Martian Fluxx from Looney Labs
ages 8 to adult (content suitable for the whole family)
5-30 minutes playing time
The BSF Lowdown: Looney Labs scores another hit with their newest version of Fluxx, Martian Fluxx. You must own it – and unless you’re wearing a Tin Foil Hat, our Mind Control Transmitter will compel you to buy a copy. So there.
In Martian Fluxx, Looney Labs bounces their classic Fluxx playing system off Mars and then sends it back to Earth again by casting players as invading Martians bent on inflicting their will upon a world filled primarily with pathetic humans and cows. The game plays up the sci-fi Martian theme brilliantly. It keeps you completely engaged and leaves you laughing your head off (or whichever body part a Martian laughs off, that is).
The game uses all of the classic Fluxx card types, such as Goals, Keepers, and ever-changing New Rules. It borrows the Creeper card concept from Zombie Fluxx, but now the Creeper Cards are humans. Just like they did in Zombie Fluxx, the creeper cards prevent you from winning the game unless you draw a particular goal.
The Martian Fluxx cards include a lot of classic Looney humor. References to Looney Tunes cartoons appear on cards like Human Season and Space Modulator, because what would a Martian invasion game be without a nod to the classic Looney Tunes character Marvin Martian? Looney included a little bit of self reference as well with the card Martian Chess.
The game also includes a couple of interesting twists with the Meta Rule and the Ungoal.
The Meta Rule card comes into play at the beginning of the game if all players agree to it. In this case, the Meta Rule puts a random time limit on the game, adding a sense of urgency to play. The Ungoal works just like a regular Goal, except when the conditions of the Ungoal get met, then the players lose the game. In keeping with the theme of Martian Fluxx, accomplishing the un-goal means that the humans win by throwing the Martians off the planet.
Several of the cards stand out. Favorites of our gaming group included Mars Needs Women, Grab That Cow, Humans Without Hats, and the ever popular Skloozmo (which, according to the card, is an untranslatable expression that roughly means “keep your tentacle on the Space Modulator”).
The Talk Like a Martian card easily wins my heart as a personal favorite. When this rule comes into play, players begin speaking in their best outrageous Martian-sounding voice. Players get to draw an extra card simply for using their outrageous voice, but if they maintain the accent and keep the voice going between rounds, they get to draw a second card. (I’ll let your imagination go with the thought of what voices our gaming group came up with.)
Like all versions of Fluxx, individual rounds of the game can be very unpredictable. Sometimes the game lasts 10 to 20 minutes; other times it ends before you even get your first turn. But that’s just part of Fluxx. (After all, if the game ends immediately, that just gives you more time to play again.)
If you want a fast-playing game that’s suitable for the whole family, then you need Martian Fluxx. It’s the best of classic Fluxx combined with a brilliantly executed Martian theme.
Kudos to Andrew Looney and the rest of the team at Looney labs on their new game. They outdid themselves once again!