Comparison of cards from English and German versions.
|Age range||8 and up|
|Setup time||1 minute|
|Playing time||20 minutes on average, varying greatly|
Fluxx is a card game, played with a specially designed deck. It is different from most other card games, in that the rules and the conditions for winning are altered throughout the game, via cards played by the players.
Fluxx was created by Andrew Looney and first published by Looney Labs in 1996. The game was successful and was licensed a year later to Iron Crown Enterprises (ICE) for wider distribution. ICE went bankrupt two years later and Looney Labs has resumed publication and distribution. Looney Labs produced a revised version of the original game in 2002. Amigo Spiele, a German game company, licensed a German language version of Fluxx in 2003. Since 2011, the German version is licensed by Pegasus Spiele. Similarly, Hobby Japan licensed a Japanese language version in 2005.
Rules and gameplay
The game starts out with just two basic rules, presented on a card placed in the play area at the start of the game: each player's turn consists of drawing one card from the pack and then playing one card.
In addition to this Basic Rules card, there are five types of cards in the core game: New Rule, Action, Keeper, Creeper, and Goal cards:
- New Rule cards can be played to change the rules or add other rules. Examples are Draw 2, Play 3, Reverse Order or even Inflation (formerly X=X+1), which increases numerals on other cards played (so Draw 2 becomes Draw 3). In versions 2.0 and 2.1 of the game there is also a card Final Card Random. When this rule is in effect, players must allow an adjacent player to choose the last card played on each turn. Since version 3.0, there is a similar card, First Play Random. (Final Card Random is now one of many orderable "promo cards".)
- Action cards, which allow the player to do one-time things like steal cards or eliminate rules. Examples are Draw 2 and use 'em, Jackpot! to draw three cards instantly, Let's Do That Again, allowing the player to search the trash pile and replay a card, and Rules Reset, which removes all new rules in play.
- Keeper cards, which are used to meet the Goals below. Examples are Bread, Dreams, and Peace.
- Creeper cards were included in version 4.0, the Zombie Fluxx, Cthulhu Fluxx, Monty Python Fluxx, Martian Fluxx, Star Fluxx and Stoner Fluxx 2.0 variants, and as certain promotional cards. When a Creeper card is drawn, it is immediately played and a replacement is drawn. Creeper cards don't count towards the per-turn limits. These include assorted zombies in Zombie Fluxx, as well as the promotional Radioactive Potato. Certain cards that were Keepers in previous versions of Fluxx are now Creepers, such as Death and War. Creeper cards prevent the player from winning unless a Goal or New Rule specifically states otherwise. The cards are being phased out of future releases, starting with version 5.0 of the original Fluxx.
- Goal cards, which define what is required to win. Most Goals require pairs of Keeper cards: for example, Appliances requires the Toaster and Television Keepers, and Squishy Chocolate requires Chocolate and The Sun. A few Goals are different: for example All You Need Is Love requires the Love as the player's only Keeper in play, 10 Cards In Hand requires the player's hand to be the largest one and at least 10 cards, and some Goals require specific Creepers. In standard play, only one Goal can be in play at a time (though the New Rule card Double Agenda allows two Goals to be in play at once, with a win being made by satisfying either Goal's requirements).
- Ungoal cards, included in Zombie Fluxx, Martian Fluxx, and Cthulhu Fluxx, define the conditions in which all players lose. Even if the ungoal is met, it is still possible to have a winner, either by playing a certain surprise card, or if a meta rule card is being used.
- Surprise cards, included in Pirate Fluxx, Star Fluxx, and Cthulhu Fluxx, are cards that can be played out of turn and cancel one of the four basic rules (New Rule, Keeper, Action, or Goal). They can prevent the opposing person from winning automatically.
- Meta rule cards, included in version 4.0, Martian Fluxx, and Cthulhu Fluxx are a hybrid between a New Rule card and a Basic Rules card, as these cards both define rules in the game but are permanent and apply throughout the entire game. The company compares Meta cards to "house rules". Their playing is agreed upon by all players before the game starts and last until it ends.
Fluxx Blanxx are semi-blank cards used to create custom cards to change gameplay further, and are sold in packs of five. Older Fluxx Blanxx booster packs included one booster card for Chrononauts (titled Beatles Reunion Album), a cover card, and a "microcatalog" card advertising other Looney Labs products. Current packs include only the cover card, but also include a new Creeper blank card in addition to one each of the other four card types.
The most recent edition of Fluxx, version 5.0, contains 100 cards (the same as 4.0, but with different distributions), as compared to 84 cards in version 3.1 and 81 in the promotional deck.
Several expansions have been produced, including:
- Flowers and Fluxx (a gift set with a "bouquet" of six plush "Happy Flowers", a Fluxx 3.0 deck and an exclusive "Flowers" promo Keeper card)
- Fluxx Blanxx, a set of blank cards for creating one's own custom additions (see above).
- Jewish Fluxx Expansion Cards (a 7-card set adding Judaica elements to the gameplay, such as the Torah and Candles)
- Christian Fluxx Expansion Cards (a 7-card set adding Christian elements to gameplay such as the Holy Bible and The Cross)
- Castle Expansion Cards (a 7-card set for Monty Python Fluxx adding elements mostly centered around the Castle of the French Persons)
- 7 Cards From the Future Expansion Cards (a 7-card set for Regular Show Fluxx, including the future "Mordecai and the Rigbys" versions of Mordecai and Rigby, plus related new goals, rules & action cards)
- Fluxx 0.5 (prototype)
- Fluxx 1.0 (first released version; monochrome, poker-sized cards)
- Fluxx 2.0 (new card layout, use of color, bridge-sized cards)
- Fluxx 2.1 (reprint of 2.0 with minor changes)
- Fluxx 3.0 (many cards removed and added, to improve balance)
- Fluxx 3.1 (two cards removed, one card added)
- Fluxx 4.0 (card number increased to 100, all color, introduction of Meta rule and creepers)
- Fluxx 5.0 (removal of all creepers and several other cards, 17 total, replaced by new Goals, Actions, and New Rules cards)
- Fluxx "Mass Market" (a Target Stores exclusive "basic entry" version of the game, with simplified rules and exclusive cards)
There are also versions of Fluxx that have been released using entirely different sets of cards while playing by the same style of rules.
- Stoner Fluxx v2.0, re-released November 13, 2009.
- EcoFluxx v2.0 adapts the game to ecological concerns.
- Family Fluxx, initially solicited as Fluxx Jr., is a full-color "family friendly" edition; currently out of print.
- Zombie Fluxx v1.1 adapts the game to a zombie theme; introduces "Creeper" cards. Art by Derek Ring.
- Monty Python Fluxx, released October 2008; mostly themed after Monty Python and the Holy Grail, with selected elements from the Monty Python's Flying Circus TV series and other Monty Python projects.
- Martian Fluxx, released September 2009; currently out of print.
- Pirate Fluxx, released February 2011.
- Star Fluxx, released September 30, 2011.
- Oz Fluxx, released March 23, 2012.
- Cthulhu Fluxx, released August 24, 2012.
- Fluxx the Boardgame, released Summer 2013.
- Monster Fluxx, released Fall 2013; also a Target Stores exclusive.
- Regular Show Fluxx, released July 25, 2014.
- Cartoon Network Fluxx, released August 2014; also a Target Stores exclusive.
- Holiday Fluxx, released October 3, 2014.
EcoFluxx, Family Fluxx, Zombie Fluxx, Monty Python Fluxx, Martian Fluxx, Pirate Fluxx, and Star Fluxx can be combined with each other or any of the 2.x editions onwards of regular Fluxx to make a "Mega-Fluxx" game (as all these versions have the same card back style).
Stoner Fluxx was originally produced in 2003 and had the same rules as the original but with a marijuana-based theme. The original edition's card backs displayed a Stoner Fluxx logo instead of the standard Fluxx logo, to differentiate it from the rest of the Fluxx variants. The company donates a portion of the sales to groups advocating marijuana legalization, almost $15,000 to date. Even though there was no significant controversy over the game, the company decided on some changes for the release of the game's second printing.
In 2009, Stoner Fluxx was updated and reprinted, featuring standard Fluxx card backs, several additional cards, and all new color artwork. It was released under a new imprint for adult games called Fully Baked Ideas, which was launched to fully separate the marketing efforts for Stoner Fluxx and other future "adult-themed" games from the rest of the Looney Labs product line. Fully Baked Ideas had planned to release another Fluxx variant titled Drinking Fluxx, but as of February 2010, the game had been cancelled.
- Fluxx Español (Spanish Language edition with some new Hispanic-centric cards)
- German Fluxx
- Japanese Fluxx
- Dutch Fluxx
German, Dutch and Japanese Fluxx contain new art and graphic designs (but identical gameplay). The German version has the same card mix as Fluxx 4.0. The Dutch version is based on Fluxx 3.0, plus the "Hide Keepers"-related cards from Fluxx 2.0. The Japanese version has the same card mix as Fluxx 3.1, plus the "Go Fish" card from Fluxx 3.0.
Looney Labs gives away promotional cards related to Fluxx at conventions such as Gen Con and Origins. They have given away cards such as Composting and Jackpot, which later appeared in EcoFluxx and Family Fluxx respectively. They have also given away promo cards for Christmas to members of their online mailing list and in High Times magazine. Game Technicians (previously known as Mad Lab Rabbits), voluntary scouts for Looney Labs, give away promo cards to people interested in the game.
In addition, there are certain cards that can only be obtained by purchasing other items, such as the above-mentioned "Flowers" card in the Fluxx & Flowers set, or the "Pandora's Box" card available with the Pandora's Fluxx Boxx card storage cases. (Fluxx & Flowers and Pandora's Box are now out of print.)
Recently, Looney Labs has made many of these promotional and exclusive cards available for individual sale, where they aren't out of print. The list of available and out of print cards can be found at their web site.
An Andy Looney Keeper is available from Andy Looney and is valid only if signed (by Andy). This card can be used as The Brain Keeper.
Fluxx was available to play for free via the volity network and was also available to be played online via the CCG Workshop, using the gatlingEngine to adjudicate most of its rules automatically. However, both Volity.net and CCG Workshop are no longer operating.
In December 2012, Fluxx was released by Playdek as an app on iOS operating systems (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple TV) by purchasing it from the Apple App Store. It uses the "mass market" deck developed for Target Stores, removing some of the more esoteric themes (such as Cthulhu) and complex rule cards.
Rick Loomis comments: "Fluxx makes a good game for a group that has one of those annoying "I-must-win-every-game" types. The rest of you can enjoy yourselves as the game spins out of his control (as it surely will) and perhaps he'll eventually learn to lose gracefully. Meanwhile, Fluxx will be busily exercising everyone's logic synapses as you attempt to deal with the chaotic situations that occur because of the cheerful clash of rules."
- "The Official Guide to Looney Labs Promo Cards". Wunderland.com. Retrieved 2010-03-22.
- "Notes From The Lab". LooneyLabs.com. 2011-01-25. Retrieved 2011-04-28.
- "The Wunderland Bi-Weekly News for 8/28/8". Wunderland.com. 2008-08-28. Retrieved 2010-03-22.
- "Information for Retailers". Fully-baked-ideas.com. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
- "The Wunderland Bi-Weekly News for 5/1/8". Wunderland.com. 2008-05-01. Retrieved 2010-03-22.
- "Welcome to Looney Labs!". Looneylabs.com. Retrieved 2010-03-22.
- "Pirate Fluxx". Looneylabs.com. Retrieved 2011-02-07.
- "Star Fluxx". Looneylabs.com. Retrieved 2011-09-30.
- "Oz Fluxx". Looneylabs.com. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
- "Fluxx: the Board Game page".
- http://www.looneylabs.com/regular-show-fluxx-product-announcement. Missing or empty
- "Boardgamegeek.com". Boardgamegeek.com. 2010-01-16. Retrieved 2013-07-17.
- AndrewLooney. "Andrew Looney's Twitter post on Drinking Fluxx's cancellation". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2010-03-22.
- Volity.net[dead link]
- Google.com[dead link]
- Brown, Sophie (2013-03-28). "Fluxx App Could Do Better | GeekMom". Wired.com. Retrieved 2013-07-17.
- Loomis, Rick (2007). "Fluxx". In Lowder, James. Hobby Games: The 100 Best. Green Ronin Publishing. pp. 116–118. ISBN 978-1-932442-96-0.