Monday, November 19, 2012

Family Fluxx review

I watched a recent episode of Tabletop in which they played a game of Star Fluxx. It seemed an easy and fun game so I checked out the price on Amazon. It seems there are many different 'flavours' available and after checking reviews I decided that the Family version with its bright cards, 6-Adult age-range and quick play would probably best suit my needs. I ended up playing it with the Bratii - Minor (10) and Major (16) and that's all we ended up playing.

The Game and basic rules.

It's a card game so you get one pack of cards about the same number in a normal pack and one special card labelled "Basic Rules" which in a nice touch has a different coloured obverse face so if it gets added to the main pack by accident it's easy to find. The rules are really simple - the "Basic Rules" card is placed in the centre and every player is dealt three cards face-down. The person who says "I'll start" starts and follows the instructions on the basic rules card.

To being the rules are simple "Draw 1 card; Play 1 card" and that's what you do; the fun lies in the types of cards that exist.

The Different Cards

There are four 'suits' of cards - Keepers, Goals, Actions, and Rules. Each are colour-coded to make identification easy and most come with a nice big illustration and easy-to-read text. Keepers represent things - a dog, a house, rain; and if played are done so face-up in front of the person playing them. They get to keep them. Goals represent something to achieve normally having a particular combination of keepers in front of you; if anyone matches this goal they win. They override any previous Goals which are discarded. Actions are things that can be done - draw three cards; make everyone pass a card to the left; trade hands with another player. Rules change the rules instead of drawing one card perhaps draw three; or play three; or only be allowed to have a maximum of three keepers on the table. They over-ride any Rules of the same type which are discarded.

Playing the game

As I've said each player starts by following the basic rules of draw 1, play 1  until something changes. The best bit about the cards is that they apply instantly. As an example I may draw a card and then play a Draw 3 rules card. As I've only drawn one card I get to draw another two; but I don't get to play any more as the rules are still set to "Play 1" and I've already done so. Due to this each player's turn can last longer than another's but play is still really quick. The slow part lies in tactics - exactly what card do you play that will help you, but not another player? The instant rule also applies to goals. If I have a Cheese and a Cake in front of me and someone else plays the Goal of "Cheese Cake" I win even if they want to play another goal to cancel it out. It gets played; it gets applied. This is particularly galling for the hand-limit cards "Hand Limit 1" means every player except the one whose turn it is has to instantly discard enough cards to leave them with only one; the turn player has to discard at the end of their turn. Playing that can really mess up another's strategy.


Oh yeah and after a couple of hands both were playing like pros. This is in fact the first game we've played in which Minor easily beat both myself and Major multiple times (8, 3, 2 for Minor, myself and Major) - he not only had the luck of the cards; but most importantly knew how to play them to both win and stop either of us from winning. As an example check out this play.

It's Minor's turn I have three keepers in front of me; Major has two (the exact ones don't matter); Minor has two - Cheese and Cat. Due to an Action card called Rules Reset we're back to the basic rules of Draw 1; Play 1. Minor draws a card. He now plays a Rules card - "Play 3" as these apply instantly and he's only played one card he now gets to play another two. He plays an Action card "Trash a Keeper", both Major and myself hold our breath as we await which of our Keepers he's going to 'trash' to the discard pile. He picks up his own Cat Keeper card.

"I can remove my own card can't I?" he asks

I check the rules on the Action card. Any Keeper from any Player...
"Yes" I respond warily.
"Good" he says and removes his cat.

He can now play one more card and he plays a Goal card - The Cheese Stands Alone. Any player wins if they have the Cheese and only the Cheese on the table.

"I win" he says.

Stunned silence.
"Okay" I say, "that was impressive"
"Yeah" says Major" "it was"


Pretty damn awesome. Easy to pick, quick to play, and thus entirely suitable for the lower end of the age bracket. No problems with short attention spans here we literally had a game that I won on my second turn. The other flavours of the game come with more cards and apparently more rules that I suspect will slow down play and make things more complicated if you have kids or hell just want something that's really simple to play this is probably the best version to pick.