REVIEW | Star Fluxx

We’re all familiar with rules. We live by them – and of course most of us play by them. It’s fair to say that it can be the rules themselves that can make or break a game. In games if rules were constantly amended, changed or removed surely only chaos would follow. Fluxx is a card game that challenges this idea. The rules changes, the goal to win changes and the players have to adapt to win.  There is no chaos, just a fluid and ever-changing gaming experience.

Star Fluxx is based on the original ‘Fluxx’ but it has boldly gone to a world of science fiction pop culture where no one has gone before!

Off the box:

  • Players: 2-6
  • Ages: 8 years and up
  • Playtime: 10-40 minutes
  • Designers: Andrew and Kristen Looney
  • Publisher: Looney Labs
  • Key game mechanics: Set Collection and Hand Management

How do you play?

Star Fluxx has two core rules that are found in many card games:

  • Pick up one card.
  • Play one card.
New Rule Square
Star Fluxx: Example New Rule Cards

Simples! Not quite. You can play New Rule cards that change the basic rules (so you can draw or play more cards) or add additional rules to the game (such as hand limits).  As well as New Rules, there are 5 other card types in Star Fluxx: Keepers, Creepers, Goals, Actions and Surprises.

Keepers are the ‘characters’ of the game that Players place in front of them that are inspired by sci fi pop culture. Some Keepers have special abilities: The Captain, for example, has the ability to allow you to steal The Doctor, The Engineer, The Expendable Crew and The Scientist from another player (but only once per turn).

Goal Square
Star Fluxx: Example Goal Cards

To win, a Player needs to satisfy the win condition, which is determined by the Goal card in play. At the start of a new game there’s no way to win until a Player plays the first Goal card. The goal then changes when a new Goal card is played – so game objective is constantly changing throughout the game. Most Goal cards depict two or more Keeper cards.  If a player has those Keepers in front of them when the goal is in play, they win the game!

Action and Surprise! Cards are can be played throughout the game to increase your chances of winning, such as Space Jackpot, which allows you to ‘Draw 5 extra cards, and add them to your hand, then discard 2 cards’.

Creeper Square
Star Fluxx: Example Creeper Cards

Warning! Watch out for Creepers! These cards attach themselves to your Keepers and can prevent you from winning the game, unless you can get rid of them. It’s hard to win the game when you have brain parasites and malfunctioning equipment… unless the Goal says otherwise!

How complex is it?

The thing with Star Fluxx is that it sounds more complicated than it actually is. I think anyone can play, including non-gamers and regular gamers alike.  If you haven’t played Star Fluxx, or any Fluxx before I suggest just throwing yourself in the deep end and just start playing – despite the fluid gameplay it’s really easy to pick up. I recommend keeping the player number down until you have a grasp of the rules, though!

If you’re unsure of the rules, the FAQs on the Instruction leaflet and on the Looney Labs website are really useful. For us this was mainly for the special ability of some Keeper cards. And remember, Google is your friend!

Do you need to be good at strategy to win?

As with many card games, there’s an element of luck involved depending on the cards that you get. You could spend most of the game drawing many different Goal cards but have no Keepers to win. However, strategy is important in Star Fluxx it’s important to strike the right balance between setting yourself up to win and blocking your opponent from winning. You need to maximise your turns and play cards that prevent your opponents from utilising theirs to its full potential.

That being said Star Fluxx is a well-balanced game. There are occasionally rounds that can seem entirely based on luck, but the fun themes and relatively quick play time means I’m always happy to shuffle the deck and play another game, regardless of whether I won or lost!

How many other players do I need to have a good game?

The game is designed to be played with between 2 and 6 players. In my experience, Star Fluxx is more enjoyable with 2 players rather than 4. I found that with more than 2 players the game lasted much longer because the rounds took much longer. However, I’ve played the game with 4 players a handful of times and had fun doing so! Maybe in the future as I play Star Fluxx more, I’ll change my opinion and prefer playing with bigger groups.

What do you think of the game components?

Looney Labs have done a great job with the game components. The cards feel sturdy to hold in your hand and stand up to a lot shuffling without looking worn.  The illustrations are high quality and I particularly like the attention to detail on the cards, including the references to well known sci-fi characters and tropes. The cards contain parodies of multiple iconic science-fiction references including Dr Who, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Star Trek and Star Wars! This humorous theme really adds an extra fun-factor to the game! I’m a bit of a sci-fi geek so this is right up my street.

When would you play this game?

Star Fluxx is a very versatile game that is suitable for most occasions. This is partially because of the short play time, but also because the game involves a small deck of cards so it is easily carried around.

Its portability, quick play style and easy set up makes it a great way to get a quick game fix – whether you are at home or out and about.  It’s also a great game for a games night.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you have a whole night playing it… although I’m sure you would have a good evening! I just think that it is best as a filler game – something to play before you get stuck into a longer game.

Playing quick card games like Star Fluxx can be a good strategy at getting your non-gamer friends to get used to playing games. Once they are used to the rapidly changing game style, they will definitely want to play it again. Who knows, after that they may want to join your next games night!

Personally, I feel that this game is very repayable and I’m always happy to give it a play. When I first started playing Star Fluxx I was happy to play it for hours, but now that I’m more familiar with the game I think it’s better to enjoy for a few fun rounds and then move on to a more substantial game.

Is it good value for money?

Definitely! At the time of posting, Star Fluxx is available for less than £15, which is pretty good value for a card game that I know will be a regular on my table.  Since playing it for the first time, it’s racked up some serious table time and the cards aren’t showing any wear and tear. It’s a pretty solid investment!


TL;DR

  • Fun, fast, constantly changing sci-fi card game
  • High quality and humorous illustrations
  • Best for 2 players
  • Good for newbies and gaming pros alike
  • Great value for money
  • Will be played a lot

Final Verdict: BUY IT

 

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