I would classify the Fluxx series as one of the more contentious card game franchises. There are a lot of people that love the randomness/silliness of the franchise. There are almost as many people that hate the franchise since you don’t have much control over your fate in the game. I personally see myself somewhere in the middle as I find the game to be pretty fun and yet it does rely a little too much on luck. Having played several games from the franchise (Chemistry Fluxx, Firefly Fluxx, Fluxx, Math Fluxx) most of the games in the Fluxx franchise take the same basic premise and add a different theme along with some slight tweaks to the rules. Today I am looking at Fluxx The Board Game which takes the card game and adds some board game mechanics into the mix. While Fluxx The Board Game has its’ own problems, I think you can make a solid argument that it is the best game in the franchise.
How to Play Fluxx The Board Game
- Place a peg in the left most space for each rule on the rules pegboard. Place a peg into the 3 spot (or 4 spot for a longer game) on the win pegboard.
- Each player gets to move the peg for one of the rules one space to the right/up.
- Place the starting tile in the middle of the table and then randomly place the other tiles around it to form a 3×3 gameboard.
- Each player chooses a color and takes the corresponding playing pieces and card of their chosen color. Each player places their pieces on the starting space of the gameboard.
- Look through the deck of cards to find five goal cards. Everyone looks at the goal cards and then the five cards are shuffled and placed face up on the win pegboard.
- The rest of the cards are shuffled and three cards are dealt to each player.
- Players decide however they want who will be the first player.
Playing the Game
The structure of a player’s turn in the game is as follows:
- Draw Cards
- Play Cards
- Move Playing Pieces
- Discard Down to the Hand Limit
Besides the basic structure, the rules that a player must follow on their turn is shown by the location of the pegs on the rules and goal pegboards. During the game the pegs will move up and down due to the cards that are played.
Players can alternate between playing cards and moving playing pieces but they must keep track of how many cards they have played and how many spaces they have moved.
A player’s turn begins with them drawing cards equal to the current rule regarding the number of cards to draw. If during a player’s turn the rule is changed to allow the player to draw more cards, they immediately draw the additional cards after the rule is changed.
In Fluxx The Board Game there are four different types of cards:
- Action: When an action card is played, read the card and perform the action(s) written on it. After the actions are performed the action card is discarded.
- New Rule: When a new rule card is played, shift the peg(s) based on what the card says. Once the peg has been moved, all players must begin following the new rule. The new rule card is then discarded.
- Leaper: When a leaper card is played a player can move one of their pieces to the space indicated on the card. If there is another piece on the space they are sent back to the start space unless the piece was on an octagon or portal space.
- Goal: Goal cards indicate what spaces players are trying to get their playing pieces to. When a goal card is played it is placed on the top of the stack of goal cards.
Moving Playing Pieces
When moving your playing pieces you get to move pieces as many spaces as the current rule allows. Each space counts as one movement and pieces can’t move diagonally. On a player’s turn they can choose to divide up their movement actions between as many pieces as they want. A player must use all of their movement actions though.
To start the game players will have to move their pieces off the starting tile. When exiting the starting tile pieces can only move onto the spaces indicated by the arrows on the starting tile.
When a player lands on a space occupied by another playing piece they bump that playing piece to an adjacent unoccupied space. The moving player can choose any adjacent unoccupied space except for the space that the piece just moved from. If it is not possible to move the piece to another space the player can’t move to the occupied space.
There are two unique spaces on the gameboard. Octagons are spaces that can hold any number of pieces. If a player lands on an octagon that is already occupied, the piece(s) already on the space aren’t bumped to a new space.
The portals can hold any number of pieces as well. The two portal spaces are connected to one another so when you land on one portal you are teleported to the other portal.
The goal of Fluxx The Board Game is to collect goal cards. In order to collect a goal card a player has to have one of their pieces on each space indicated by the top card on the goal pegboard. A player could end up collecting a goal card on another player’s turn.
If at the end of a player’s turn they have more cards in their hand than the current hand limit, they must discard enough cards to get back to the hand limit. All cards that are discarded are not played for their effect.
During the game there are three special actions that can be turned on which gives players an additional action that they can perform on their turn.
Rotate: A player can turn one tile 90, 180 or 270 degrees. All pieces on the tile stay on the same space they were on before the tile was rotated.
Uproot: A player is able to pick up one tile and move it to another spot on the gameboard (this counts as a move action). When uprooting a tile it cannot be rotated (unless you also use the rotate action on the tile). The one rule with uprooting a tile is that it has to be placed next to another tile and all tiles have to be reachable from the starting tile. All pieces on an uprooted tile stay on the same space they were on before the uprooting.
Wraparound: When wraparound is active a piece that moves off of one of the edges of the board shows up on the other side of the board. Wraparound also allows players to jump across gaps that might have formed in the gameboard.
Winning the Game
A player wins the game when they have collected enough goal cards to match the current number of goal cards needed to win the game. If two players reach the required number of goals at the same time, the game continues until one player has more goal cards than all of the other players.
My Thoughts on Fluxx The Board Game
Being part of the Fluxx franchise it is not surprising that Fluxx The Board Game shares a lot in common with its’ card game inspiration. The goal is still to collect goal cards in order to win the game. In order to collect goals you need to control the corresponding keepers. The rules governing the game can change at any moment as each card played can change everything from how many cards you can play to the conditions required to win the game. Anyone who has played a Fluxx game before will be quite familiar with Fluxx The Board Game.
The one unique aspect of the game is alluded to by the title itself, the gameboard. Instead of just relying on cards, Fluxx The Board Game utilizes an ever changing gameboard. Instead of playing keeper cards in front of yourself to collect goals, you need to move your pieces around the board onto the keeper spaces needed for the current goal.I have to say that I didn’t think adding a gameboard would change the game that much. While Fluxx The Board Game still plays a lot like the card game, the gameboard has a bigger impact on the game than I was expecting.
I think the biggest change that the gameboard has on the game is that it actually adds a decent amount of strategy to Fluxx. Instead of playing cards hoping that you end up with the cards needed to win the game, there is actually some strategy in manipulating the position of your pieces on the board. In normal Fluxx games players have to get lucky in order to get the keepers required for the current goal or a goal the player has in their hand. In Fluxx The Board Game though all of the keepers are available to all of the players. The challenge is getting your pieces to those spots and maintaining control over them. In order to win the game you need to figure out how to move your pieces, play the right cards and manipulate the board to get your pieces to the correct spots on the board.
While Fluxx The Board Game still relies heavily on luck and is far from a strategic game, I actually think Fluxx The Board Game is the first game in the Fluxx series where strategy can actually have a noticeable impact on the game. While the strategy is usually pretty obvious, you can easily lose the game if you make a strategic error. If you wisely use your cards and movement actions though you have a lot of potential ways to move your pieces around the board.
Some of the best ways to manipulate the board to your advantage comes from being able to rotate and uproot tiles. Rotating a tile allows a player to move a desired keeper closer to themselves or further away from another player. By uprooting a tile you can bring a tile to you instead of having to move to the tile. By rotating a tile you can save a couple spaces if you are already pretty close to a keeper you are trying to reach. These mechanics make the game a little easy but they give players quite a few options in the game. The problem is that these options aren’t always available to the players. All of the special actions are off by default and have to be turned on before they can be used at all.
With all of the ways you can manipulate the board and the positions of your playing pieces, Fluxx The Board Game kind of feels like a puzzle that you have to solve every turn. You need to look through your cards, look at what special actions you have open to you, and how many spaces you can move to try to find a way to claim the top goal card or a goal card you have in your hand. I think this is what I liked most about Fluxx The Board Game because it actually feels like you have an impact on your fate in the game. At the same time though it might lead to some analysis paralysis problems as players try to analyze every possible action. While there is more potential for analysis paralysis, it doesn’t seem to extend the length of the game too much.
Despite adding more strategy to the game, Fluxx The Board Game still relies heavily on luck. The luckiest player still has a really good chance of winning the game as they will have to make a mistake to give the other players a chance to win the game. If you want to have a lot of control over your fate Fluxx The Board Game probably won’t be for you. I will say that luck plays less of a role in the board game than the card games though since you have more strategic options that you can use to overcome some of the luck.
With the additional strategy and the ability to have more control over your fate in the game, you can make a good argument that Fluxx The Board Game is actually better than the card game versions of the game. I personally would say that I found Fluxx The Board Game to be slightly better than the card games. If you like the idea of a game with ever changing rules but have never liked all of the randomness of Fluxx, Fluxx The Board Game might be worth a look.
While Fluxx The Board Game improves on the original in a couple ways, it is still not a perfect game.
I think the biggest problem that I had with Fluxx The Board Game is the fact that it is too short. Maybe our group got really lucky but it is not that difficult getting a goal card every turn. Unless you use the uproot ability to really mess up the structure of the board you don’t really have to move that far to reach any spaces on the gameboard. One game of Fluxx The Board Game that I played ended in three turns as one player was able to collect one goal card on every turn. This is disappointing since the game feels like it ends as soon as it begins. With the game being so short the strategy in the game is never given a chance to reach its’ full potential.
I think the game ends so quickly due to a couple factors. First you usually have enough movement actions that you can move at least one of your pieces to any space on the gameboard. Another contributing factor is that a player can hold a goal card in their hand, move their pieces to the corresponding spaces, and then just claim the card from their hand as soon as they play it. Other players can’t prevent this since they have no idea what cards the other players are holding. The ability to move and rotate the tiles also plays a role. Using one or both of these actions makes it even easier to reach specific spots on the gameboard. Finally giving each player the ability to change one rule to start the game gives each player too many options as soon as the game starts. With every player increasing one of the rules it is likely that players will get to draw quite a few cards and/or move quite a few spaces each turn making it quite easy to claim goal cards.
So the game recommends that starting at four goal cards will extend the length of the game. Based on my experience this likely will only add one or two turns to the game as you will still likely get a goal card almost every turn. I honestly think the game should start at five or six goal cards and not have an upper limit of how many cards you might need to win the game. The length of one of the Fluxx card games can vary quite a bit. I like that the board game has a more set length but it just feels too short.
Component wise I would say Fluxx The Board Game is comparable to the other Fluxx games. I like the addition of the wood components even though they are kind of basic. The cardboard tiles are thick and durable enough. The cards are basically what you get from every other Fluxx game. The only real problem I have with the components is that the theme is not as strong as some of the more specialized Fluxx games. The artwork is fine but not as good as most of the other Fluxx games.
While Fluxx The Board Game tweaks the Fluxx formula, I don’t think it is going to change many people’s opinion of the franchise. If you hate the card game I don’t see you enjoying the board game. The board game has more strategy while giving you more control over your fate. The game is still pretty random though and still relies heavily on luck. A good strategy can help you in the game but usually luck is going to have to be on your side in order to win. Fluxx The Board Game is never going to confused for a highly strategic game so it will probably turn off serious gamers like every other game in the series.
Should You Buy Fluxx The Board Game?
Fluxx The Board Game is an interesting twist on the Fluxx card games. I like the card games but I have no problem admitting that they rely a little too much on luck. By adding a gameboard, Fluxx The Board Game actually adds a decent amount of strategy to the game. It will never be confused for a strategic game but it gives players more control over their fate in the game. There is still a high reliance on luck but it feels like your choices have a bigger impact on the outcome of the game. The game does have a problem with being too short though. Players will regularly be able to get a goal card on most turns which makes the game feel like it ends as soon as it begins. Still I think Fluxx The Board Game is slightly better than the Fluxx card games.
If you have never cared for the Fluxx series or don’t care for games with a high reliance on luck, Fluxx The Board Game is not going to be for you. If you like Fluxx but would like to try out a game with a little more strategy I think you should check out Fluxx The Board Game. If you have never played a Fluxx game before but think the idea of a game with ever changing rules sounds interesting, I think you could also enjoy Fluxx The Board Game.