Review: Martian Fluxx

Fluxx, a popular card game which originally debuted in 1997, has had several reincarnations over the past 13 years.  Today, we'll be reviewing the newest entry into the series: Martian Fluxx. Just the Facts: Players: 2-5 Playing Time: 5-30 Minutes Age: 8-Adult Publisher: Looney Labs MSRP: $16.00 Release: December 2009 The Gameplay: Fluxx is known as the card game with ever-changing rules, and it is most definitely deserving of that title.  At the onset of each game, players are dealt a three-card hand.  The only rules to the game  are that on each turn, a player must draw one card from the deck, and play one card from their hand.  However, the rules do not stay that simple for long. To demonstrate how Fluxx works, let's take a minute to introduce the five types of cards in the deck:
  1. Keepers: These are cards that can be placed in front of you, which usually represent some inanimate object.  Their purpose in the game is to show that you have possession of that object by playing it in front of you on the table.
  2. Goals: These cards dictate what it takes to win the game.  A goal card will name a few specific Keeper cards, and state that whoever has them on the table is the victor.  There can only be one goal, and if a new goal is played, the previous one is discarded.
  3. Actions: These cards are one-time-use, and allow you to do special things such as root through the discard pile to take a card back or steal another player's keeper.
  4. Creepers: These stay on the table in front of you just like Keepers, but are playing immediately upon drawing and (usually) prevent you from winning.
  5. New Rules: This is where the game gets hectic.  As part of the "play card" phase of their turn, a player can use New Rule cards that drastically alter how the game works.  For example, players can change how many cards are drawn or played in a turn, or a hand size limits can be instituted, forcing players to discard at the end of their turn.
The nature of Fluxx's changing  rules make it a different game every time you play.  Sometimes, players will be drawing more cards per turn than they play, allowing players to build up large hands.  This means almost everyone has a possible winning combo, but that a lot of "screw your neighbor" type cards are also coming out of the deck.  In another case, players may be required to play their entire hand on every turn.  When this occurs, everyone is on high alert, as they could be unwillingly forced to play cards allowing another player to win.  If you are close to victory, you might want to cause such a situation! That is how a basic game of Fluxx plays out, but how is Martian Fluxx any different?  In this version of the game, players  take on the role of Martians, with the ultimate goal of taking over the Earth.  This is an improvement over the original Fluxx, which had no narrative at all.  To go along with this Martian theme, the five types of cards have all received a new coat of paint.  These cards are full of sci-fi puns and clichés that any geek will appreciate, so just looking at the cards for the first time is enjoyable. Our favorite cards are the Creepers.  While in traditional Fluxx, Creepers represented random bad things such as death, war, or taxes, every Creeper in Martian Fluxx represents a Pathetic Human.  There are a lot more of them as well!  With over three times as many creepers, the Martian players will be flooded with Pathetic Humans trying to prevent your victory.  This adds strategy to the game, which is a plus, as you must balance the playing of Keepers towards fulfilling a Goal, with also playing cards to get rid of your Pathetic Human creepers. The Contents: 100 cards and 1 rule sheet.  The box for Martian Fluxx is sturdy and is only just as large as it needs to be to hold all 100 cards.  There is an insert with a convenient pull tab so it is never a struggle to get the cards out (you won't have to tip the box over and risk having cards spill out).  The cards themselves a bright, vibrant, and contain great artwork.  They are printed on a durable stock that we feel should hold up well over time and resist bending. Here are a few sample cards:


  • High amount of replay value due to short play time and varying game experience
  • Enough humor to make you laugh at least a few times each game
  • Well-made cards with quality artwork
  • Games can occasionally become dependent on luck rather than strategy
Overall Impression: We were very impressed by Martian Fluxx, and will be adding it to our regular rotation of card games.  It plays well, looks well, and is well priced when compared to similar card games.  It's one negative point (reliance on luck) is largely forgivable as there is still a good amount of strategy involved in this game.  It is worth noting that players can affect how much luck is actually required through the play of their cards, allowing players who are doing poorly to tip the balance towards luck if they are smart, and thereby give themselves a chance.

Our Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Squids

Disclaimer: The Modern Day Pirates were provided a complimentary review sample of this game.

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If it involves cards or dice, he'll play it. Matt covers games of all types, and also enjoys writing about technology & gadgets.

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