[Note: I received a free copy of this game in exchange for a fair, unbiased review. Due diligence, full disclosure, and all that.]
The mission statement of Star Trek, through all its different iterations in film, television, novels, comic books, and other media, has been plain as day: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.
Cue the theme song.
So it’s only fitting that the designers at Looney Labs continue to do the same with their Fluxx library of games. They explore strange new words — from Adventure Time and Batman to anatomy and astronomy. They seek out ways to breathe new life to their now classic card game by tying in different entertainment universes. And they boldly take the game where it has never gone before.
Again, cue the theme song.
Now, they’re venturing into the Delta Quadrant with their latest Star Trek-inspired twist on Fluxx — Star Trek Voyager Fluxx — so let’s take a look, shall we?
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.
[In this sample game, we have both Keepers we need to fulfill the goal, but we’re prevented from winning because we possess the Creeper card as well.]
Star Trek Voyager Fluxx marries the chaotic gameplay of the card game with familiar characters and themes from the iconic science fiction franchise to create an enjoyable play experience that shifts at warp speed. Even long-time Fluxx players are kept on their toes by the constant tweaks and variations each new set introduces, this one included.
Like the other Star Trek Fluxx games, Voyager Fluxx has a unique font for the card titles — allowing you to complicate the game by mixing it with other versions, and still quickly locate the cards for each set when you’re done — as well as Goals, Keepers, Creepers, Actions, and Rule cards based on the TV show.
[From top to bottom, you’ve got the unique fonts for Star Trek Fluxx,
Star Trek: TNG Fluxx, The Bridge Expansion, and Voyager Fluxx.
(Not pictured: Star Trek: DS9 Fluxx)]
Whereas the Holodeck often came into play in the TNG edition of the game, Voyager Fluxx features coffee (Captain Janeway’s favorite), as well as the different time-travel ships Voyager encountered. (This plays into not only Keepers and Goals, but Action cards as well that affect the rules going forward.)
Some of the Keeper cards also grant additional actions to the players who use them — like taking additional cards, resolving Creepers that would prevent you from winning the game, etc. — that make them more desirable and handy than Keepers in other editions of the game.
Not only that, but the cards are loaded with inside jokes and references to events from the series. Classic lines are quoted, and the cards cover everything from various friendships and romances from the show’s history to some of its most controversial moments; I for one cannot believe they mentioned the episode where they broke the warp 10 barrier and turned into weird little lizards.
Heck, the Caretaker that kicked off the show’s seven-season storyline even appears, and can disrupt the game as powerfully as he disrupted Voyager’s first episode.
Fluxx has always been a game that invites opportunism, chaos, and flexibility, but even by Fluxx standards, Star Trek Voyager Fluxx might be the most malleable edition yet. The game shifts constantly, and long-time players will find themselves as uneasy and paranoid as newcomers to the game. (Given Voyager’s long trip through unfamiliar space, that seems like quite an appropriate mood to evoke. Well done on that one, Looney Labs.)
Every time I think like I’ve seen every trick Fluxx has to offer, they manage to surprise me. Although this isn’t the most complicated version of Fluxx I’ve ever seen — the absence of Ungoals is nice, though balanced by the Surprise cards that can be used at any time — it’s sufficiently fresh enough to keep players of all experience levels coming back for more.
[Star Trek Voyager Fluxx is available from Looney Labs and certain online retailers, and will be featured as part of this year’s Holiday Puzzly Gift Guide, launching next week, so keep your eyes open!]
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