Gaming This Christmas With Holiday Fluxx

Image: Sarah Pinault

No Christmas is complete without gathering the family round the table for a rousing game of (insert favorite game here). In our family, no Thursday is complete without it, but that’s just us. We’re a big fan of Looney Labs for a quick and fun card game, and this holiday season they have done it again with a seasonal twist on their most popular game: Holiday Fluxx.

Image: Looney Labs

The basic rules and tenets of the game remain the same. Each player starts with three cards, and the rules are draw a single card and play a single card, until a new rule card changes the rules. The goal is an ever changing object that you determine by playing certain cards. On your turn you can create a new goal, lay down a “Keeper,” or play an action card and do something immediately. It’s a game of both short- and long-range goals, all of which can be thrown out at a moment’s notice. All of the cards are rather more holly jolly than usual.

Unlike the most recent iterations of Fluxx, this version does not have any creepers, those dastardly little cards sent to thwart your victory. I am, however, tempted to make up a blank creeper card and create a few myself; Scrooge, the Grinch, and Bill Murray spring to mind. There was a special card issued in their holiday package this year: Mrs. Claus, a keeper that has the same properties as the Santa card. Also, this version includes a few ever popular surprise cards to throw an extra turkey bone in the works.

There are twenty-one new keepers, four surprise cards, thirty-two goals, and twenty-four new rules—a new rule for every day of Advent. The holiday game incorporates elements of Thanksgiving and Chanukah, though it is heavy on Christmas. Holiday-specific rules are the “Xmas Bonus” and “Regifting” cards. Some of the best themed cards come on the action cards however. In “gift Give-Away” every player must give away a keeper that they have before them. If you don’t have any, you are to be the first to receive a gift. In “Clear the Table” you must remove any keepers, held by any player, that are food related, such as Side Dishes or The Roast. In “Today’s Special” you get to draw three cards and play a different amount of them depending on what day it is. If it is your birthday you can play all three; if it is a holiday or a special day in your family, you can play two. For a normal day you can play one card.

Image: Looney Lab

The production value is of the high quality we have come to expect from Looney Labs, but it is the illustrations by Ali Douglass that absolutely steal the show. In an old time style, Douglass has created some wonderful images that add greatly to the enjoyment of game play. The old fashioned ornaments and twinkle lights are my favorite. Douglass’ Etsy store is on hiatus for the holidays but I thoroughly recommend checking it out in the new year. Her Sound of Music illustration is wonderful but the cityscapes are stunning: classic and eclectic in the best ways. It is rare that a game introduces me to a new artist, but this was a wonderful treat from Looney Labs.

All in all this game is a great stocking stuffer, great office gift, or just generally a great addition to both gaming closet and holiday repertoire.

GeekMom was provided with a copy of Holiday Fluxx for review purposes.



How Ecological! A Review of EcoFluxx

Photo: Melanie R. Meadors

Designed by Alison and Andrew Looney, EcoFluxx is one of the many games in Looney Labs’ line of Fluxx card games. Santa gave it to my son for Christmas, since he is such a huge fan of Cthulhu Fluxx and also because he’s a big lover of cute natural things.

But I wondered: Was it worth buying yet another Fluxx game? We already had three of them.

The blurb on the Looney Labs website is as follows:

In the wild, you must adapt to survive! Will you win by having your Bears Eat Fish? Or will someone change the Goal so that their Frogs and Insects can make Night Music? Play ecology themed Actions and Rules like Scavenger or Composting, but watch out for Creeper cards like Forest Fire, that can hurt everyone! Discover a little about how things go together, with EcoFluxx—the nature game of ever-changing rules!

Photo: Melanie R. Meadors

The packaging of the game is kid-friendly and appealing, at least to my kid. The same goes for the artwork on the cards, done by Derek Ring. Even I enjoyed looking through the cards at the various critters. Shockingly enough, the game is educational. Throughout play, my son was asking questions. “What’s this?” He was reminded about photosynthesis, recycling, and how composting works. There are predators and decomposition. And of course, all the fun gameplay that always comes with Fluxx.

To get an idea of how to play the game, the Looney Labs website has a copy of the rules. Gameplay can last anywhere from 2 minutes (I’m not kidding) to an hour, averaging about 15 minutes or so.

We’ve played with two and three people, but you can play with up to six. It’s the perfect game to play after dinner for a nice family activity, or even to take on a trip to play in the hotel.

The rules are super easy to learn, and it’s not a complex game. There is strategy involved, though, so don’t let the simple concept of the game fool you. The instructions say ages 8+ will enjoy, but I think that with some reading help, most 6-year-olds could enjoy it.

I would note that this is a nice addition to any homeschooler’s game library. There are so many opportunities for discussion about how life and the environment work together. It makes teaching the subject almost effortless. There is even a learning guide online for those who are interested.

All in all, I have nothing negative to say. EcoFluxx is a fun game for the whole family!

Photo: Melanie R. Meadors

Pirate Week: Gamin’ Like a Pirate

Image By Rebecca Angel

Avast! What will yer hearties be doin’ to pass the time on deck September 19th? Idle pirates are a dangerous lot, so here are some suggestions fer gamin’:

Loot be the best pirate-themed table-top game me crew has ever played. It says ages 10 and up, but younger have been able to join in. Always most fun while talkin’ in pirate-speak!

A close second is the pirate version of Fluxx!

Now if ye want to get fancy with some historical pirate games (or at least ones shown in a pirate movie), check out the rules for Liar Dice.

And if ya want to put some effort into a game fer yer mini-pirates, here are ideas for Pirate Scavenger Hunts.

Or if ye be a lazy pirate fer online fun:
Silly Pirate Personality Test
Pirate Name Generator
Plus a whole list of online pirate-theme games

Enjoy a gamin’ day at sea with yer hearties enjoying International Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Fluxx: The Card Game Gets a Board

All Images: Sarah Pinault

We’ve been playing Fluxx in our house since discovering it over a decade ago. We have played all of its iterations: Zombie, Oz, Star, Monty Python, and we have enjoyed every single one. To say that there was excitement in our family upon learning that Fluxx had become a board game would be an understatement. If you have never played Fluxx: The Card Game before, I suggest you start there. It’s a great game. For those who have already experienced the awesome that is Fluxx, get ready for the rules to be changed yet again.

The basic premise of Fluxx, the notion that has made it so popular, is that the rules are not static. You start with a set of basic rules—pick a card, use a card—and from there the cards that you lay down in the game play allow you to alter the aim of the game, and the rules by which you play.

Fluxx: The Board Game has a familiar feel to it. The same rules begin the game, only this time you have the chance to change a rule pre-game, just because. The Goal cards, New Rule cards, and Action cards all look the same, but gone are the Keepers that we have hoarded in the past. Instead you use a game piece to mark squares on the board. These squares do have a card counterpart. The Leaper cards each represent squares on the board, and allow you to leap your piece to that square. While in the card game much time was spent trying to match your Keepers to a goal card, in Fluxx: The Board Game, you are trying to accumulate Goal cards that match the positioning of your game pieces.

Flux HandThe other major change is that instead of tracking the rule changes with played cards, you track on a peg board. This will tell you how many cards to draw and play, what the hand limit is, and even how many moves you get. It also tells you of the new elements of the board game, the ability to use certain cards, and to jump from one side of the game to the other. The peg board does feel like it was only used to get away from the notion of using cards to change the rules, to take it another step closer to a board game. At the same time, it was nice to have one place to refer to instead of reading the cards for every turn. The peg board is made of cardboard, and not quite of the high quality I have come to expect from Looney Labs.

The card game can last from thirty seconds to an hour, with 45 minutes as our longest round. With Fluxx: The Board Game, you gain a little more ability to plan ahead which puts the game play in the 15-30 minute bracket. Almost every round we played lasted around 15 minutes, though I continued to play more with the card game rules in mind, and I suspect this hampered my ability to win, therefore shortening the game.

Looney Labs has done well in reaching out to the classics of board gaming to create this new game. The portals that you use to jump from one side of the board to another are very reminiscent of Clue, while the ability to bump a player from one space to another, or even to send them back to start, had me flashing back to the Sorry games of my childhood. These are both aspects of the game that I feel will endear it to my friend’s sixth grader, who loves both of these classic games.

While I still prefer the original version of Fluxx, this is a decent game to put into the rotation on family night. It feels as though it would be easier for younger/tired minds to track what was going on! It has a more finite play space, so you don’t need up to an acre of table to lay down new rules. At the end of the day, when the rules change this often, it keeps everyone on their toes and provides a giggle along the way.

To find out which Fluxx is the best fit for your family, you can check out previous reviews on GeekMom:

Lisa’s review of Monster Fluxx for something a little spooky.
Sophie takes a look at the Fluxx app, if you are more of a point and slide gamer.
My own take on Oz, Star, and Pirate.

Though, every version has its own merits, so I would have to advise having one in the house for every occasion!

GeekMom received a copy of this game for review purposes.

Review: Monster Fluxx—A Spooky New Addition to the Fluxx Family

All Photos by Lisa Kay Tate
Looney Labs’ new Monster Fluxx, the latest in their line of Fluxx card and tabletop games. Photo by Lisa Kay Tate

We’ve always been a tabletop gaming family, as well as Halloween enthusiasts, so when Looney Labs announced Monster Fluxx, a variation of its wildly popular card game Fluxx, we couldn’t wait to give it try.

The best thing from this mom’s point of view is the compactness and portability of this and all the Fluxx games. I can keep these in the kitchen drawer for easy access on game nights or toss it in my travel bag for overnight road trips. I’m forever looking for ways to avoid the television during hotel stays, and games like these are perfect pre-bed family activities.

This variation, featuring artwork of “premier monster artist” Derek Ring, features many of the favorite mainstays of the monster genre, including the classic mad scientist and creature, vampires, zombies, ghosts, teenage detectives, and a one-eyed moon man.

hand with cards
Keep an eye on the goal and actions, as they will change throughout gameplay. Photo by Lisa Kay Tate

The basic starting premise, as with most Fluxx games, is simple: draw a card/play a card per turn. However, that simplicity gets laid to waste once the first card is played. Thanks to the use of new rules and ever-changing goals, Monster Fluxx goes off in more directions than a confetti canon.

This frenetic quality caused the biggest points of frustration regarding the game, but also created some of the most fun moments. This is not a game for the easily distracted, as close attention must be paid to ensure you don’t get utterly, completely, and devastatingly lost (like I admittedly did a time or two).  There were also a few times when we weren’t entirely sure we were playing correctly. This is part of the beauty of the game, as it made for some big laughs and silly conversation; one of our main reasons for enjoying these types of games.

Patience is a key to getting the most out of this one as a family. Some younger players might need a few go-rounds before they catch on, while others who enjoy role-playing card games like Pokémon or Magic: The Gathering might find this a snap.

Two things are certain: it won’t be the same game twice and there will never be a dull moment for any player.

Monster Fluxx retails for $9.99, and is intended for 2 to 6 players, age 8 and older. Learn more at

 GeekMom received this item for review purposes.