Demo Day Blog #4: Fluxx

Krosmaster Arena was our featured game last week, but as we found out firsthand, the game is pretty complex too, and made for a somewhat poor demo choice. The game was presented well, using various counters and punched-out bits of cardboard to keep track of the various abilities and conditions. Also, the figures were very detailed, and stayed true to the weird super-cuteness the online version of the game pours down your throat. So thanks to Kyle Hulett for letting us stand in awe of his $90 board game!

This weekend, to clear our heads of the avalanche of frills and information Krosmaster Arena offered, we’re going to examine the extreme low end of the board game spectrum. Fluxx might be the most basic “board game” ever invented. I used quotes there because there is no board at all, only a deck of seemingly random cards. I hesitate to call it a card game because it retains the random nature of a board game and the casual, almost party game feel. It also doesn’t really have much in the way of high strategy or bluffing, two very common themes in games with lots of hidden information.

Playing Fluxx is simple:

The only card you'll ever need.

The only card you’ll ever need.



Seriously, that’s it. Fluxx operates on a similar level of game design as Magic (the granddaddy of this style of game). The basic rules are in effect at the start of the game, but are frequently altered by the players, who play New Rules from their hand. You might think that the game can get pretty complex pretty fast. Well, that can happen with the right combination of rules, but it’s very, very rare, and typically the game progresses to a complex rules state at a steady pace to let players adapt. So don’t worry about slowing a game down because you are new. All you have to do is draw a card, then play a card. It’s really that easy.

GoalThe goal of Fluxx changes as well. Until someone plays a Goal card, there actually is no way to win the game. Luckily, there are lots of these cards in the deck that feature either meeting a certain condition like having ten cards in your hand, or more typically, requiring one or more specific Keeper cards in play (we’ll get to those in a moment). It can be tough to assemble the winning combination of cards however. Players frequently change the goal to either further their own plans or to simply deny someone who is close to meeting the current Goal.

Keeper cards are not really resources. they don’t usually do anything at all. Mostly they just sit in front of you and have nice pictures on them. However, as we can see from the Goal card above, Keepers can satisfy Goals. Sometimes, Keepers can occasionally do things, such as neutralize Creeper cards, a card type I’m leaving for the demo itself since it isn’t integral to game play and the reveal on them is pretty fun.

There are a few other card types not covered here, but like every other type, they are very straightforward in what they do. You’ll learn all about these other types in the demo on Sunday.

One last thing about Fluxx. It’s an incredibly versatile system since it is so bare-bones. There are endless versions of the game in print, including Family Fluxx, Stoner Fluxx, Pirate Fluxx, Zombie Fluxx, Cthulu Fluxx, and tons more. Each have their own flavorful (and mechanical) bent on the game, and showcases just how awesome and versatile a game Fluxx is.

Come on out and try the game this Sunday. The game takes mere minutes to learn and play, though most people immediately want to play it again after their first go!

See you then,

Nigel Higdon