things up even further. These variants are disparate and many, from expansions with a religious twist (Jewish Fluxx and Christian Fluxx) to some more outlandish remakes, including Zombie Fluxx, Stoner Fluxx and the latest and perhaps greatest release: Monty Python Fluxx. All introduce some rule variants, with added goals and card types, and are designed to add a little more depth. At time of writing the current rule set is version 3.1, but Looney Labs are planning on releasing a version 4.0 early in the new year, including redesigned cards with color pictures and a number other features.

Frankly, Fluxx is a must own for everyone. Its problems are few and minor whilst its uses are numerous, from a light break between heavier games to passing the time on a mind-numbing trip across the country to see the in-laws. For the more adventurous out there, it is a great way to meet new people while partaking in that Great British passtime – queuing. Seriously, get a game going with strangers whilst waiting in line for a movie, convention, book signing or Cosplay competition and see what I mean! The variant rules and themed editions are more suited to the players looking for something a little less abstract, but the core set is great for most and available for well under the tenner mark. Better still, with Christmas around the corner consider it as a stocking filler – the geek in your life will thank you!
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