"Christmas time is here
Happiness and cheer
Fun for all that children call
Their favorite time of the year"
- It's a Charlie Brown Christmas
Today Jeremiah is taking a look at one of the newest variations in the Fluxx universe: Holiday Fluxx! And since the holiday season is barreling at us full steam ahead, let's jump in!
Unless you've been living under a rock I'm guessing you know the general gameplay of Fluxx, but in case you don't here's the elevator pitch version of the rules:
Players get dealt three cards to start the game with, and the "Basic Rules" card is placed next to the draw pile. The basic rules are: Draw one card, play one card. That's it. You can't yet win the game because there are no goals in play, but as you play goals, actions, keepers etc. the game will unfold and take shape, although it is in a constant state of... Fluxx.
So what makes Holiday Fluxx so different than regular Fluxx? and is it worth adding to your Fluxx arsenal? Those are two very excellent questions that I'll answer right now.
Let's talk about what makes this unique in the Fluxx universe first...
Like any themed version of Fluxx the theme shows up most noticeably in the Keepers and Goals. Now, keep in mind this is Holiday Fluxx, so it includes MANY holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, even a little bit of Kwanzaa mixed in there, as well as New Years. So you have fun and festive Keepers like: The Gift, Wreath, LIghts, Menorah, Music, Santa Claus, Pumpkins, Dreidel, Calendar, and more.
As with all of the Fluxx games there is a fun artistic rendering on each Keeper and the cards are bright and somewhat nostalgic.
Some of the goals are really fun combos of the Keepers: The Stockings were Hung, Thanksgiving, Festival of Lights, Advent Wreath, Halloween Night, and so on. All of which are clever combinations of Keepers in the deck.
Unlike most Fluxx decks, most of the Goals are simply a combination of 2 Keepers; some have a few options such as Trim the Tree which is The Pine Tree and either Lights or Ornaments. So most of the Goals are pretty straightforward and easy to track.
There are also a good amount of theme-specific New Rule cards and Action cards, like Xmas Bonus that let's you draw and play an extra card if you are playing ON Christmas day--or have Santa on the table--or Open a Gift, which lets you draw and play a card immediately if The Gift Keeper is on the table. There are some fun Actions, too, such as Gift Give-Away and Today's Special, as well as a few Surprise Cards--some of the newest types of cards in the Fluxx universe. You'll also notice there are no Creepers in the deck!
I really like how the theme spills into the Goal and Action cards. This definitely makes the whole game feel more like the theme. Looney Labs also hopes for you to be playing this one on the holidays with family with the New Rule card Xmas Bonus, but it's been mitigated so the card isn't worthless if you're playing it in mid-September!
So as the game plays out, someone will win by fulfilling a goal--or someone will be forced to play a card that allows someone else to win. And the game ends!
My gaming group and I were very excited about this version of Fluxx; we enjoy Fluxx and its random zaniness, and we also love the holiday season, so this was a great match for us. The deck seems like it's a little more of a basic version of the game than some of the others that are out there. The Goals are all very straightforward and basic, and there are no Creepers in the deck to get things confused. If you write to Looney Labs they will send you a promo pack of cards that has a Fruitcake Creeper card in it, but I would have loved to see a Krampus Creeper in the game as well!!
Andy Looney keeps churning out new themed decks for the Fluxx universe and has a real knack for deeply entwining the theme into the game mechanics. Every time I play a new version of Fluxx it's like walking into a new adventure with an old friend. If you're a fan of Fluxx and the Holidays, you should definitely grab a copy of Holiday Fluxx to play with your friends and family over these next few weeks--or pick up a copy for that gamer on your Christmas list!
Theology of Games would like to thank Looney Labs for providing a review copy of Holiday Fluxx. This in no way affected Jeremiah's opinion.
Stay tuned for reviews of Cartoon Network Fluxx, and Fluxx 5.0!