Monday, December 29, 2014

Star Fluxx

Star Fluxx
Publisher: Looney Labs (2011)
Players: 2-6
Play Time: 10-40 minutes
Genre: Card Game, Sci-Fi
Price: $15.99

Star Fluxx begins as a game with very few rules. Each player starts out with three cards in their hand, and on their turn they must draw one card and play one card. When the game starts there is no win condition. What follows is a crazy game that is sure to feature all sorts of twists and turns. There are many types of cards that affect the game in one way or another; Goals provide that game with its win condition, Keepers are the players' way to fulfill goals, Creepers keep a player from winning the game unless otherwise specified by the current Goal, Actions provide strategic ways to affect that game on a player's turn, Surprises can be played at anytime and impact the game in different ways depending on when they're played, and New Rules provide ever-increasing constraints on how the game is played.

This isn't a bad game to use to introduce new players to the world of table-top gaming, but if you're playing with inexperienced players it's best if at least one person knows the game. That person can help to keep track of the rules and keep things straight. The most important thing to remember is that the cards tell the players exactly what to do, they should be interpreted as literally as possible. Have no fear, after a few rounds of play everyone will be comfortable enough that you can sit back and just enjoy the game.

If the game isn't won very quickly, say in the first ten minutes or so, it seems that inevitably everyone is in for a wild ride. The longer games are the most fun, as players dive down deep into their bags of tricks for the slightest advantage. Card advantage, having more cards and therefore more options, is the most important aspect of the game. The trouble there is that there are many ways to turn that advantage against a player. That's where strategy most strongly comes into play. The order in which the player executes their plays can spell the difference between victory and perhaps handing victory to another player, the most embarrassing way to lose the game.

The artwork on the cards is pretty simple, but it conveys the sci-fi inspirations behind the cards perfectly. When it's not your turn it's fun to watch the other cards being played and trying to identify what sci-fi stories the cards are referencing. You might also find that this launches some fun conversations regarding those stories, perhaps allowing you to introduce someone to a book or movie that they haven't been exposed to before. It is a game after all, one you play with friends in order to have fun. What could be more fun than playing an awesome game and seeing someone discover Star Wars or The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for the first time?

Conclusion: Star Fluxx is a great game to start any game session. It's simple enough to be taught to just about anyone, but has enough depth to serve as a nice primer for the rest of the session. Will it satisfy the hardcore gamer in more experienced players? No, but it's a good appetizer for what ever main course game you're planning on serving up.

Rating: 7/10

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