Brains…I Need Brains…!
Everyone knows that Zombies love brains, and to play this game by Looney Labs, I'm not even sure you need much upstairs. That's not to say the game isn't a riot – it totally is a lot of fun to play! However, if you're the type of person used to strategizing every time you play a game, you won't be able to do so with this game. The great thing about Zombie Fluxx is that it's always changing – the rules, the objective, everything. This constant state of, well, fluctuation can make it very difficult to plot a strategy for winning the game! That makes it an excellent option for people who don't really like strategy games, the person who always loses because someone always finds a way to use strategy in even the least strategic game, and even the person who always wins. This game mixes it all up and makes everything dependent upon chance.
How Zombie Fluxx is Played
Zombie Fluxx starts with two basic rules – you draw one card and you play one card. That seems simple enough! Once you've put the basic rules card down on the table, you can then shuffle the deck and deal three cards to each player. The player who calls "First!" gets to go first. You'll need to have a preliminary round to process any creepers. Creepers are the cards with the zombies on them. Once you've played a Creeper card, you must immediately draw another card – until all players have cards sans zombies!
Soon after you start, though, the game can change and get progressively more complicated. The type of cards drawn will dictate how the game play continues. Goal cards dictate the conditions for winning the game. Rules cards dictate how many cards must be drawn, how many cards must be played, and more. Action cards cause various activities to happen during the course of the game. Keeper cards give you special powers that allow you to get rid of particular Creepers and meet the goal to win the game.
Finally, it should be noted that there are no ties – if two people meet the conditions for winning the game, play continues until only one person meets the conditions for winning. New players can jump in at any time – they are dealt a hand of three cards, just as if they were beginning the game fresh.
Game Art (2 out of 5)
The art on the game is very basic, but it's fun and entertaining. The images appear to be pen and ink drawings and the cards have a stripe along the left side. Aesthetically speaking, the art on the game is nothing to write home about. Some of the details are amusing, but for the most part, the illustrations get the job done. The art on these cards is nothing when compared with the art on other card games like Magic the Gathering – but that's not why you're playing this game anyway.
Game Play (5 out of 5)
You're playing this game because you want the opportunity to get rowdy and rambunctious. With actions and rules that cause you to moan like a zombie every time you play a Creeper card, you'll be giggling in no time. Imagine the humor as Grandpa moans "braaaaaiiins!" Because the rules change, you can find that just when you thought you were going to lose and your opponent was going to win – you get a goal card that allows you a way to win. For example, if the current goal is "We Need Firewood" (requiring that you have lumber, a chainsaw, and no Zombies in front of you), and you don't meet any of those requirements other than having no Zombies, don't give up! Someone might play the new "provisions" goal card, meaning that you need the sandwiches and coffee cards to win – and guess what! You have them! Additionally, it's possible that no one wins if someone draws and plays the ungoal – when that card is played, the Zombies win!
The game is fast-paced (unless you're playing with my son who manages to find a strategy to win every game we play!), and it is never the same twice. Should you run out of cards in the deck while playing, you can simply reshuffle and continue the game.
Also, you can combine Zombie Fluxx with any of the other Fluxx games for even more options. This makes the game more customizable – you can add regular Fluxx cards, Monty Python Fluxx cards – really, it's up to you how you will play the game. This also keeps it from becoming a stale card game that is played a few times then finds its home at the bottom of the game basket.
Time to Play (5 out of 5)
Unlike some games that require a lot of setup and an entire afternoon to play (I'm thinking games like Settlers of Catan, Age of Mythology, Risk, and Civilization) this is a game that takes 10-40 minutes to play. That means you can play one round of it between activities or on a break – or you can have a back-to-back brain gathering festival!
If you're looking for a game that will challenge you, constantly, to come up with new strategies to win, then Zombie Fluxx is the game for you. The game is for 2-6 players, and it runs around $16.00. Since purchasing the game last year, it has made its way into the regular repertoire of games used in my monthly card and board game night – and it's played on a regular basis on the weekends.
- Looney Labs’ Zombie Fluxx site: http://www.wunderland.com/LooneyLabs/Fluxx/Zombie/
- Photographs courtesy of Ronda Roberts