Shiny: A Review of Firefly Fluxx
Raise your hand if you’re a fan of Firefly. *watches pretty much everyone’s hand go up* Yeah, me, too. I actually have been meaning to get those DVDs back out and re-watch the series. It’s a sci-fi western done right. Well, now the crazy antics of the Serenity and her crew meet up with the zany rules-changing of Fluxx.
The fine people over at Looney Labs sent me a copy of the new Firefly Fluxx to try out.
So get ready, it’s time for another TGN Review. This time it’s Firefly Fluxx by Looney Labs. Pay attention, or by my pretty, floral bonnet, I will end you.
If you still don’t know about Fluxx, first let me welcome you out from the rock you’ve been living under. But I’ll give you an overview of the rules here, and then get to what makes Firefly Fluxx unique.
The goal of Fluxx is to have the right combination of Keepers (or potentially Creepers) in play in front of you. What’s the right combination? Well, we don’t know, nobody’s played that card yet. Fluxx is a game that’s constantly changing. The rules and win condition in play one round almost guaranteed won’t still be the rules and win condition when it gets back around to you. Let’s start out by looking at the different types of cards. They are Keepers, Creepers, Goals, New Rules, Actions, and Surprises.
Keepers have a green edge and are played in front of you on your turn. These are the main cards you’ll use to win the game. Many of them don’t have any special rules. They just play in front of you and look pretty. Several of them, though, have some sort of ability on them, mostly revolving around stealing Keepers from other players.
Creepers are like Anti-Keepers. If you draw one from the deck, you must play it in front of you and draw another card. They will keep you from winning (unless a Goal specifically says otherwise). Generally, you’ll want to get rid of Creepers as soon as possible.
Goals are the win-condition cards for the game. They’ll list some specific combination of Keepers and/or Creepers that a player has to have in play in front of them in order to win. You don’t have to have played the Goal in order to win. You also don’t have to just have the cards listed on the Goal in order to win. Generally, only one goal will be in play at a time. But there can potentially be more because of…
New Rule cards alter the Basic Rules of the game. The Basic Rules are “On your turn, Draw 1 Card and then Play 1 Card.” Many of the New Rule cards will alter one of those two. So you might end up Drawing 4 and Playing 3 or some other sort of combination. Other things New rules might do are limit how many cards you can have in your hand or let you discard cards to draw more.
Actions are one-off special things you can do. They run the gamut of possibilities. They can have you Draw and then Play a certain number of cards, clear out New Rule cards from play, or take cards from other players (among other things). They, along with New Rules cards, are what makes Fluxx a different game not only each time you play, but each turn you play.
Surprises are the only cards you can use on other players turns. They let you interrupt some other action that another player is taking. They’re mostly used to cancel out a card a player just played. But they can also be played during your turn, generally for a greater effect by discarding other cards already in play.
Setting up a game is simple. Just shuffle the deck and deal out 3 cards to each player. Any Creepers that are dealt are played and those players can draw again to get back up to 3 cards in hand. Somehow determine who goes first and that player takes the first turn using the basic rules of Draw 1 Card and Play 1 Card. Basically, you just keep going until a Goal card is achieved. That can sometimes be pretty quick, or it could be a couple rounds. That’s the fluctuating nature of Fluxx.
So what makes Firefly Fluxx stand out from the others? Does it really feel like a different version of Fluxx, or is it just a themed set of cards? Well, it does have a cool theme going for it. As with other versions, the Keepers, Creepers, and Goals all have to do with characters and items from the series. The New Rules, Actions, and Surprises mostly are the same ones you’d see in many other Fluxx sets, but there are also several of each type that pertain directly to the show. I honestly think the special Actions and the Surprise, especially, out of the “theme cards” were strokes of brilliance by the design team. The Action Card “I’ll Be In My Bunk” literally has you get up and leave the table for a couple minutes (nobody can mess with your cards while you’re away). Meanwhile, the Surprise, “You Can’t Take This Guy From Me” is both a Firefly reference and a Jimi Hendrix reference. Sheer Brilliance!
The other thing that I really think sets this set apart is the Keeper-stealing. The crew of the Serenity is a pretty tightly-knit group. You’ve got the “old” crew that have quite a history and work well together. Then you’ve got the Tam siblings who would do anything for one-another. And, of course, they’re smugglers and thieves and just general scoundrels, so you’ve got contraband running around. The “I’m just gonna help myself to your Keepers” aspect (unless you’re armed with guns, that is. Then people can’t steal from you) is in line with the show and something I think really makes the Firefly Fluxx set feel like a different set than previous ones.
So if you’re a fan of Fluxx or a fan of Firefly, or if you want another quick, easy-to-learn/easy-to-play game for your gaming backpack, grab a copy and head out into the black. They’re available now at your LGS or from the Looney Labs webshop.