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Fluxx Card Game (version 3.1) and Christian Expansion Pack Review by Donna Campos

Designed by Andrew Looney
Looney Labs
PO Box 761
College Park, MD 20741

Fluxx is a card game with rules that are constantly fluctuating. The deck includes instructions and 84 playing cards. The Christian expansion pack adds seven cards. It is designed for two to six players; and, according to the box, it is for ages 8 to 108. One game will take from two to thirty minutes, depending on how play unfolds. The game does not need any additional materials, such as dice or a spinner, but various expansion packs are available to add new ideas or themes to the game. Fluxx was not designed specifically for homeschool use, but the thinking process is definitely involved.

Fluxx is designed for multi-age groups and family play and will benefit those who enjoy a challenge and can truly pay attention during a game. There are four types of cards: New Rules, Keepers, Actions, and Goals. The game begins with a set of Basic Rules that specify dealing three cards to each player and laying the Basic Rules card face up on the table alongside a draw pile and a space for a discard pile. The initial rules are simple enough: draw one card and play one card. One turn could consist of drawing a card(s), placing a Keeper card down on the table in front of you, placing a Goal card in the specified goal position to make an initial goal or change the existing goal, playing an Action card, and/or discarding a card. As play continues, the goal and rules of the game can change with any player's turn and the goal can be reached instantly if a player changes the goal to his own or another's advantage. Play is continuous until the current goal is reached. If you play long enough that all the cards in the draw pile have been drawn, simply shuffle the discard pile to make a new draw pile and continue playing. This game is not for the easily distracted or for those who may become stressed or overwhelmed over changing rules. Things can change very quickly.

Our family loves games, particularly the standard favorites of Uno and Phase 10. Fluxx brings a new twist by constantly changing the goal of the game or adding to it, making it more difficult (or, interestingly enough, easier) to achieve. A player may draw a card that requires players to exchange hands, draw a specific number of cards, or dispose of all of a specific type of card in their hand in one play, and those are just some of the options! Action cards keep the game moving by changing and rearranging the actual cards in play, while Keeper and Goal cards continuously have players focusing on which cards to hold and which cards to discard. The New Rule cards simply throw another curve into the game by consistently placing every player's hand into a state of fluctuation throughout the game. Listing the possibilities makes the game sound mind boggling, and it is admittedly difficult to really get into at first. But once you begin to understand the process, this game is quite a bit of fun. If your family includes debaters, be aware that the rules can be just vague enough to instigate grand discussions about exactly what the goal of the game is at any given point! If you're looking for a game to involve teens and really get them communicating about game play, this could be it!

The Christian expansion pack added "The Bible" and "The Cross" as Keeper cards and "Jesus Loves You," "Church Time," and "The Story of Jesus" as Goal cards. "Cross Bonus" is a New Rule card, and the very encouraging "Bible Verses" Action card instructs a player to quote a memorized verse. The expansion packs are an easy way for a family to adjust a Fluxx deck to suit their own tastes and to keep things interesting.

The game lists the minimum age as eight, but many 8-year-olds would struggle to adequately play this game. Our 8-year-old is unable to play this version, but there is a family version available that includes fewer cards and may be more easily understood by younger players.

If there are any cards that your family deems questionable or otherwise undesirable, simply take them out. Cards that we removed included the "Death" card, "Jackpot," "Hippyism," and "Winning the Lottery."

Fluxx will certainly bring players around the family table for play and discussion. We will continue to play Fluxx and will very likely be purchasing additional expansion packs to keep play interesting in the long term. We found it most enjoyable with our teenagers and other adults, and we encourage others to wade through the instructions and take the time to get used to the process of playing. Once you give this game a chance, its inherent fluctuation will keep you playing Fluxx!

Product review by Donna Campos, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September 2007