In Fluxx

Imagine this – you’re sitting down playing a card game.  Your turn is next and as you look between the cards in your hand you realize you have The Knights Who Say “Ni!” on the table in front of you and A Shrubbery in your hand.  Your eyes  shift to the goal and you realize as soon as it’s your turn you’ll play A Shrubbery, claim victory and then make the losers go get you something cold to drink from the fridge.

Your anticipation climbs as the person on your right finishes his turn, preparing to put down her last card.  “This is it,” you think to yourself.  “Victory is mine!”

Except it’s not.

Your opponent played a new goal with her final card – and now you need an Unladen Swallow and a Resting Parrot in front of you to win.  Your Knights and Shrubbery are worthless to you … at least for now.

Welcome to Fluxx – one of my absolute favorite games of all time.

The above scene was from Monty Python Fluxx, one of several variations of the game (including Starship Fluxx, Pirate Fluxx, Zombie Fluxx, Oz Fluxx, etc.).  The rules are incredibly simple and anyone can pick it up and play – and win – in just a few minutes.

The premise of the game is extremely simple.  You start off drawing one card and playing one card from your hand.  Pretty simple.  To win you meet the criteria on the “Goal” card that’s currently in play.  If it says “If you have the Milk card and Cookies card in front of you then you win” then you win if you have the Milk card and Cookies card in front of you.

Where it gets entertaining and challenging is by playing various other cards that change the rules or gameplay.  You can change the rules (play “New Rule: Draw 4” and now everybody draws 4 on their turn instead of 1; or play “New Rule: Play All” and everybody has to play all their cards every turn), steal Keepers (like “Milk” and “Cookies” above – the things that enable you to win the game) from other players or even change the goal.

Each Keeper typically has at least two goals it can apply to, so if the goal changes and your Keeper is no longer relevant to winning don’t worry; there’s probably at least one other card in the deck that will make it worth keeping.  And if not – maybe you’ll grab an Action card that lets you steal someone else’s, or find another Goal that matches up better with the Keepers you have.

It’s an easy game to learn and I absolutely love playing every variation of it (regular Fluxx is fun, but I love Monty Python so it’s my favorite).  I’m not kidding – my explanation above is way more complicated than the actual game is (here’s the gameplay rules from the website).  And while there’s a level of strategy involved (when you get to playing multiple cards you can change the game just by the order you play them in) in reality if you can read the cards you can play – I’ve lost numerous times to kids who could barely read.  Everything you need to know is on the cards – no rules to memorize.

The games can last anywhere from 1-30 minutes, depending.  Tonight we played two games – the first lasted exactly one round (the fourth player won the game on their first turn); the second about twenty-five minutes.

I picked Monty Python Fluxx up on for $12 (regular Fluxx was less than $10; the other versions were between $10 and $14), but you can get it at your favorite game/hobby shop (Tabletop Games off 105th and Metcalf is my personal favorite) if you want to play it right now.

Give it a shot – it’s well worth the time and money!

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