Fluxx Fix

Game published Looney Laboratories
This article copryright 1997 by Steffan O'Sullivan
This page last updated September 15, 1997

Fluxx is a simple but fun little card game from Looney Laboratories. The basic rules are simple: deal out three cards to each player (2-6 players), then each player in turn draws one card and plays one card.

That's it. At least until someone plays a New Rule card, such as Draw 2. Then each player draws 2 and plays 1.

That's it. At least until another rule card is played, and so on. What's the goal of the game? We don't know - no one has played one yet.

There are four different types of cards:

  1. New Rules
  2. Goals
  3. Keepers (nouns - things you collect to achieve goals)
  4. Actions (sort of one-shot rules)
Each turn you draw as many cards as the current rules allow, and play as many as the current rules allow, until someone wins.

The game is a lot of fun - we always laugh a lot when playing - but to be honest, there's not a lot of thought required. Oh, there's some - don't play a goal for which an opponent has at least some of the elements, and you don't have any, for example - but that's obvious stuff. There's no real long-term strategy possible, nor even short-term tactics. It's more trying to keep the goal something you know your opponents can't achieve until you can achieve one yourself.

Every game we've had so far has been won by a lucky draw on a particular turn. This is a bit annoying, but I don't yet know how to fix it. If anyone has a fix, please let me know!

In the meantime, I have doctored it a bit - but we haven't played enough with my new cards and amendments to know if it's any better yet. Looney Laboratories will send you blank cards if you send them postage-paid envelopes, so you can make your own cards, too. Here are some changes I made to the game:

  • Four of the Goals (Money, No Taxes -- The Brain, No TV -- Peace, No War -- Keeper Shortage) are too easy, so I wrote (in permanent marker) on each of those cards, Ignore this goal on the first pass through the deck. This serves two purposes:
    1. it makes a quick lucky win less likely, and
    2. gives you some dead goals to use, which is actually a useful thing. That is, you can play one of these cards in the first pass through the deck, and it replaces an existing goal, but no one can win with it until the discard pile has been shuffled at least once.
  • Some of the Keepers are less valuable than others - they're used for fewer Goals, and don't have Bonus Rules to help them. So I wrote five new Goals to use these cards, making the Keepers more of equal value. This means if you're lucky enough to get Chocolate, Death, or especially the Eye, it's not quite such an advantage any more. Mind you, those three cards are still the most valuable, just not so overpoweringly so now. The new Goals are:
    1. Your Brain is Toast: the player with The Brain and Toast wins.
    2. Tolstoy: the player with War and Peace wins.
    3. Countdown: the player with Time and The Rocket wins.
    4. Pyramid Scheme: the player with The Pyramid and Money wins.
    5. Southern California: the player with The Sun and Taxes wins.
  • Three of the Action cards allow you more plays (Draw 3, play 2 of them -- Draw 2 and use 'em -- Use what you take). I just clarified that these extra plays do not count against your plays for the turn. So if the current rule is Play 4, playing Draw 3, play 2 of them only counts as one play.
  • Hand Limit 0 and Hand Limit 1 cards are only activated when the Draw is 3 or more. Otherwise the game gets boring, we've found.
  • I added four new Bonus rules, to try and stir things up, allowing you possibly to prevent an opponent from winning, or further your own strategy. They are:
    1. Love Bonus: if a player has Love showing, then during that player's turn, he or she may give it to another player as a Keeper on the table. In exchange, he or she draws one card at random from the receiving player's hand.
    2. Money Talks: if a player has Money showing, then during that player's turn, he or she may "spend it" (discard it) to trash any one New Rule.
    3. Peace, Man: if a player has Peace showing, he or she may discard it to cancel any one Action. This may be done during another player's turn.
    4. World War IV: if a player has War showing, then during that player's turn, he or she may discard it, causing a mandatory playing of all ACTION cards. Starting with the player to his or her left, and going around the table, each player must play all their Action cards.
  • A New Rule, designed to slow down the one with the most Keepers, in an attempt to balance the game that way: Too Many Keepers: If one player has the most Keepers on the table (i.e., there is no tie for this), then that person draws one less card than allowed, and plays one less card than allowed.
  • A new Keeper, something to play on the leader: Booby Trap: This card must be played as your first play. If this card is in your hand, you must play it as a Keeper. Starting with the turn after you play it, you may, as a play, give it to another player into their hand (not on the table). On their next turn, they must play it as their first play, etc. You may not win while you have the Booby Prize on the table.
  • A fifth type of card: Counteraction: just called Counteraction, I made up two of these, which are identical. The text reads: May be played out of turn. You may play this immediately after another player plays an ACTION card, to cancel that action. May not cancel a counteraction.
So far, that's all I've come up with, though I have three more cards. Saving them to see how these work. I'll let you know - check back here in a month or so.

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