[Note: I received a free copy of this game in exchange for a fair, unbiased review. Due diligence, full disclosure, and all that.]
Fluxx has been one of Looney Labs‘s flagship products for over two decades now. It’s the card game with constantly changing rules, a game where the path to victory can vanish or appear at a moment’s notice.
As it turns out, plenty. And with their latest release, Math Fluxx, the Looney Labs crew proves they still have plenty of tricks up their sleeves.
Now, anyone who has played Fluxx in the past is familiar with the basic gameplay: you collect keeper cards and put them into play. Different combinations of keeper cards complete different goals, and each player has the chance to put different keeper cards and goal cards into play in order to win.
Along the way, players affect how the game is played by utilizing action cards and new rule cards which alter what players can and can’t do. Suddenly, you’ll have to trade your hand with another player, or start drawing three cards each turn instead of one.
But instead of matching images like you do in most versions of Fluxx, in Math Fluxx players have to use keeper cards with numbers on them in order to complete different mathematical goals.
Some of the goals are simple, like having 4 and 2 as keepers to make 42 (the answer to life, the universe, and everything). But other goals are more complex, like forming two pairs of keeper cards like a poker hand, or having the highest score on the table in keeper cards.
For example, there’s a goal where you win if you’re displaying your own age with keeper cards. But since people playing will probably have different ages (and therefore, different keepers for that goal), you could lose by playing that goal too early.
Achieving these goals requires more strategy than your usual game of Fluxx — which is built more on seizing opportunities, since the gameplay is often quite chaotic — and the game’s creators doubled down on this by introducing new rule cards that let you achieve some of the goals in different ways.
For instance, instead of forming 42 with a 2 card and a 4 card, one new rule would allow you to complete that goal by playing keeper cards that, when multiplied, form 42.
These new wrinkles add a tremendous amount of depth to the gameplay (and I haven’t even mentioned the meta rule cards that alter gameplay for an entire session rather than a few turns, if players are feeling particularly ambitious).
Math Fluxx also cleverly sneaks in real-world mathematical concepts for younger players, in case you’re looking for a stealthy way to reinforce learning through playing games.
I was thoroughly impressed by the variety in new rules, goals, and gameplay tweaks introduced by Math Fluxx. It shows that there’s plenty of life in the Fluxx franchise, and that spirit of innovation and playfulness infuses each round of play, encouraging players to be just as clever and creative with their own gameplay.
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