10.30.2011

STAR FLUXX

Star Fluxx, the latest in the Fluxx series of card games from Looney Labs, brings the players into the world of science fiction and outer space (not to be confised with Martian Fluxx, which brought alien invaders to Earth). This new game isn't very different from previous versions of Fluxx, but it is pretty fun.

As with previous versions of Fluxx, players begin Star Fluxx with a hand of three cards and the rule of "draw 1, play 1." Players can play several types of cards. Keepers are objects (Robot, Energy Crystals, Alien City) or characters (Captain, Time Traveler, Cute Fuzzy Alien Creature) that stay in front of a player unless stolen or discarded. Goals lead to victory, showing what two Keepers a player needs to have to win. (For example, the goal City of Monsters gives the victory to whoever has the Alien City and Bug-Eyed Monster.) New Rule cards change the basic rules for all players, by doing things like letting players draw more cards and play more cards, or limit how many Keepers or cards players can have. Action cards let a player do something (such as steal a Keeper or draw 3 cards and play 2 of them), and Surprise cards can be played as an Action on your turn, or to counter a card played by an opponent on their turn. There are also those pesky Creepers, cards which (in Star Fluxx) attach themselves to your Keepers and keep you from winning -- unless they're part of the Goal.

There are very few changes in terms of gameplay in Star Fluxx, and anyone who's played a previous incarnation of Fluxx will be able to play this one without glancing at the rules. The main appeal of Star Fluxx is for sci-fi fans. This game has plenty of allusions to science fiction classics, like Star Wars (the Laser Sword, These Aren't the Droids...), Star Trek (the Expendable Crewman -- in red shirt, naturally -- and Energy Crystals), Doctor Who, Forbidden Planet, and even The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Some cards have interesting effects, like the Wormhole (which lets each player draw and play the top card from the deck without looking at it), the Time Portal (which lets you take a card from "the past" (discard deck) or "the future" (draw deck)), and Brain Transference, which makes two players switch seats and take over the other's position in the game! It also happened that in one game the Cute Fuzzy Alien Creature was turned Evil, and next game the critter was infested with Brain Parasites.

"If it works, don't fix it" may be Looney Labs' unofficial motto for the Fluxx games, as they keep the format the same while changing genres with each edition. Star Fluxx is further support for this theory, and while it'll be very familiar if you're played any previous version of Fluxx, it's still pretty fun -- especially if you're a science fiction fan.

Overall grade: B
Reviewed by James Lynch

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