We’ve always been a tabletop gaming family, as well as Halloween enthusiasts, so when Looney Labs announced, Monster Fluxx, its latest variation of its wildly popular card game Fluxx, we couldn’t wait to give it try.
Let me start by saying that Monster Fluxx is an interesting game that is fun to play, but it is also confusing to play. The only reason I was able to figure out the twists and turns it contains was, because I have played the IOS version of Fluxx.
For those who have no idea what Fluxx is about, here is an abridged explanation. You draw a card and you play a card. Sounds simple enough. But then you add new rule cards that quickly muddy the waters. Before too long you have three or four new rule cards that have you now drawing four cards or two cards and playing two cards or all but one of your cards you just drew, among other things.
This is where the IOS version was so nice, because it keeps track of all of these rule changes. Then you also play action cards that throw a little more confusion into the game. The goal cards and the keeper cards were pretty easy to follow. A goal card stipulates what keeper card combination you need to win. The only problem, goals change constantly and those pesky action cards might force you to get rid of a keeper card or two. While it seems that all of those changes should drag the game down, it moves surprisingly fast. A game can last 20 to 30 minutes. But if you get the right keepers and the right goal card you can win in much less time.
The Monster Fluxx version has cool artwork and the goal combinations were well thought out. My daughter and I enjoyed the shout-out to a certain cartoon dog and his meddling friends.
While I had a little trouble keeping up with the constant changes in the game, once we figured out the flow of the game it was all good. Kids today would probably have no problem figuring out the game from the get go, so just get their help when trying out a hand of Fluxx. You won’t be disappointed.
The best thing from a mom’s point-of-view is the compactness and portability of this and all the Fluxx games. I can keep these in the kitchen drawer for easy access on game nights or toss it in my travel bag for overnight road trips. I’m forever looking for ways to avoid the television during hotel stays, and games like these are perfect pre-bed family activities.
This variation, featuring artwork of “premier monster artist,” Derek Ring, features many of the favorite mainstays of the monster genre, including the classic mad scientist and creature, and vampires, zombies, ghosts, teenage detectives, and a one-eyed moon man.
The basic starting premise, as with most Fluxx games, is simple: draw a card/play a card per turn. However, that simplicity gets laid to waste once the first card is played, and, thanks to the use of new rules and ever-changing goals, Monster Fluxx goes off in more directions than a confetti canon.
This frenetic quality caused the biggest points of frustration regarding the game, but also created some of the most fun moments. This is not a game for the easily distracted, as close attention must be paid to ensure you don’t get utterly, completely and devastatingly lost (like I admittedly did a time or two). There were also a few times when we weren’t entirely sure we were playing correctly. This was part of the beauty of the game, as it made for some big laughs and silly conversation; one of our main reasons for enjoying these types of games.
Patience is a key to getting the most out of this one as a family. Some younger players might need a few go-rounds before they catch on, while others who enjoy role-playing card games like Pokémon or Magic: The Gathering might find this a snap.
One thing for sure, it won’t be the same game twice; and certainly never a dull moment for any player.
Minion’s view (by Molly, age 11):
I enjoyed the game, once I figured out the basic rules. What I really liked was the way the rules kept changing, as it reminded me of “Calvin Ball” from the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip: nothing ever stayed the same so it never got boring. I had a very fun time playing it.
Monster Fluxx is intended for 2 to 6 players, age 8 and older. Looney Labs also has several varieties of Fluxx (Pirate Fluxx, Monty Python Fluxx) including the original, which is also available on the IOS for $2.99. All play the same but have different goals and keepers. Learn more at looneylabs.com.
Keep Playing: Three other haunting, portable tabletop games families can enjoy together:
• Zombie Fluxx. Another variation of the Fluxx card series, this one takes a more zombie-centric focus, in which players try to prevent a zombie apocalypse…and that is always fun. Ages 8 and older; looneylabs.com.
• Zombie Dice. Taking an opposite direction as Zombie Fluxx, this easy-to-learn dice game from Steven Jackson Games allows players to be the wandering undead trying to collect brains and avoid getting shot. No ages listed, but ages 7 and older could easily play: sjgames.com.
• Killer Bunnies and the Quest of the Magic Carrot. This Playroom Entertainment game sets players against each other on a bunny-eat-bunny quest to keep their own bunnies alive while destroying those of their opponents. Plus, we highly suspect this might be the inspiration for the “Enchanted Bunny” and “Carrot of Power” cards from the Big Bang Theory gang’s favorite card game, “Mystic Warlords of Ka’a.” Ages 12 and older: killerbunnies.com.