I’ve reviewed Martian Fluxx, Family Fluxx, and EcoFluxx, and I think I’ve found a new favorite: Pirate Fluxx.
Of course, that is a subjective opinion, being a major pirate fan myself (the one problem with ninjas: no repeat business in assassination!). Objectively, the game has a few new dynamics to take play in a more unpredictable, yet strategic, direction from the other Fluxxes... Flucci... Fluxx games.
The original Fluxx was a game devised out of changing the rules themselves: cards play what rules are in order based off the starting point of “Draw one, play one.” As the game progresses, the drawing, playing, and hand size allowed all change in numbers and eventually a Goal is played as a collection of matching Keepers to win. The main objective innovation in this Fluxx is the New Rule “Swap Plays for Draws,” which allows players to use any remaining plays for their turn as extra draws, causing a powerful horde of cards, possibly countered by a “No-Hand Bonus.” Such rules-tinkering makes for a fascinating structure upon which a theoretically infinite number of variations could be applied. The theme this time around is pirates, and the rule changes reflect in split-second strategy to capitalize on events as unpredictable as the waves, high risk, and the glamour of the world of pirating.*
Following its roguish theme, this Fluxx contains new Rule cards such as “Plunder!”, which allows each player to steal a Keeper from another once per turn. It raises the manic feeling as, rather than a few special cards that allow stealing Keepers, it may happen at any time. Keepers such as Cutlasses and Flintlock Pistols can block plundering, just like in real life. Another New Rule is “Talk Like a Pirate”, which gives players an extra draw for speaking in a pirate accent and two extra draws for continuing to speak in such a way for an entire round. As our play-testing continued, it was obvious how terrible we were at the typical West Counties English, but we quickly made cases for Irish and Asian pirates, of whom there were many upon the high seas. Also, we laughed a lot, which is really the point in the first place. Much of Fluxx is luck, and, though a refined strategy may help, constantly changing rules will disappoint the “bad loser” types who only have fun if they win.