In the Fluxx Boardgame, the Only Constant is Change

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Whenever you play a new board game, you expect the standard core board game rules to apply: move yourself to the goal using pre-determined rules. Everyone knows the goal, and everyone understands (and hopefully follows) the rules.

So what would happen if the board was never the same? Or if the goal you were trying to reach changed when you were oh so close to reaching it? Or if the rules changed, just like that? Much like life, so goes Fluxx.

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The very first sentence in the directions says it all: “Fluxx is a game about change.” As you play, the game evolves with the decisions players make. Because of the infinite number of combinations and variables at play, it’s nearly impossible to repeat the exact same game twice.

The object of the game is to reach a goal by landing two of your three pieces simultaneously on two difference spaces, as designated on the goal card. The goal cards are just clever combinations of the game squares – The music square and sleepy zzzz’s make up the lullaby goal, for example, and the glass of milk and ice cream make up the milk shake goal.

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The game begins with each person choosing a rule they want to change by moving a peg forward or backward on the “rules” board. Don’t get comfy though: as the game proceeds, the rules will constantly change. Rules include things like how many cards you can hold in your hand and how many spaces you must split between your pieces as you move around the board.

The game is the most fun when all of the rules that can be toggled are set to “on” – this means the tiles of the board can be moved and rotated to completely throw off any strategy anyone may have had in reaching the goal that’s currently showing. That’s assuming the goal remains long enough for you to get there.

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Goals change as much as the board does; all someone needs to do to change a goal is set down a new one from their hand. Once someone makes a goal, which tends to happen really quickly, the players work from wherever they are to reach the new goal shown on the next card in the pile.

The game ends when someone racks up the predetermined number of goal cards, which is – you guessed it- something you can change during gameplay. Ending the game by completing three, four or even five goals was something our group managed to do in about twenty minutes each time. Each time we ended the game, none of us could wait to set it up and try again.

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This game may look ordinary enough, but in order to get anywhere, you need to completely forget everything you know about boardgame strategy. Your focus is on how to maneuver the cards in your hand or the orientation of the board – not necessarily your game piece. This is a great way to get kids thinking outside the box, and a complete breath of fresh air from Monopoly-style classics.

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The game says kids need to be eight in order to play, but that may be just because it’s difficult to learn the rules the first time. We struggled a little with wrapping our minds around the concept of constant change, but once we got started, we had a blast. The game also says it’s for up to four players, but I don’t think adding a few more people would change anything, except needing improvised game pieces.

The cards and boards make playing this game incredibly simple – the rule board even keeps track of the rules for you. The hardest part was reading the directions.

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This isn’t Looney Labs’s first incarnation of Fluxx. It started out as a card game, and has branched out to include a big list of fun, nerdy themes like zombies, Cthulhu and Monty Python.

Apparently in the Monty Python version, you can play more cards if you speak in a silly accent, which is a rule we are considering adding to our next Fluxx boardgame session. There’s no reason your family couldn’t make their own rules for Fluxx, too.

Fluxx teaches kids that in life everything changes, even the rules. The winner is the one who can best go with the flow.

Here’s Will Wheaton and co. playing the space-themed Star Fluxx card game on Tabletop:

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