Once upon a time, I loved Fluxx. Once upon a time, my board game experience was also limited to Monopoly, Life, and Munchkin. Many years and many board games later, my interest has cooled somewhat, and it seems that my gaming partners have the same tepid feelings toward Fluxx as I do. By why? It’s not a bad game. It’s a good little ice-breaker and it’s good for the casual player, so why the general feeling of “meh” when it is suggested? It’s because a game of Fluxx usually goes one of two ways.
Diana: Alright Cthulhu Fluxx, let’s give you a try. Draw one; cool. Play one. I will play a new rule: Play Two.
Andrew: Ok, drawing one, playing two. I’ll play a Keeper: The Cat.
Jess & Diana: Kitty!
Andrew: And a Goal: The Mountains of Madness.
Jess: Draw one… I’ll play two keepers: The Tomb and the Penguins.
Rob: My turn.
Andrew: Um, Jess just won.
The game can sometimes (read: often) end before it’s even started. Annoying, sure, but not nearly as bad as the other option:
Rob: Ok Fluxx, you don’t like me and I don’t like you but this time I’m going first so I’ll actually get a chance to play. Draw one, now play one. Out goes The Ghoul.
Diana: Ok, I drew one, now I’ll play The Tomb keeper.
Andrew: New rule: Draw Four.
Jess: Alright drawing four. I guess I’ll play…
30 minutes later…
Diana: We’re out of cards in the draw deck, I’ll reshuffle. Ok, drawing now playing. New Goal, Checking In!
Rob: Dammit, I had the win in my hand!
Another 30 minutes later…
Andrew: I’ll play a new goal; Miskatonic’s Rarest Book.
Rob: Seriously!?! I had the win in my hand! You bastard!
Yet another 30 minutes later…
Jess: I’m going to play a new goal-
Diana: Rob, if we come around to you and the Miskatonic’s Rarest Book goal is still in play, will you win?
Rob: Nope. I still can’t find the Necronomicon. I only have the Librarian.
Andrew: Here! Take the Necronomicon! Just take it! Save us!
Diana: Take the card! Jess, if you change that goal we’ll be playing forever.
Jess: Good point. Rob, take the card.
Rob: This feels wrong…
Andrew: Take the card or I’ll make you eat it.
Rob: Fine. I win, I guess. But it’s not even my turn.
Andrew: It is now.
Diana: Thank Shub-Niggurath. Let’s play something else. Anything else.
It can all go wrong fast. A quick little ice breaker can turn into an all night slog if you play your cards right (or wrong, really).
Luckily Cthulhu Fluxx has a new card that helps to prevent scenario two from happening; The Ungoal. This is a card that’s played alongside The Goal, and if the conditions on this card are met the game ends and everyone loses. Kind of a bastard play but it can be used as a ripcord if the game has gone on too long and you need an out.
Cthulhu Fluxx isn’t too different from the rest of the Fluxx family. It has similar rules and the same familiar humor. If you like Fluxx it’s worth a play, but for me it is just too close to the horrors I remember from my gaming past. Overall it rates a “meh” with a side of tentacles.