FLUXX Critical Play


I can’t say I’ve ever played a card game like this before. At a glance the rules are simple “draw a card play a card”. However, when you start playing, you quickly realize that each card can impact the rules and flow of play in surprising ways. Before I knew it, I was drawing multiple cards, discarding cards, playing rock paper scissors against my opponent, and then being told I lost after a confusing blur of events. That was my first three games online. 

However, once I got used to the game, I started to see a pattern. Goal cards (red) are what controlled who won or lost the game, playing one set the win condition but if a player played another goal card, it would overwrite the previous. Players would save their goal cards until they met the condition on it and then play it at the end so that they won before I had a chance to change it. Keeper cards (green) were primarily used to meet win conditions. I started trying to think of which ways to combine keeper and goal cards to win as fast as possible. Then there were the rule cards (yellow) which made (and still makes) the games I played utter chaos. I got the hang of it after a while but each rule card changes how each turn is played so in the beginning, you’re constantly having to read this tiny text on these little cards to understand whats happening (and in the online version theres a timer!). 

That said, I thought the game was fun in a random chaotic sort of way. With ever changing rules and win conditions, the game never feels predictable and I imagine has incredible replay value. That said, changing rules and goals still has to follow the structure of playing cards in the familiar card game format (I have a hand of cards, I play some cards, I discard, etc). Overall, I thought it was a refreshing new way to play a card game and once I got used to the rules, surprisingly fun and entertaining! 

Formal Elements 


FLUXX is a 2-6 player game where all players compete against each other to be the winner. 


In this game, all players race to complete an objective. Any player can play a goal card which will describe a win-condition that any player can meet. Players can change the win-condition by playing a different goal card which changes the goal. 


In FLUXX, every player takes a turn in some order until a player wins. During their turn, in the beginning of the game, each player must draw a card and play a card. However, as the game progresses, these rules can change requiring players to draw and play different number of cards or complete additional steps depending on which rule cards have been played. 


In FLUXX players are only allowed to draw and play cards on their turn, as far as I know at least. Players must follow the instructions on all active rule cards and can only win by meeting the goals on the goal cards. In addition, when contradicting, new rule cards replace old rule cards and new goal cards replace old goal cards. If players play keeper cards, they get to keep those cards until the end of the game (unless a rule card states otherwise). (Keeper cards are often required to meet the win-condition on the goal cards). 


In this game player resources are their cards and their turns. In particular, keeper cards are an important resource as, when played, they last until the end of the game (unless a rule card changes this) and a single keeper card has the potential to help meet multiple goal card win-conditions. In other words, the more keeper cards played, the easier it is to win. 


The conflict in this game is based around trying to play cards to create a set of rules and goals that are favorable to the player. As the player trying to win, you’d likely want to have rules and goal cards that allow you to win or gather resources without allowing that for other players. The other players, on the other hand, can interfere with your plans by changing rules in ways that create obstacles for you or changing the goal cards (the win condition) to goals that are out of your reach. 


To me, the boundaries of this game are the physical table or digital medium where all the cards exist and perhaps the mental boundaries of play that come if people are playing FLUXX in a way that promotes role-play. (There are themed versions of the game with rules that involve acting like a pirate and etc). 


At the end of the game, one player wins and the rest lose but hopefully everyone had fun. In terms of aesthetics, I think this game lends itself towards creating fun associated with fellowship and challenge and perhaps expression and fantasy for the themed more role-play friendly versions of the game. 

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