So, how do you feel about rules? Ya know, those things that guide pretty much everything and are all but crucial in most games/rpgs? (Save, of course, for the OSR. But even then it has rules...) Personally, I like them, except when I don't. Now, I am intentionally being somewhat vague here, but I've basically described the confusion that is caused by a game of Fluxx, or more specifically the variant I've played, Zombie Fluxx by Looney Labs.
So my intentional vagueness and rules confusion shouldn't be seen as a negative here, this is a design decision in the game itself. And it's great! Essentially the premise is that you and your buddies sit around a table and play a card game. Wait, wait for it. The card game itself has the standard rules as you go in, like only draw 1 card on your turn and only play 1 card. These rules can be altered by other rules cards that you place on the table that trump others. So you can have a "draw 5 cards, play all" set of rules on the table and play one hell of a game that is hard to win.
So, how do you win, is probably what you are asking at this point? And it's a good question. Every game has a singular, mutable goal (much like rules cards, you too can alter the goal for the game) that every player tries to reach. Most goals have set winning conditions where you must have certain cards, or Keepers in this case, equipped to your person. These Keepers can be stolen by your buddies, discarded, etc. Most goals are thematic and in this case are trying to survive the zombie apocalypse, fitting right? For example: Have a can of gasoline and a car. Or, Have the baseball bat and no zombies.
Wait, what's that? Zombies? Yeah, zombies. In Zombie Fluxx there are cards that are pretty much the opposite of the helpful Keepers (like the car, gasoline, a chainsaw, zombie repellent, etc.) known as Creepers. Creepers, quite plainly, are zombies of varying annoyingness that can be accidentally drawn from the deck or handed out by your buddies in an attempt to screw you over. Much like the various iterations of Munchkin, you are out for yourself and your friends be damned! There is one such Goal card where everyone loses if everyone has zombies. It's annoying, sure, but it's quite fun too after a long and back-stabby game.
It will take a session or two, much like the aforementioned Munchkin, to really get the gist of what's going on, and that's great. Be prepared to be slightly confused by every changing rules but learn to embrace it, because once you do, it's great! Fluxx comes in a lot of different varieties such as Monty Python, Pirate, regular, and more. Looney Labs also has a number of other card games that look particularly interesting, but sadly I've yet to have a chance to check them out. Personally, I'm interested in Chrononauts, Back to the Future, and Are You the Traitor? If anyone has had any experience with these other LL games, feel free to chime in below on the comments or via email, I'd love to hear what y'all think!
Until next time,
Also, be sure to check out the exciting developments over at Legend4ry!