Fluxx is a polarising game. Some people hate it, others love it. Where do I fall on that scale? I love it, a lot. It’s absolutely my favourite filler game, and I often play it on its own for quite a long time. With its ever-changing rules and many different themed decks it is a game I doubt I will ever tire of. The latest Fluxx edition, released just a week and a half ago, is Firefly Fluxx. Now, I said that Fluxx is my favourite filler game, and Firefly, well that one of my favourite tv shows of all time. So when I saw that there would be a combination of the two I was ecstatic. And here it finally is. So put on your cunning hat and fire up those engines, because we aim to misbehave!
First of all: this won’t be a presentation of the general gameplay, but strictly a review of this particular edition of Fluxx. My first post on this blog was actually about Fluxx and I urge you to check that out before this one if you’re unfamiliar with the basics of the game. But as a quick refresher: the game is a simple draw a card – play a card game. You collect Keepers to fulfil Goals. The fun lies in that Rules and Goals change all the time, and people will steal your Keepers if you don’t stop them. It’s great fun.
So, Firefly Fluxx… how does it differ from the other editions out there? First of all I must hedge and say that I have not played every version of Fluxx. I haven’t even played half of them. But I think I have a good sense of some of the differences you can come across.
I don’t want to show you all the cards but of course I have to reveal some of them. When I first heard of the game I immediately wondered who/what they would use as Creepers. Reavers felt obvious, as did The Alliance. But would there be Hands of Blue? Would Badger be a Creeper or Keeper? What about Blue Sun? In the end I was quite disappointed. First of all I had really hoped for more of them, as in the end there was only two. I suppose the closest relative among the Fluxxes is Star Fluxx (it even has a Kaylee inspired card) which only comes with three Creepers. That’s quite alright since they have some special abilities, but I’ve gotten used to the insanity that is Cthulhu Fluxx with a staggering amount of Creepers that are very disruptive (unlike for example Zombie Fluxx where the Creepers are rather useful). The two Creepers in Firefly Fluxx are Reavers and the Hands of Blue. You can get The Alliance as a promo card, but really, it should have been included. There are such great badguys in Firefly – why not use them?
As with all Fluxx games that have a pop-culture theme, you get plenty of references and in-jokes than only fans will get. Of course Firefly Fluxx is no different. We have our regular crew as Keepers, along with Serenity of course and some different items. Several of the crew members can steal other crew members, such as Simon being able to get River, or Zoe being able to get Wash. It makes total sense when you know the relationship between characters. The wording for some Rules and Actions reference the show, and of course all the combinations and titles of goals are firmly anchored in the ‘verse we love.
Some Rules and Actions I haven’t seen before have also been added to the game (but might very well exist in versions I haven’t tried). Such as a Rule that lets you always steal a Keeper from another player, one that turns any action from the discard pile into a rule (or rather a free action you can take on your turn), or an action that blocks an opponent from doing anything except draw cards for an entire round. I find most of these additions to be quite fun I must say.
A lot of the Keeper powers can be chained in this game. One Keeper lets you steal another Keeper which lets you steal another, and so on. I play Fluxx a lot with a friend of mine and at some point early on we established a house rule (cause there’s nothing about it in the actual rules): a Keeper you put down at the end of your turn does cannot be used until your next turn. The same goes for Rules being put down as the result of an action card played at the end of your turn. We’ve found that it makes the game a little bit harder but at the same time more contained and requiring some more (or rather longer) strategy. I have a feeling those house rules will be very good for this game as it is set up for really long chains of game actions that keeps one player doing stuff for a long time while the others just look on. We might even change it to that a Keeper will not have active powers until your next turn, no matter when you played it during your turn (if there’s rule letting you play more than one card). But of course this is all up to you. Do you use house rules for Fluxx?
Overall it’s an alright edition of Fluxx. But I had hoped for something more. There are no fun new things like ways Creepers attach to Keepers, or something akin to the doom points in Cthulhu Fluxx. I just wanted something new at a more fundamental level. Not just some new Rules or Actions I haven’t seen before. It feels like a rather basic version of the game with some new paint and some extra chaotic rules. When discussing this with the friend I first played the game with he suggested Reavers killing two Keepers or something like that when put into play. Now that would’ve been a fun twist! Or having the Blue Sun logo show up on only some Keepers (instead of as default decoration) which then tied to Rules or Actions.
Speaking of paint – the art. Yeah, I don’t like the illustrations at all. Fluxx isn’t exactly a game that generally has good art but some decks are better than others, and this is not a good one. However, the design of the cards when disregarding the illustrations is actually rather nice. They have an aged look to them rather than being stark white, while also having a bit of a sci fi touch. Normally, all Fluxx games have the same card-backs so you could technically add a fun Rule or Surprise from another game to spice things up. Firefly Fluxx has some copyright text on the back that makes it pretty obvious when it shows up if you add it to another deck. I’m guessing the other licensed editions have the same. And I must say that I do appreciate that they made the title on the box shiny!
I mean, it’s a good enough game. I’m sure I’ll play it a lot with likeminded friends. If you like Fluxx and you like Firefly this is still a no brainer – get it. If you’re a fellow browncoat but you have never tried Fluxx before – sure, give it a go! Like I said before it’s a pretty easy version of Fluxx and it’s always nice to have themed games (that aren’t crazy big as most tv-show themed ones). While I would’ve wished for some kind of additional aspect to the game, the lack of it makes it a decent introduction for people who haven’t played Fluxx before. There is some added chaos stemming from new Rule cards, but it’s easy to keep track of as the Rules are in the middle of the table and for everyone. There’s not as much to keep in your head while trying to strategise compared to some others. And you can always remove some of the Rules if you deem them too much for the group of players you’re introducing it to. It should even be fine playing with people who haven’t seen Firefly. Sure, they will not get the connections between cards or why something as simple as a strawberry is part of a sci fi game, but they can play it as simply a game with characters in it. After all, I love Cthulhu Fluxx and I have only read one or two of Lovecraft’s short stories. I don’t get the connections at all, but I still play the game a lot.
So in the end I am slightly disappointed, but I definitely won’t throw it away. I think I might even start using it as a teaching deck if I am introducing geeks to the world of Fluxx.
- Title: Firefly Fluxx
- Designer: Andrew Looney
- Publisher: Looney Labs
- Players: 2-6
- Time: 10-40 min (usually quite quick)
- Type: cards
- Size: small
- Release year: 2016