Skip to main content

Star Fluxx (Acquire-To-Zendo)

🌠 Star Trekking Across The Universe...

2011, 2-6 players
Complexity: light

Fluxx is a series of games from Looney Labs that are all based around the same engine and come in a variety of flavors. There's Pirate Fluxx, Zombie Fluxx, Cthulhu Fluxx, even Batman Fluxx and Firefly Fluxx. But out of all of them, Star Fluxx is my favorite.

Let's See It In Action

Fluxx games are all based around the same mechanic: you and one-to-five friends are trying to accomplish the game-winning goal through an ever-changing card engine with a healthy dose of "Take that!" gameplay.

The basic rules are draw 1 card and then play 1 card, but these rules won't stay in play very long. Many of the cards you can play will allow you to play or draw extra cards, as well as a whole host of other options, such as hand-size limits, extra goals, or letting you play the top card off the deck as part of your turn.

In addition to rules cards, there are goals, actions, and surprises, but the cards you're probably most interested in are the ones that you use to achieve goals, and those cards are called Keepers. This being a game called Star Fluxx, the Keeper cards are appropriately nerdily themed.

But beware the Creepers, cards that go into play as soon as you draw them. They attach to your Keepers and disable them, keeping you from winning the game!

Goal cards tell you what Keepers need to be in play for someone to win. In general there can only be one Goal (there is a Rule card that allows for multiples though), and while most Goal cards cannot be achieved if you have a Creeper, there are a handful that require a Creeper, so even if you've been creeped on, that doesn't mean you're going to lose.

If at any point there is a Goal in play that requires the Keepers/Creepers you have in front of you, you win!

As in real life...

What Makes It So Good?

Star Fluxx is a party game. It is loud, flexible, random, and very, very funny. The cultural references hit everything from Firefly to Doctor Who to the various Star Treks to Star Wars to Lost In Space to The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. Funnily enough, some of these properties like Doctor Who, Firefly, and multiple incarnations of Star Trek have their own dedicated Fluxx editions now, so it's fun to see them all blended together. The play is fast, it's easy to learn, and you'll have a good laugh while you play it.

Beyond that, it takes a lot of the things I like about card games and just amps them all the way up. Card games like this are variable rules engines, where part of the gameplay is tampering with the engine. This game asks "What if all of the gameplay were tampering with the engine?" and just runs with it.

What's Not To Like?

It's a very chaotic game, which makes strategy all but impossible. This drives some players utterly mad. So be aware going in that you're playing 100% reactively, because the rules change quickly and sometimes arbitrarily. It can be very frustrating. It also doesn't scale that cleanly. When you get up above four or so players, the game can drag on a bit because of everyone messing with everyone else.

Is It Expansible?

There are a couple of promo cards that you can shuffle in, but no proper expansions. Each Fluxx is its own animal, and a lot of them tweak the game engine in very interesting ways. Zombie Fluxx has a lot of Creepers (surprise, they're zombies) and a number of weapons that you can use to get rid of them. Firefly Fluxx has a lot of cards that can steal cards from other players, so winning is usually about chaining those steals the best way to achieve the goal, almost like you were pulling off a heist. Monty Python Fluxx is another favorite, which is mostly built around acting silly.

Final Thoughts

It's a goofy, fun party game that embraces its own chaos.

Tune in next week when we feed the Emperor's panda in Takenoko...

In Acquire-To-Zendo, Kurt is going through his favorite board games in alphabetical order. Read the explainer or see more posts.


Popular posts from this blog

On Getting Laser Eyes

Last week I got Lasik. I was looking forward to not having to deal with glasses getting smudged by my kids or slipping off my face. I figured that not needing them would be pretty convenient. However, the words I heard over and over from other people who'd already done it were: "life-changing." That seemed to be overstating a bit. Convenient, yes, but life-changing? I didn't get it. I get it now. I've had some kind of vision correction, either glasses or contacts, for the last thirty-odd years, which is nearly as far back as I can remember. And what I hadn't realized was the extent to which this had become part of my identity. It's not that I thought glasses were cool because I wore them--although I did and they are. It's that the ability to see was, for me, artificial and temporary. And my vision was pretty bad, so my natural state was one of... not so much "blindness" as "isolation." There was a layer of vagueness that sat bet

100 Album: "Game Of Thrones Season 3 Soundtrack" by Ramin Djawadi

Kurt is going through his favorite records. Read the  explainer  or view  the master list . Artist:  Ramin Djawadi Title:   Game Of Thrones, Season 3 Soundtrack Released:  2013 Genre:  DAH duh, duh-duh-DAH duh, duh-duh-DAH duh He's not as big a name as Hans Zimmer or John Williams or the various Newmans out there, but Ramin Djawadi is easily the most interesting composer working in television right now (with due respect to Bear McCreary). Soundtracks, especially television soundtracks because they're produced so quickly, have a tendency to serve more as a wall of atmosphere than anything else. But Djawadi's work here and on Westworld  has generated some amazing musical themes. There's a strong undercurrent of leitmotif informing the way the music flows together and the themes those motifs are built around are damned  catchy--which you know if you got the joke in the genre description above. While all of the soundtracks for GoT  are very listenable, this is m

100 Albums: "Fashion Nugget" by Cake

Kurt is going through his favorite records. Read the  explainer  or view  the master list . Artist:  Cake Title:   Fashion Nugget Released:  1996 Genre:  lo-fi indie alt-rock There was a summer when I was in college that I spent every spare minute playing Super Bomber Man  on the SNES and listening to Cake's Fashion Nugget  (and one other album that I will get to shortly). Cake broke in the late era of grunge with The Distance , a--ahem--driving song about a man racing to get back to his love, or something like that. The metaphor was unclear, but the song was catchy as hell. They followed it up with a cover of I Will Survive  that was much more indicative of Cake's sound: lo-fi vintage guitar, a lead trumpet, John McCrea's deadpan just-off-rhythm singing and sarcastic lyrics, and Victor Damiani's frenetic bass-playing. Fashion Nugget  was independently produced under the ethos of "if you can't make it sound clean, make it sound dirty in an interesti