Looney Labs first introduced the unsuspecting public to the madness that is Fluxx over a decade ago. Since that time, Fluxx has crept into card game-playing circles and families everywhere. As the name suggests, Fluxx is a game of change. With each card played, the rules change, the goals change and the gameplay changes. The original Fluxx was followed up over the years with expansions such as Monty Python Fluxx, Zombie Fluxx, EcoFluxx and Family Fluxx (which can, in some cases, be mixed and matched to create customized games). Other versions (such as Christian Fluxx, Jewish Fluxx and Japanese Fluxx) are floating around out there, too.
With the success of expansions such as Zombie Fluxx and Monty Python Fluxx, someone suggested a Martian Fluxx and the Looneys thought it sounded like a good idea. Martian Fluxx differs from previous versions of the game slightly and, unlike those other versions, can not be combined with other Fluxx games. Why not? Because in this game, you are the Martian Invaders, not the Pathetic Humans striving to save their planet.
The object of the game is to meet the current goal requirements to successfully launch an alien invasion. In order to meet those goals, you have Keepercards, items in your inventory that help you achieve success. You have obstacles called Creepers that foil your attempts at success. Fortunately, many Keepers can be used to nullify your Creepers and help you meet the victory conditions set by the Goal card. Unfortunately, and hilariously, those victory conditions are constantly changing.
For example, the goal may be War of the Worlds, which is to have both Mars and Earth Keeper cards placed in front of you. Let’s say you already have Earth on the table and Mars is in your hand but your turn is over and you can’t play it yet. Suddenly, the next player swaps out War of the Worlds for Mars Needs Women and now you need Mars and at least two human female Creepers on the table to win. Your new objective is to find those women before the goal changes again.
Goals aren’t the only things that are constantly changing. By default, you start with three cards, draw one card, and play one card during your turn, but New Rules can be played that replace the existing rules. For example, Draw 1 could be replaced by Draw 4. Play 1 could be replaced with Play All, and then you have no choice but to play every card in your hand every round, even the ones you don’t want to play, causing quite a riot and throwing a major monkey-wrench into your diabolical invasion plans. The 1 Card Hand Limit could be played and then, at the end of your turn, you must discard all but one of your cards. Your assured victory crumbles before your eyes time and time again.
As if the game isn’t funny enough already, bonus cards like Talk Like a Martian just adds to the laughter. I got to show off my Stitch and Marvin the Martian impersonations and score a few bonus cards in the process. Maybe I’m just an aggressive player (I wasn’t the kind of mother who let my kids win all the time when they were small), but I found myself prone to loud outbursts and laughter while playing, much to the dismay of those around us who couldn’t figure out the odd behavior exhibited by the weirdos in the break room at work.
Martian Fluxx is for 2 to 5 players and recommended for ages 8 to adult. Gameplay lasts between 15 and 30 minutes. The game includes over 100 cards, including:
20 Action cards
27 Goal cards
1 Ungoal card
17 New Rule cards
20 Keeper cards
13 Creeper cards
1 Basic Rules card
1 Meta Rule card
If it follows in its ancestor’s footsteps, expansion packs should be available at some point in the future to further the Fluxx family fun. Whether you are a long-time Fluxx fanatic or you’ve never heard of the game before, Martian Fluxx is a treat that should be enjoyed with friends, so go buy it now! The fate of the human race may depend on you…