I love Fluxx but anyone who knows me knows that I am biased. I worked for Looney Labs for the past 3 years, so until September Fluxx was a big part of my life because it’s a big part of the Looney Labs product line. Fluxx was designed by my friend, Andy Looney, almost 20 years ago and now comes in many shapes & flavors in addition to his design: Star Fluxx for the sci-fi fans; Zombie & Cthulhu Fluxx for the people that gobble up anything with zombies or Lovecraft; Holiday Fluxx for determining if your family really loves each other; and more recently Batman and Adventure Time Fluxx! I’m also fortunate enough to have played most of Andy’s unpublished Fluxx prototypes - Math Fluxx is way more fun that it might sound, especially if you geek out over numbers like I do.
The first time I played Fluxx was rather dizzying. Kristin, Looney Labs' CEO & Andy's wife, coached the table of new players but it took a few hands before the hilarious chaos really sunk in. The winning conditions of Fluxx are simple - usually to collect two keeper cards that match the goal card that is in play. What happens between the default “draw one, play one” rules that mark the beginning of the game and one player satisfying the goal card is anyone’s guess, or what I like to call controlled chaos. You might talk like a pirate to draw an extra card on your turn, you might dig through the discard pile to find the action card that lets you steal another player’s keeper, or someone might play a hand limit that makes you discard everything but one card when you’re holding the keepers that would let you win on your very next turn.
Some people say that there is no strategy to Fluxx, that it’s too random, that winning is dependent on the cards you draw, which vary wildly, as does the length of the game. It’s true that the goal of the game is incredibly simple - it’s like playing Go Fish for matches, but that is exactly what I find appealing. It’s very simple to teach to non-gamers and it's obvious what it takes to win but the combination of that simplicity and the fun of using the cards you have to prolong your turn keep and digging for what you need to win happens in a way that anyone can pick up and learn. You don’t need to understand anything about gaming, you just have to be able to read the cards to play, which makes it a great introduction to more complicated card games.
I’m very grateful to Kristin & Andy for letting me work with them on Fluxx over the past few years. I’ve been able to be a part of working with many talented artists (Ian McGinty, Adam Levermore, Brooke Allen, Derek Ring, Eileen Tjan), deciding which games go to print but the most fun I’ve had with Fluxx is seeing how many people LOVE it. People that play it during hospital stays, during camping events, waiting in line at conventions and with their loved ones at parties. It really hit me one day what a phenomenon Fluxx had become when a little girl came to a local gaming event and brought a Fluxx deck she had designed - Dog Fluxx - complete with chocolate, squirrel & veterinarian creepers. She had been playing with her parents since she began to read. It’s such a fun platform for any theme and I feel super lucky to have been a part of it. And I can’t wait to see the super shiny Firefly Fluxx come out early next year!