Rules are hardly the only change for Pirate Fluxx, however. New Action cards such as “Walk the Plank!” (in which the victim must discard his or her hand) and “King’s Ransom” (taking one card from each player’s hand) give the feeling of wild insecurity that keeps piracy so interesting. The most powerful card in the deck, however, stands as the Keeper “Captain’s Hat.” It demands two cards from every player instead of one during “King’s Ransom”, makes the player immune to the Creeper “Shackles”, cannot be Plundered, and, most importantly, reads, “If you have this on the table, all other players must call you the Captain.” Hilarity aside, it acts as a genuinely powerful card, establishing a lead player for the game, which is a very new motif for a Fluxx game. It even spawned the new Action card “Mutiny!” in which a player may steal the “Captain’s Hat” or dig it out of the deck.
The greatest change in this Fluxx, however, is the introduction of the aptly named Surprise cards. Rather than working in the turn system that has always followed from the original, these out-of-turn cards allow for mainly blocking and some stealing of significant plays. “Avast! Halt!”, “Veto!”, and “Canceled Plans” block Actions, New Rules, and, most importantly, Goals. “That Be Mine!” steals Keepers as they are played, preventing a possible victory. The spontaneity and resulting strategy from these cards gives Pirate Fluxx an even grander sense of high stakes, adding cunning and surprise to an already madcap game.
Pirate Fluxx launches February 11, 2011. For a look at gameplay, check out Looney Labs’ video featuring pirate playtesters.
* Glamorous, at least, as in the world of pirating is portrayed in movies. Real piracy is boring, filthy, notoriously confined in poverty, and holds uncomfortably high murder- and prison-rates.