Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Holiday Fluxx - A Review

The Beginning

Holiday Fluxx is a card game designed by Andrew Looney, art by Ali Douglass, and published by Looney Labs in 2014. This is good to play with 2-5 players with the average playing time being around 20 minutes. Holiday Fluxx is a thematic version of the original Fluxx game and celebrates Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. It also follows the same rules of the Fluxx universe, which are ever changing of course. Let's take a look at Holiday Fluxx

The Meat

Let’s look at the different card types first. There are 5 types of cards in Holiday Fluxx - Rule, Goal, Keeper, Action, and Surprise. Each card explains what it does right on it and when it takes effect so that it’s easy to follow and know what to do. The card name is on the left side and on the card face. A description and image will also be on the card face. The descriptions are clear on what happens and how it should happen so there's no problems with getting confused. The cards also follow a color scheme so New Rule cards are a yellow color, Goals are pink, Keepers are green, Actions are blue, and Surprises are purple. The color schemes are the same for every version of Fluxx so it makes it easy to switch versions or even combine them.

New Rule Card

New Rule cards let you change the rules throughout the game. The rules of the game begin with the Basic Rules - draw 1 card, play 1 card. As the game progresses, you can change the Basic Rules by playing a New Rule card and applying its effects immediately. For example - If you play the New Rule Draw 3 card, which lets you now draw 3 cards per turn, you should draw 2 extra cards so that you’ve now drawn 3 for your turn. Some rules let you do extra actions as well. The Open A Gift rule lets you draw a card and immediately play it IF the Gift Keeper is on the table.

Goal Card

Goal cards list the conditions that need to be met to win. If you were to play the Advent Wreath goal, you would need the Wreath and the Candles keepers in front of you to win. If a goal is played it takes effect immediately so if you have the Keepers needed to complete that goal in front of you as soon as it's played, you win! It does not have to be your turn to win, either. There can only be one goal in play at a time unless a New Rule specifies otherwise. If a goal is in play and you lay another one down, the previous goal is placed in the discard pile.

Keeper Card

Keeper cards are what you play in front of you to meet the goal on the table. Some of the cards may let you take extra actions if you have a specific Keeper in front of you, such as the Gift I mentioned earlier so it's good to play the Keepers when you can. Plus, you never know when someone will lay a Goal card down that lets you win with the Keepers you have in play.

Action Card

The Action cards are one time use cards that are simple to use. Just play the card and do what it says. Action cards let you draw and use more cards, take cards from players, and more. Even if you draw and play more cards because an Action card told you to, it only counts as one play. They can help or hurt you so be careful how you use it.

Surprise Card

The Surprise card is unique because you can play it on your turn for one result or hold on to it and use it during someone else's turn to get a different result. The two results are listed on the card clearly and it can make the game very interesting. The Canceled Plans card, for instance, let's you discard a Goal card another player just played when it's not your turn so it could help in stopping someone from winning but if you play the card during your turn you can discard all current Goal card(s) and the other players each have to discard a Goal card (or a random card if they have no Goal cards) from their hand. The Canceled Plans card can also cancel other Surprise cards.

Game Setup 

The game starts with the Basic Rules, the draw deck, and each player being dealt three cards. There is no specific rule set in the instructions on who should go first so it's up to you to find a fun way to determine this. The first player draws a card and proceeds to play from there. Once that player's turn is over, the player to their left goes and so on until someone meets a Goal cards condition(s). The image above is an example of the layout that we use (per the recommendations in the instructions) and it makes it easy for everyone to see everything and play without a hindrance. The draw pile is in the middle with the Goal to the right and the discard pile to the left of it. The New Rules lay out below those and the Keepers are played out in front of each player as they lay them down.

Final Thoughts

Holiday Fluxx is a simple game but so much fun. The rules change constantly so it doesn't get boring at all. There is a lot of replayability with this game so it will never get boring. Just when you think you're losing, a card can drop just right for you to win the game so it's always full of surprises. While you can play a bit of strategy, you have to always be prepared to change since the rules and goals are constantly changing.

Holiday Fluxx is a very thematic game, too. While it isn't the best version of Fluxx on the market (in my opinion, of course) it's a great addition to your holiday traditions and simple enough to include any novice game players that night be visiting. Holiday Fluxx will get a lot of play from Thanksgiving to Christmas for us but that is about it for the year. I highly recommend adding it to your collection.


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