Tuesday , April 16 2024
Players race to make compounds in the game where the rules always change

Card Game Review: ‘Chemistry Fluxx’ from Looney Labs

Chemistry Fluxx from Looney Labs is the latest addition to the series of the card game where the rules are always changing. Play is straightforward initially in Fluxx: each player draws a card and plays a card. Players collect Keeper cards until they have the right combination to match a Goal in play and become the winner. As cards are played, however, the rules change as to how many cards may be drawn or played, hand limits, how many Keepers each player may have, or even special actions like discarding or redrawing.

Like Math Fluxx, Chemistry Fluxx expands the series into the educational sphere. While Math Fluxx used numbers, Chemistry Fluxx is based on the periodic table for most of its Keepers with cards like Hydrogen, Helium, Oxygen, Iron, and more. A few additional Keepers include items one might find around a chemistry lab, such as Bunsen burners, beakers, and lab coats. Players will have to match Keepers to create compounds, such as holding the Sodium and Chlorine Keepers to achieve the “Salt” Goal with the compound NaCl.

Chemical combinations lend themselves fluidly to the Fluxx dynamic, and players will be quick to recognize common substances like Hydrochloric Acid out of Hydrogen and Chloride or Lime from Calcium and Oxygen. In a move rarely seen among Fluxx games, Chemistry Fluxx contains duplicate Oxygen and Hydrogen Keepers, meaning that there is more than one possibility of finding the Keeper needed to win a Goal. Rather than compete over Keepers, players are more likely to run through the deck in search of the proper components they need to achieve victory in the lab.

Additional rules work toward speed of play being of the essence in Chemistry Fluxx. A new Meta Rule, which may be added into play at the beginning of the game along with the “Draw 1, Play 1” basic rule if players agree, is the Goal Foundry. This meta rule allows players to discard Goal cards as a free action to draw new cards. In addition, the Recycling rule card has players discard a Keeper to draw even more new cards. A special “Compound It!” rule also gives bonus draws if a player can name a legitimate compound from one of their Keepers on the table. With these rules in play, chemistry enthusiasts will fly through the deck in perhaps the fastest-paced Fluxx yet.

Chemistry Fluxx is a card game for two to six players aged eight and up. It is a shorter game, usually over in ten or so minutes, although, with its wild nature, it can last as long as up to twenty or thirty minutes or even be over in the first few hands. It is a great addition to science class or tutoring as players will quickly become familiar with different compounds and their elements. The “Compound It!” card is especially incentivizing to learn additional compounds not in the game, making for a real chance to nerd out and get bonus for it.

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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