PN Product Review: Star Trek Fluxx: The Archer Expansion and The Porthos Expansion

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[Note: I received a free copy of this game in exchange for a fair, unbiased review. Due diligence, full disclosure, and all that.]

Crossovers have always been part of the fabric of Star Trek. The Next Generation‘s debut episode had Dr. McCoy (and later cameos by Spock and Scotty), Deep Space Nine‘s debut had Picard (and later Worf joined the cast), and Voyager‘s debut actually launched from Deep Space Nine. Intermingling across time and space made the franchise feel like one enormous, interconnected, living universe, and it made each show stronger.

So it’s only natural that the folks at Looney Labs would want the same thing for their Star Trek-themed editions of Fluxx. Star Trek Fluxx and Star Trek: The Next Generation Fluxx could be played together with The Bridge Expansion, but there was no way to introduce cards or characters from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Fluxx or Star Trek: Voyager Fluxx.

Until now, that is.

Yes, now you can combine all four decks into one massive, constantly changing game with The Archer Expansion and The Porthos Expansion.

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For the uninitiated, Fluxx is a straightforward card game. 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. So you might find yourself working toward completing the goal at hand when suddenly somebody plays a new goal, and the object of the game changes.

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.

The game can turn against you or spin in your favor in an instant; that’s both the challenge and the fun of playing Fluxx.

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The Archer Expansion introduces elements from Star Trek: Enterprise, as well as time travel references that allow the cards from other Star Trek Fluxx decks to overlap (including having Goal cards in play from multiple decks).

Although the original four games will be overwhelmingly represented in your now massive mixed deck, multiple playthroughs quickly revealed that clever players still managed to use the expansion cards to their advantage more than expected. The sheer variety of Goals available meant that no one could keep track of every possible way to win, so a casual scan of the Keepers on the table wouldn’t reveal if anyone was close to winning.

And for anyone worried that mixing the decks would make it hard to return the cards to their original decks, the team at Looney Labs is one step ahead of you.

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From top to bottom, you’ve got the unique fonts for Star Trek Fluxx, Star Trek: TNG Fluxx, The Bridge Expansion, Star Trek: DS9 Fluxx, Star Trek: Voyager Fluxx, The Archer Expansion, and The Porthos Expansion. Although it’s easy to mix up cards from the expansion decks, there’s no mistaking any of the cards from the main four decks.

Speaking of expansions, let’s take a look at the other new offering on deck.

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The Porthos Expansion introduces a few more Star Trek: Enterprise characters (including Captain Archer’s dog Porthos), but is mostly focused on tying together the five Star Trek shows through new Goals and Keepers.

Easily the highlight of the deck is Data’s cat Spot, though I’m also a fan of the Starfleet Medical Goal and the New Rule card that grants an extra card to every player if Star Trek is on TV while you play.

Not only that, but the cards are packed to capacity with inside jokes and fun references to events from the series. (The “Former Borg” card even feels like a reference to the recent Star Trek: Picard show.)

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Star Trek fans could easily lose plenty of game time unearthing all of the connections, quotes, and moments from each show that are represented across both expansion packs. Seeing all the ways the franchise is interconnected is truly a joy, both as a Star Trek fan and a regular Fluxx player who is always looking for new opportunities to snatch victory from my fellow players.

Yes, mixing all four decks virtually guarantees much longer games — the sheer volume of cards makes matching Keepers and Goals tougher! — but if you’re looking for a dynamic, enjoyable way to get more out of your Star Trek Fluxx decks, these expansion packs are a brilliant way to go.

The Archer Expansion and The Porthos Expansion are both available from Looney Labs for $5 each. And you can find the Star Trek Fluxx decks for The Original SeriesThe Next GenerationDeep Space Nine, and Voyager for $20 each.

And you can check them out, alongside dozens of other great puzzles and games, in this year’s Holiday Puzzly Gift Guide!


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