Thursday , April 25 2024
The card game where everything changes, but "you can't take the sky from me."

Card Game Review: ‘Firefly Fluxx’ from Looney Labs

Firefly Fluxx from Looney Labs brings Joss Whedon’s classic “space cowboy” sci-fi to tabletops so that Browncoats everywhere can relive unpredictable adventure. Despite the series and capstone film having hung up the holsters over a decade ago, Firefly fans continue to reject norms and live on by their own rules. If there were ever a property best suited for the wild, rules-changing gameplay of Fluxx, it is the Firefly ‘Verse.

FireflyFluxx_3D-Contents-smPerhaps it’s the “dirty sci-fi” aspect of Firefly that makes it live on so firmly in the collective imagination. While other sci-fi universes have their polished Starfleets or Colonial Fleets, Firefly is a tale of ramshackle outlaws living on the fringe of society, doing whatever it takes to keep their shoddy ship flying and food in their bellies, although the heroes of course have a noble streak that runs straight to their core. This roughhewn, almost punk style of space opera shines in the Fluxx system, the game where the rules always change.

In Fluxx, a basic rule card is laid on the table instructing players to draw one card and play one card on their cards. As the game progresses, new rule additions and modifiers take the game in any direction. Players may end up drawing four cards, playing three, or maintaining a hand limit of two, not to mention all of the spontaneous actions such as trading hands or stealing cards. The purpose of Fluxx is to collect Keepers, each with a symbol of a character or item that Firefly fans will recognize. If a player’s Keepers match the Goal card in play, that player got the goods and can call it a win.

Firefly Fluxx fits firmly into the Fluxx system (so much so that careful players could merge their own decks with previously published editions), but it is hardly the same game just with a new skin. Several original additions reflect the ‘Verse, such as the “Press Your Luck” Action cards that allow a player to draw as long as he or she wishes, or “You Are Bound By Law!” that prevents a player from playing cards, just as the oppressive Union of Allied Planets might see fit to do. The New Rule “Plunder!” represents the edging onto piracy aboard spaceships in the Rim.

Also novel in Firefly Fluxx are all of the pulling links between Keepers like Simon Tam and his sister River and Zoe Washburn and her husband Wash, meaning savvy players will have to keep an eye on who might lure whom away, while “Stolen Goods” may be traded for anything. Perhaps best of all is the New Rule “Let’s Keep Doing That!” which turns any Action card into a playable action during any player’s turn, showing that free choice has its benefits and its responsibilities.

Firefly Fluxx is a symbol-matching card game for two to six players aged eight and up. With the inherent chaos of the system, games could be quick five-minute affairs or last as long as half an hour, balancing luck with skill, just as in the ‘Verse. The mixture of Firefly and Fluxx works perfectly, blending with such care that even the cards and rules are printed in a smoky parchment style. Pretty cunning, don’t you think?

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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