Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn of Fluxx.
Cthulhu is just about everywhere these days from plushies to running for President, and rightfully so considering his epicness. Lost Generation pulp writer H.P. Lovecraft’s scary imagination churned out Cthulhu, a giant “Old One” evil deity who is buried asleep under the sunken city of R’lyeh, in 1928. Like many of Lovecraft’s “ignorance is bliss” themes, Cthulhu is a monster who, simply by knowing that he exists, causes madness. Something about him, most likely the charming tentacle-face, has caught the public imagination, and now he even has his own card game: Cthulhu Fluxx from Looney Labs.
Taking the rich Cthulhu Mythos (Lovecraft, like Stephen King after him, wove together many of his tales into his own universe), Looney Labs game designer Keith Baker has created a new addition to the Fluxx series that is my current favorite. Each Fluxx has its own quirks and individuality that goes along with the motif at hand. While not as interactive with the thieving of Pirate Fluxx or fast-paced as Star Fluxx, Cthulhu Fluxx gives a sense of foreboding and brink-of-destruction like no other.
The art by Derek Ring helps set the mood with eerie images, somewhat cartoon-like, but still shadowy and monstrous. This dark mood continues with the game mechanic. Like all of Fluxx, the basic rules are “Draw 1 Card, Play 1 Card.” From there, the game can get more complex with additional draws, plays, hand limits, special draws, and actions. When a Goal card is played, players can win by having the appropriate Keeper cards played in front of them. Cthulhu has eight Creeper cards, which are played like Keepers, but are immediately played and often block players from winning. More than any Fluxx yet, Cthulhu has a number of goals that can be met by Creepers themselves, such as having The Body along with The Reanimator.