Holiday Fluxx--A Review

Holiday Fluxx--A Review

"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!

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Breaking News: New Doubleclicks, and Fluxx!

Breaking News: New Doubleclicks, and Fluxx!

Well, things have been a little, ok a lot crazy around here for the past few weeks. I (Jeremiah) had an emergency appendectomy, and spent the better part of about 7-10 on the couch -I don't really remember how long it was... And Scott has spent the last several days out of town. But amidst all of the craziness, we got a spiffy little email from our friends over at Looney Labs sharing with us some cool news!

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Loonacy from Looney Labs- A Review

Loonacy from Looney Labs- A Review

Loonacy is a fast-paced, matching, party-ish game from those loonatics over at Looney Labs. You know the ones I'm talking about--the folks who brought us Fluxx, Fluxx the Board Game, and a bunch of other wacky games they claim you can teach in one sentence. So what's so loony about Loonacy? Can you teach the game in one, single, solitary, individual sentence? Only one way to find out...

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A Double-Take Video Review of Fluxx: The Board Game

Sure, you already read our review  of Fluxx: The Board Game from last week. But that wasn't all we had to say about the game! (Okay, it was almost everything, but still... Video!) Watch Firestone be slightly less grumpy about a game! See Jeremiah do a terrific Pac-Man impression!  

Thanks for watching and reading, and please let us know how we're doing. If we can improve on something, we want to hear it!


Fluxx: The Board Game - So Who Won?

20130810-214738.jpgWe have been extremely happy to host a number of contests over the past 6 weeks or so. And they just keep getting better, and better.We're humbled to be able to partner with such great folks in the industry to bring these to you, and most recently we've joined forces with the great folks at Looney Labs to give away a copy of the very newly released Fluxx: The Board Game! So who won? Read on!

We reached 89 subscribers so we randomly generated a number between 1-89 which came up as 4 and I (Jeremiah) loaded up our subscriber list on my iPhone and counted to the fourth name. And the winner is!!???

Matt Ouellette!

A big congrats to Matt!

We'd also like to thank Looney Labs for providing us with this copy of Fluxx: The Board Game to give away!

Didn't win this time? That's ok, because in just a few days we'll be giving away yet another game! Yep, that's right we have another contest coming your way, really, REALLY soon! So be sure to subscribe to the blog, and our YouTube channel and all of our other social media pages to find out how you can win!

Fluxx: The Board Game—A Double-Take Review

We adore chaos because we love to produce order." ~M.C. Escher Looney Labs has turned their hit card game into a board game. Is it as chaotic as the card game? Is it completely different? Will Firestone actually like this game?! Let's find out!

The Basics

Fluxx: The Board Game is for 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, and takes 15-30 minutes to play.

The Components

12 wooden playing pieces in four different colors: 3 yellow cubes, 3 green cylinders, 3 red pawns, and 3 blue person-shaped pieces.

8 orange pegs

Tiles and pegboards

1 deck of cards

 

The Setup

Place a peg into the leftmost peg on each of the rules on the Rules pegboard, and into the 3 spot on the Win pegboard.

Place the Start tile in the center of the table, mix up the other tiles, and create a 3 x 3 square of tiles around that center Start tile.

Pick player colors, place all used pieces on the Start tile, and give each player the card that corresponds to his or her color.

Look through the deck and find the first five Goal cards and place them in a pile faceup on the Win pegboard.

Shuffle the cards and deal three to each player.

Before the game begins, everyone gets one free rule change. You can move any peg one space to the right (or up if you're moving the peg on the Win pegboard. You can move any peg, even if it's been moved by someone else, but you can never undo or reverse another player's move.

The Gameplay

Randomly determine a start player. On a player's turn, you'll just look at the Rules pegboard and do what it says. You'll be drawing 1-4 cards, depending on where the peg is. You'll be playing 1-4 cards, depending on where the peg is. You'll be moving 2-5 spaces, depending on where the peg is. And you'll have a hand limit of none, 3, 2, or 1 cards, depending on where the peg is.

You can play cards and make moves in any order you want, and can even alternate between them.

There are blue Action cards that make something happen. They might let you trade hands with another player, or force everyone to trade colors. There are yellow New Rule cards, that change the rules somehow. They might tell you exactly how to change a peg, or give you options on what to move. Green Leaper cards have one of the pictures from the tiles on them, and you just jump a piece to that space. Purple Goal cards are played onto the top of the Goal pile, so that becomes the current Goal.

The Start tile has four arrows leading out of it, and you can only leave using one of those arrows. You'll be moving and playing cards and trying to match the Goal card currently on the top of the Win board.

Most spaces have a picture of one thing on them: chocolate, sun, music, brain. Each space can only hold one piece. If you move onto a space with another piece, you bump it to an adjacent unoccupied space (other than the one you just came from).

Each tile has one octagon space, which can hold any number of players. There are also two Portal spaces. As soon as someone moves onto one of the Portals, that person is immediately transported to the other Portal space.

There are also Special Move rules. One allows you to rotate a tile as one of your moves. One lets you pick up a tile and move it to another space—as long as you keep the orientation the same and as long as it's still connected to the rest of the tiles. And finally, the Wraparound rule lets you move off of one edge of the board and wraparound to the other. You can even cross gaps left over from uprooting a tile this way.

Any time (even on another player's turn) that you have pieces on spaces that match the current goal, you take that card. And as soon as someone has a number of Goal cards matching the current win level on the Win board, that person...wins!

The Verdict and Recommendations

Firestone—It's no secret that I don't really like Fluxx. It's way WAY too chaotic for me. I'll play with my family, but I wouldn't call it my favorite family game by a long shot. But Looney Labs wanted me to play this anyway, because it was more strategic, they said. I was skeptical but open-minded. Well they were absolutely right.

Rather than being based completely on the luck of the draw, Fluxx: The Board Game feels more like a puzzle: Each turn is a little puzzle to solve. Sure, there are still cards to draw and luck there, but there's also more stuff you can do to affect your position. How can I get myself onto those two spaces using the rules, cards, and movement available to me? While there's still some chaos and luck, I felt as though I had more control than I EVER had in the card game.

Jeremiah—I, on the other hand, am a huge fan of Fluxx! Fluxx, if nothing else, is unique compared to anything else you will play—I love the way the game wreaks havoc with the players, causing them to readjust constantly. No, it's not very strategic—at times—but there's something about seeing the agony on your friend's face when they realize they HAVE to play a card that causes you to win!

Fluxx the board game captures a lot of the original feel of the card game but does a great job of creating a new experience for fans of the game and newcomers!

Firestone—The pieces are a mix of good and bad. The pegboards and tiles are all nice and thick, but the pegs are too long. So when the pegs are in, the boards won't sit flat on the table, and if you push the board down flat onto the table, some of the pegs pop out. The wooden pieces are nice and chunky, and the cards are all adequate—though very, very thin.

All the pegs in, or flat on the table—you can't have both.
All the pegs in, or flat on the table—you can't have both.

Jeremiah—I'm also not a fan of some of the components. Yeah the tiles are thick and sturdy, and the cards are good quality. But I wasn't a fan of the pegboard system, either. I love its function! Just not its form. One of the peg holes is a little loose, too, causing the peg to fall out. Maybe it's the Euro gamer in me, but I'd just rather have had a tracker token on a track for the rules.

Firestone—Yeah, even my wife, who isn't a gamer at all, asked, "Why didn't they just have wooden cubes that you move on a board to keep track of this?"

UPDATE: Amber from Looney Labs has contacted us to let us know that they have a solution: pieces you stick to the bottom of the pegboards to raise them up high enough for the pegs to fit fully in. Contact customer-support [at] looneylabs.com. Thanks Looney Labs!

One other small complaint is that they chose the vanilla Fluxx as the theme. I completely understand why they did it, since it's their flagship product, and the one most people will be familiar with. But it's also kinda...boring. A cookie. A sun. A glass of milk. A piece of pizza. Andrew Looney. Meh... I would have been all over a Star Fluxx: The Board Game. Maybe that's in the works, but asking people to buy multiple versions of a $10 card game is one thing. Asking them to buy multiple versions of a $30 board game is very much another... But that's just a personal preference.

Jeremiah—I was totally fine with the original Fluxx theme; it sets up the base for the offshoot of the franchise. I, of course, have no way of knowing Looney Labs' plans for the future, but I could see them selling expansion packs instead new complete versions. Swap out the tiles and the cards and you're set—you don't need new player tokens and rule boards etc. Of course, Zombie and Pirate Fluxx would make for some cooler meeple options!

I'm pretty impressed with the great synergy between the board/tiles, cards and rule trackers! The cards still have their Fluxxy charm, and the board adds some great decision-making moments as well.

Firestone—Yeah, but the decisions aren't overwhelming. I could see someone prone to analysis paralysis getting overwhelmed by all of the choices as they puzzle through things. But it probably won't be a problem for most people.

Jeremiah Final Thoughts—As a fan of Fluxx, I have to say, while I was excited about FtBG I was slightly nervous that it might be an obligatory attempt to cash in on the reputation of its successor. All of the fears have been put to bed soundly! This game is fun! It is very puzzle-like, and the way it allows players to shift and change the playing surface makes it very replayable. Fluxx: The Board Game is the M. C. Escher of board games. Put this game on your table!

Firestone Final Thoughts—Aside from the terrible pegboard implementation, I like this game a lot. It's very light, and unlikely to make it past a couple of plays with my regular game group. But my family and I really like this, and I actually think it's a great nongamer game. I agree with Jeremiah: Put this game on the table!

Thanks so much for reading! And if you want, you can watch the video review, too!


Contests, Updates, and Podcasts! Oh My!

Hey Everyone! Jeremiah checking in with you to give you some cool updates and news!

We announced earlier this week that we are giving away a copy of Fluxx: The Board Game to our YouTube subscribers, so head over to our YouTube Channel, click subscribe and tell your friends!

Check out the video after the jump for all kinds of great news and info on what you can expect from TOG in the very near future!

And yes! We have recorded our first episode of the Theology of Games Podcast! We'll be going through the process of getting it listed in iTunes and we'll let you know when and where you can find that as soon as humanly possible! [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ynf8-yTNwQ&w=560&h=315]

Don't forget those interweb things!

Facebook! Twitter! Instagram!

Thanks for reading and watching!

Another Contest! We're Giving Away Fluxx: The Board Game!

FluxxDo you like chaos? Well how about Milk & Cookies? Well do you at least like free games?! Good! We like giving them away!

Thanks to the fine folks at Looney Labs, we have a brand-new copy of the hot-off-the-presses game Fluxx: The Board Game—and we're giving it away to one of you! We've played the game, and we can tell you that it's much more strategic than the card game. Even if you don't like the card game (like Firestone!), we think you should give the board game a shot. It's a horse of a different color...

This contest is a little different than the ones we ran last month. In order to be eligible for this contest you'll need to subscribe to our newly launched YouTube channel. In two weeks, we'll give the game away to one YouTube channel subscriber (who also has a US address).

But wait! There's MOAR! If we get to 100 subscribers in those two weeks, we'll give someone else a copy of Kill The Overlord, from APE Games. We can do this! Tell your friends! Tell you enemies! Tell your mama, 'cause if she wins, she'll just give the game to you anyway...

Thanks for reading!

[youtube http://youtu.be/H0NFmTQgBy0]

We Interview Jeremiah Isley!

Jeremiah2Jeremiah is one half of the team here at Theology Of Games, and since Reiner Knizia won't return our emails, we thought it would be fun to interview each other! (We haven't actually tried to contact Reiner. I'm sure he's a nice guy who replies to every email he receives. Seriously, Reiner...email us.) Thanks for agreeing to answer some questions, Jeremiah. So tell us a little about yourself.

Sure thing! My interests in life are about as varied and polarizing at times as you could think of. I love live theatre, and professional dance; I studied dance for over 13 years and still appear as a guest artist annually in the Nutcracker for a local professional company. I also worked for many years as a stagehand both in the local stagehand’s union, and as a freelancer. I’m also a trained audio engineer and have mixed for a few pretty big names over the years. I’m a huge football fan, and a glutton for the punishment of being a Cleveland sports fan. I've been married very happily for over 10 years, and have two sons, ages 4 and 6, who are the craziest, most awesome, and caring boys ever! We enjoy the outdoors, and like to canoe, hike, raft, and camp whenever the opportunity presents itself. We love to geocache too—nothing like using billion-dollar satellites to find Tupperware in the woods! I also play guitar, drums, bass, and a smidgen of keys. My current day job is in the AV department at a satellite campus for a local state university, and for the last three years I was the youth director at my church until I recently stepped down. Oh, and I co-write this blog.

How did you first get mixed up in these type of board games?

My path to board gaming really came through the collectible card game craze of the nineties, when everything was turned into a collectible card game. My brother and I played Marvel Overpower (which in hindsight is a terrible game!) and then we got into Middle Earth (which is an awesome game!). I loved the depth of strategy it took to do well at games like that. Middle Earth was also a great multiplayer game so we could have a few friends over, put the animated version of LotR on TV and play all night. (No, we weren’t the cool kids in town.) I then went through a long period of time of playing only video games, specifically Socom Navy Seals (shout out to my old clan SV!). I enjoyed video games, but the draw of Socom for me was the social side of being in a clan and working together as a team; it was more of a social activity than a gaming habit. I think that’s what I really enjoy about board games: The games themselves are great fun and all, but sitting down and having face-to-face interaction with good folks is better than any game I’ve played. For me the world of board games, like so many others, came through Catan; once that gateway opened up, all bets were off... I pretty much exclusively play board and card games now; the ps3 is basically a Netflix machine.

How has your faith affected you as a gamer?

I'd say pretty heavily. A lot of times it gets easy as a Christian to try and make your faith or your beliefs fit the mold of your interests, or political or social practices, when we should really be holding those things we enjoy up to the light of scripture and see them for what they are. The gaming world is full of thematic elements that dabble in the fantastic or supernatural—that's part of its allure. It's for this reason I tread lightly when checking out games, and especially before buying them. Many times a game is pretty benign, but other times I'll have to pass on a particular title. I try not to get hung up on those titles I won't play. There are literally hundreds of great games being published each year, so there are plenty of games to choose from that don't give me pause.

You have two boys. What are some of your favorite games to play with them?

Well, we got them Loopin' Louie for Christmas, or "Woopy Wooin" as my 4-year-old calls it, and they haven't stopped playing it. They also really enjoy Forbidden Island a lot! My oldest is six and has a pretty good handle on playing Carcassonne and Castle Panic, too.

Does your wife enjoy board games?

Yes, she gets incredibly frustrated when I teach them to her, but once we get through that she usually enjoys playing them. However, she does have her limits; she told our sons the other day that she doesn't play "Star Wars games," but she enjoys Carcassonne, Kingdom Builder, The Resistance, and a good deal more. As long as it doesn’t have a terribly nerdy theme, or a billion rules, she’s a gamer. She won’t sit and play an LCG, but Catan, yes.

Is it true you shaved your head so you’d look more like me?

There's not a shred of truth to that rumor. Although I did convince my sons that it would be cool because I would look like the Silver Surfer. My poor wife had gone to the grocery store one evening and left us home alone; when she returned I was completely clean shaven. I’m enjoying the new look, although the first winter has been a little rough.

Jeremiah1Yeah...hair—even if there's not much there, insulates your head more than you think...

What are your Top 5 games…and tell us a about why you like them so much.

This is in no particular order, because I don’t think I could actually pick a favorite.

  1. Lord of the Rings the Card Game—When I picked this up, I thought, “I don’t know about this whole co-op thing...” But one play through it and I was hooked! We played through the whole first cycle of expansions and are part way through the Khazad-Dum quests. It’s great, really deep game play, scales great for 1-4 players, and has a continuous story line. It’s almost like playing a role playing game without having to put in all the work to set it up. The down side to this game is the money to keep up with the quest packs, and they don’t feel that replayable after you’ve defeated a quest.
  2. The Resistance—I love this game because it is everything that LOTR is not. Really simple game mechanics and tons of backstabbing and chicanery! I’ve never played this game and not had people ask me to play it again—and ask where they can get their own copy. I love that you can play up to 10 people at once, although it’s hard to find 10 people that play it well all at the same time. I’m REALLY hoping they retheme the plot cards for Avalon because using the original ones really kills the mood.
  3. Carcassonne—Although recently this game is getting a little overplayed for me right now. I still love the game, and it took about 784 game plays to feel overplayed. There’s a solid base of expansions to keep it fresh, mix it up, and throw you for a loop. It’s a very good game to act as a next step for my friends who are ready to move on from Catan, and it plays up to 6 very well.
  4. Pirates of the Spanish Main—I know, this is kind of an oddball title, and no they don’t still make the game. But building those little pirate ship and sailing them around the dinner table looking for treasure is just a lot of fun. I have a HUGE fleet of literally thousands of ships. My gaming friends and I haven’t played in a while (which is very unfortunate), but it’s a really fun game with very high replayability!
  5. Fluxx—It’s an old standby with lots of different versions that add to the craziness of it. I’m probably most partial to Zombie Fluxx. We’ve had a lot of good times and good laughs over this game, as well as some frustrating defeats. Just a good time all around.

What are some games you’re looking forward to playing in 2013?

One of the titles I’m really looking forward to is Boss Monster; it kind of crept under our radar last year, as we didn’t find out about it until their Kickstarter was almost finished, but playing the bad guy is always fun. I’m also really looking forward to the multiplayer expansion for the new Star Wars The Card Game. I like the game as it is, but I think it will really come into its own when it supports 2-3 light side players teaming up against a very powerful dark side player. I’m also REALLY hoping that Wizkids gets the Lord of the Rings dice building game to market soon! Quarriors just barely slipped out of my top 5, and I’m of course a fanboy when it comes to Tolkien. And my boys will be very excited to hear that Forbidden Desert is on its way! One-Word Answers:

Favorite Doctor? Tom Baker

Grail game you’d like to find a copy of? My old 1st edition of Fluxx.

Favorite superhero? Spider-Man

Favorite major Star Wars character? Han Solo

Favorite minor Star Wars character? Dengar, the fiercest of the bounty hunters!!

On a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being how you feel while watching Bambi, and 10 being blind, seething, murderous rage), how did you feel toward George Lucas immediately after watching The Phantom Menace for the 1st time? The 1st time? 4.5 (I was blinded by the shiny new toy.)

Favorite LEGO line? Star Wars

Last good book you read? Shrewd by Rick Lawrence

Thanks, Jeremiah! No no, thank you.

We hope you enjoyed this. Stay tuned for Jeremiah's questions for me! (Unless Reiner emails us back. We'd totally bump that for you, Reiner...)