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Card Game Review: Star Fluxx

Stardate: September 30, 2011, Looney Labs goes where no Fluxx has gone before with Star Fluxx! Rather than the game being standard Fluxx with its changeable rules glazed over with another genre, Star Fluxx shifts the mechanics and creates the fastest-paced Fluxx we have yet playtested.

Firstly, Star Fluxx is definitely a member of the Fluxx family. The Basic Rules of “Draw 1, Play 1” are in effect.  They are altered by the New Rule cards such as Draw 2, Play 4, Play All, Hand Limit 4, Double Agendas for two Goals at once, and more. Play continues as Actions are performed and Keepers are collected, forming components necessary to achieve a Goal card on the table. First person to achieve the Goal wins.

From there, however, Star Fluxx kicks it into hyperdrive. There are three Creeper cards (Evil, Malfunction, and Brain Parasites), which automatically attach to Keepers and have the possibility of being cured or discarded, cutting a potential slowdown to victory while still holding the thrill. Action cards are particularly powerful in Star Fluxx, such as Beam Us Up! which forces all beings (Keepers marked with a brain) back into players’ hands.  That is, it does unless a Teleport Chamber is in play, in which case that player can steal all of those Keepers. Cards are linked to one another throughout the deck, such as the Time Portal (an Action card which allows the player to go through either “the Past” of the discard pile or “the Future” of the deck to pick a card) being able to be reused again and again by a player with the Time Traveler Keeper instead of discarding.

A couple of New Rules also throw more action into the game. The Wormhole rule allows players to have an extra one-card draw and immediate play for those feeling as lucky as a Corellian, and Get On With It! allows a total hand discard to trash an unlucky set. Even more varied are the Surprise cards, which give two options of ways to play whether “out of turn” or “during your turn.” For example, It’s a Trap! can be played out of turn on someone attempting to steal a Keeper and reversing to allow the would-be victim to steal one from the attacker, or, during a turn, making all others discard a card while the player draws a bonus two. Even the Keepers themselves have powers, such as the Unseen Force reading, “If you have this on the table, once per turn you can steal a card chosen randomly from another player’s hand,” The Computer giving +1 to draw, play, and hand limits, or even The Laser Pistol blasting Keepers with Creepers attached.

But perhaps the best of all about the game is its use of the science fiction genre. In addition to the obvious Star Wars and Star Trek, the game has references to the universes of Dr. Who, Robbie the Robot ‘50s and ‘60s movies, Hitchhiker’s Guide, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Firefly, with probably more tucked in there as well. So many cards even feature direct quotes, and the nerdy snorting and quoting quickly come into effect with everybody having a hilariously good time. Looney Labs has produced a short video showing the gameplay and just how nerdy it can get.

Star Fluxx is recommended for two to six players aged eight and up, though a clever younger kid might get into it as well. Expected gameplay time is 10 to 40 minutes, though our playtesting of the fast-paced game kept it under 20 every time. As an extra kick, promotional postcards offer additional upgrades with the Robo-Doc Keeper and, attached with the simultaneous launch of IceDice, the Press Your Luck Action card allowing for continuous draws as long as the player feels lucky.

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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