Many moons ago, before the onslaught of home ownership and parenthood, when flexible income and free time were to be had in abundance, ah good times, I’m sorry where was I? Back in the day, my husband and I used to play a lot of games. My husband is a board game geek, and I tagged along for the ride. We would play games with each other, with friends, with family, with anyone who would agree to learn the rules of Risk or Ultimate Stratego. With one group of friends we focused on card games, they led to the fewest arguments amongst spouses. After exhausting Phase 10, Rook, Skip-Bo and the like, we happened upon a new game in our local everything store: Fluxx by Looney Labs. You may have heard of it, if you haven’t I suggest you educate yourself quickly. The game is remarkable, it can take a minute from start to finish, or it can take up to an hour. Both rules and the aim of the game can change with every card that gets played, so the game you start playing is not the game you eventually win or lose. There are cards you keep, cards you play, cards that change the rules, and cards that change the whole point of the game. It’s not for the feint of heart. For the really obsessive, you can even join the fan club now, I’d better not tell my husband!
When Looney Labs came out with a Monty Python edition we lapped it up, likewise when the Zombie version came out so did the bowl of brains and salsa. Then they sent me a copy of Pirate Fluxx, needless to say my timbers shivered with excitement! What better way to celebrate Talk Like A Pirate Day, than to get points for every “Pretty Polly” against your family and friends.
This version plays a lot more like the original game than the other variations we have played so far. Of the additions to the variations, Looney Labs have kept the creepers, cards that work against you but are required to be played, but don’t seem to have included as many pirate specific action cards. That’s okay, you get extra plays for talking like a pirate so I’m happy. The first game we played lasted close to 50 minutes, a long game by Fluxx standards, but then we were playing with newbies. It seemed to be much harder to win at Pirate Fluxx than in the other versions, or perhaps just harder to pay attention while people are Yo-Ho-Ho-ing around you. When that “Talk like a Pirate” card gets played it’s contagious, people will start in on the action before their next turn even starts. In our case, after the game has finished too. That aside, the goals did seem much more unattainable. Yet that is the beauty of the game, the next time we play will be a completely different experience.
My husband and I really enjoyed the addition of surprise cards, these can be played during your turn or at random during someone elses turn. You play them differently depending on whose turn it is. My dad did not enjoy the surprise cards, but mostly because he couldn’t figure out how to play them, bless! The plunder card was interesting in that it was completely separate from any other theft card normally found in Fluxx. A bit more plundering would have greatly added to the game we felt, though we never got to use the actual plunder card. It would have been nice had the plunder rules applied to cards such as “Steal a keeper.” The Captain keeper and shackles creeper were the most sought after/despised cards and added extra depth to the game which heightened the enjoyment.
I don’t think this will be our go-to Fluxx game in the future, as Monty Python is our family favorite. However this will be a good one to bring out for September 19th every year, and to celebrate Johnny Depp’s Oscar for Pirates of The Caribbean 57: Curse of the Retirement Home.