Thursday , May 23 2024

Card Game Review: ‘Anatomy Fluxx’ from Looney Labs

Anatomy Fluxx from Looney Labs is the most educational Fluxx yet! Fluxx, the card game with ever-changing rules, turned to educational topics with previous editions like Chemistry Fluxx and Math Fluxx. Both offered great new themes for decks as assembling elements together into compounds or tinkering with numbers fit the game’s mechanic of matching cards perfect. Anatomy Fluxx takes a similar route of putting pieces together, but it goes in much bolder direction to show how serious the systems of the human body can be.

As with all Fluxx games, the initial rules are simple: players are dealt a hand of cards and then take turns drawing a card and then playing a card. Players collect Keepers that ultimately match to meet a Goal card to win the game. Since it is Anatomy Fluxx, the Keepers are all in the theme of body parts, ranging from the Brain to the Appendix to the Pituitary Gland to the Ovaries. Goals require assembling these to make the proper pair, such as Appetite with the Brain and Stomach, Respiratory System with Lungs and Blood Vessels, or Filters needing two out of the Liver, Kidneys or Spleen. Anatomy Fluxx maintains a mature approach to the human body, including reproductive organs that are important to learning physical health.

Play through the game evolves quickly as new Rule cards change the numbers of cards drawn or played, limit hands, or give bonuses for special conditions. Anatomy Fluxx features special bonuses for players quick to learn: the Knowledge Bonus gives an extra card to any player who can recite the factoids on the Keepers as they are played and Name that Organ! where the player reads the factoid with a reward for those who can name the organ correctly. Other cards are more for fun, such as bonuses for maintaining the rhythm of a beating heart and plenty of devious Action cards that can disrupt in a player’s favor by stealing cards or reshuffling Keepers on that table.

Anatomy Fluxx stands out from the other educational Fluxx games by its bold use of negative cards. Creepers, cards that automatically play in front of a player and blocks them from winning, have long been a part of Fluxx, but Creepers here go a step further to attach to a Keeper. With fitting names like Virus, Mutation, and Bacteria, the Creepers are linked to the victim Keeper until a special rule separates them or they are both discarded. Further, several Ungoal cards may come into play that will cause the game to end and everyone to lose when their conditions are met. These cards not only crank up the tension of the game but also help to teach how fragile human health can be.

Anatomy Fluxx is a card game for two to six players aged twelve and up. It is a quick card game, usually lasting twenty to thirty minutes, although the erratic nature of Fluxx could bring it to an early end or keep going depending on how players use their cards. Whether for its eager mechanics with quick changes to the rules that always keep players on its toes or for its great educational value, Anatomy Fluxx is a must-play for everybody.

About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.

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