Shuffle the deck. Deal three cards to each player. Put down the “basic rule” card so nobody gets confused on what they need to do. Draw a card; play a card. Easy enough, right? But, if you’re holding a Creeper (e.g. Death, Taxes, War, The Radioactive Potato, etc), you have to put it on the table. It won’t count as a play; it’s just something that prevents you from winning even if you reach the goal. Simple and easy game, right?
Fluxx gets its namesake from the rules being constantly in flux. Everything starts out simple until somebody slaps down a New Rule card, something like “Play All.” You’ll have to play all of the cards in your hand, then. So much for the ace-in-the-hole Action card you were holding. And then, someone slaps down the “Hand Limit 2” rule card and now your strategies are really going out the window.
The yellow Rule cards generally stack on each other and instantly take effect. Draw or Play cards replace whatever was played down before them. For example, you wouldn’t combine Play 2 with Play 3. The Play 3 would override the Play 2. Blue cards are your Action cards. They’ll let yo do things ranging from trading everybody’s hands to mixing up all the Keepers and Creepers out on the table.
Keepers (green cards) and Creepers (black cards) are what you’ll need to win the game with. To win, all you have to do is meet whatever Goal (pink card) is out on the table at the time. You meet goals by having the items required. For example, this Goal I randomly pulled out of the deck is called “Chocolate Cookies.” To win, you’ll have to have a Chocolate Keeper and a Cookies Keeper in front of you.
You won’t win if you have a Creeper in front of you, except for in special circumstances where the Goal requires it. I know there’s a Goal with a name similar to “All That’s Certain” that asks for the Death and Taxes Creepers. And of course, there’s fun Rule cards that turn everything upside down, like “You Also Need a Baked Potato.” You’d need the Radioactive Potato in addition to whatever the Goal’s asking for.
But…since this is Fluxx, one moment the Goal’s “Hearts and Minds” (the player with the Love Keeper ad the Brain Keeper wins) and the next, it turns into Star Gazing (the player with the Eye Keeper and the Cosmos Keeper wins). It’s fun to see everyone’s hopes being crushed as the Goal changes, or a crazy Action is played, or a wild Rule is thrown down. It’s never the same game twice.
I think that’s what I like the most about Fluxx. It’s unpredictable, but the ridiculous cards keep it from being frustrating. Seriously, I’ve never seen people get competitive over making toast (Bread and Toaster Goal). The game’s a mix of luck and strategy. Here’s a tip: if you’re forced to play every card in your hand, make sure you play them in an order that’s beneficial to you. Sometimes victory’s right there, if you take a moment to think about it!
All the necessary information is on the cards, but the language is simple and straight forward. It even comes in several different flavors! You’ve got your Oz Fluxx (“I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore”), Star Fluxx (“to infinity and beyond”), Pirate Fluxx (“arrrrr, matey”), Zombie Fluxx “braaaaaains”), Martian Flux, Monty Python Fluxx, EcoFluxx, Stoner Fluxx, Family Fluxx, and more! I’ve only played the original version, but I do have the Zombie set. The specialty decks usually add extra rules, so if you’re thinking the original game’s getting stale, combine it with one of the specialty ones.
You can find more info on Fluxx at the Looney Labs website. Let me know if you ever try this game out. It’s cheap, portable, and I highly recommend it for language practice and general fun.