Gaming Unplugged: Zombie Fluxx

September 3, 2009

Fluxx from Looney Labs is a lightweight card game that plays quickly, is easy to learn, and is a blast at parties or any other group setting. Starting from the Basic Rules of “Draw One, Play One”, each player can affect the game in several different ways:

  • Playing a New Rule card changes the rules of the game. This may include drawing additional cards, playing additional cards, or any number of other effects. New Rules that contradict previously-played New Rules trash (eliminate) the older card.
  • Playing an Action card lets the player perform the action stated on the card. Pretty simple, no?
  • Playing a Keeper card gives the player something that (s)he keeps. Why would you want to keep them? Well…
  • Playing a Goal card lets everyone know how to win the game. There can only be one Goal in play; any new Goals trash a Goal already in play. Goals most often involve one or more Keepers (which is why you want to keep them). The game ends immediately if anyone meets the requirements of the current Goal, either because they obtained the correct Keepers or because they already met the conditions of the Goal card that was just played.

Between the ever-shifting Rules, constantly changing Goals, and chaotic Actions, it’s easy to see how Fluxx got its name. In case that’s not enough, Fluxx Blanxx offers you a set of blank cards to further add to the craziness. The game also exists in themed versions like environmentally-friendly EcoFluxx or the aptly-named Family Fluxx.

Clearly, what the Fluxx family needed was an army of brainless zombies.

Zombie Fluxx introduces two new card types that stand between you and achieving your Goal. The first type are Creepers, which represent the Zombies that give this version its name. Whenever someone draws a Creeper, they must play it face-up in front of them and draw another card to replace them; this continues until you’ve drawn the number of “normal” cards you were supposed to draw. There are four different types of Creepers, each depicting an increasing number of Zombies:

  • Regular Creepers are just a single Zombie with no special abilities.
  • Pairs of Zombies run away from you if you trash another of your Creepers on your turn (there are certain New Rules and Keepers that allow this), winding up with the player of your choice.
  • Zombie Trios don’t die like the others. Instead, when you trash them they move to the player on your left or right, depending on the arrow on the specific Creeper card.
  • The Zombie Quartet keeps coming back from the dead. When it gets trashed, it goes to the top of the deck instead of to the discard pile.

Some Goals require you to have Creepers in your possession, and others require you to have none; one Goal actually cares about the number of Zombies (not necessarily the number of Creepers) that you control. There’s also the other new card type: the Un-Goal; this card is treated like any other Goal, but if its conditions are met, everyone loses as the Zombies take over! Why would you play this? Well… sometimes you don’t have a choice (it’s the only card in your hand, for instance), sometimes it doesn’t matter, and sometimes you just play it to be spiteful!

With all the cheesy humor of a classic B-movie, Zombie Fluxx is a great way to spend some down time with up to six friends. Zombie Fluxx also contains rules for playing without the Zombies, in case you have any first-time Fluxxers in your group. I would definitely recommend playing “full” Zombie Fluxx once everyone knows the basics, however, as the Creepers add an interesting element to the game that isn’t present in other versions, but don’t get in the way of the fast-paced Fluxx gameplay.