PuzzleNation Product Review: Doctor Who Fluxx

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

The crew at Looney Labs have masterminded all sorts of pop culture crossovers with Fluxx — Batman Fluxx, Firefly Fluxx, Adventure Time Fluxx, and more — but they’ve outdone them all with the latest addition to the Fluxx card game library: Doctor Who Fluxx.

It’s a natural fit, to be sure. The Doctor travels through time and space, righting wrongs, exploring the universe, and periodically transforming into new versions of himself (a process known as regeneration).

In addition, the show itself can vary wildly from fantasy and science fiction to horror and mystery, all whilst remaining family friendly. So when you’re talking about a game where the rules change constantly, what better represents the Fluxx philosophy than Doctor Who?

And the creators have gone all out to make Doctor Who Fluxx both a great gaming experience for those unfamiliar with the show and an absolute, reference-loaded blast for Doctor Who fans.

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.

So not only are the various versions of The Doctor (and his companions) your keeper cards, but long-time enemies like The Master, the Daleks, and the Weeping Angels serve as creeper cards that prevent players from achieving victory. And every Goal card represents either a relationship from the show or a clever reference to a quote, running gag, or key moment from the 50-year history of the TV show.

And the Doctor Who-tinged details don’t end there. New Rule cards and Action cards incorporate quotes and moments from the show, making clever use of Fluxx’s malleable rule set to add more sci-fi-fueled chaos to the game.

Probably my favorite card — among many that pay homage to the source material — is the Future Doctor Keeper Card. Not only does it acknowledge that there’s always a new Doctor lurking in the show’s future, but it makes for a crafty game mechanic, as the card immediately becomes the highest numbered Doctor in the game.

(So, for instance, if you’re trying to achieve the Regeneration Goal — which requires two Doctor Keeper Cards in sequential order, you can pair the Future Doctor card with the Twelfth Doctor.)

Even if I wasn’t a fan of the TV show, I still would’ve thoroughly enjoyed testing out Doctor Who Fluxx. A great deal of time, energy, and creativity has clearly gone into incorporating huge swathes of the Doctor Who franchise into the gameplay itself, and it shows. The game remains infinitely replayable, bringing the best of Fluxx and the best of The Doctor together. This is, without a doubt, the best version of Fluxx yet. What fun!

Doctor Who Fluxx will be available November 23, but is available for pre-order by clicking here! And to check out all of our reviews of Looney Labs games and products, click here!


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The 2017 New York Toy Fair, Part 2!

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On Tuesday, I gave you a general rundown of what it was like exploring the massive spread of puzzles and games on display at this year’s New York Toy Fair.

In today’s post, I’d like to highlight some of the puzzles and games that most impressed me. I think many of these will also appeal to many of my fellow puzzlers and PuzzleNationers as well.

So let’s dive right in!


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One of the prime spots in the Launchpad area for first-time attendees was given to the team at Steamforged Games Ltd., who have brought the video game franchise Dark Souls into the board-game realm.

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Between one and four players can test their mettle against various creatures, battling to capture their souls and use them to make your character stronger and more capable. The impressive array of miniatures, player cards, and tokens makes for an interactive experience that should satisfy both video game fans and board gamers alike.

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For a more traditional family-friendly puzzle game, the crew at Befuddled Games has you covered with Kerfuddle and Tree Top Hop, both of which are suitable for solvers of any age group.

Kerfuddle combines a touch of Boggle with the ever-changing gameplay of Fluxx. Roll the dice and use them to form words, but be careful — the “Shake It Up” cards can make your word forming much more challenging.

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Tree Top Hop is a great intro game for young players, as they move around the tree top, spelling words on their cards and racing to the treasure at the center of the board. By combining word-building and strategy, this is a terrific gateway game for new players.

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Along the same lines as Kerfuddle is Twizmo! Words, except instead of dice, you have a Rubik’s Cube-style Twisty puzzle providing you with the letters you’ll use to build your word list. Designed by the same team who brought us Tak•tak, Twizmo! Words is a strong quick-play game for any Boggle fans in your household.

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Snippets takes the list-building idea in another direction. Instead of random letters, you’re given a three-letter snippet of a word, and it’s up to you to come up with as many words containing that snippet as possible. So, if you’ve got TRA, you can write down EXTRA, TRAIN, STRAP, and so on.

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And to close out this collection of word-forming games, we have Letter Tycoon, which adds a monetizing mechanic that really spices up the gameplay. Here, not only are you making money by forming words, but you can patent letters so that when other players use them, you cash in as well. It’s a really clever take on the word-building genre of games.

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We now move on from combining letters to combining jigsaw pieces. The puzzles from Palmetto Puzzle Works all center around tessellations — shapes that repeat and interlock in many different ways.

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Whether you’re trying to fit the pieces into a given space or you’re connecting them freestyle, these well-made wooden puzzles bring an M.C. Escher touch to the world of jigsaw-style solving.

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Beasts of Balance, on the other hand, has players using game pieces in a different way, as solvers stack the animal shapes and try to keep their ever-growing tower of creatures and artifacts from toppling over. The game has a tablet interaction feature that enhances both the gameplay and the storytelling aspect of the game, making the most of new school and old school puzzling.

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But if you’re looking to do some puzzly building in a different way, Maze by Seedling is a solid choice. Here, you can map out and design your own marble maze, and then tackle your own creation with a fully-functioning labyrinth board, complete with marbles, walls, and holes to avoid.

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And while we’re on the subject of do-it-yourself puzzling, the crew behind Pinbox 3000 have designed a build-your-own pinball game system that allows for infinite customization. They give you everything you need to build a functioning game, and then leave the theme, bells, and whistles totally up to you.

I wrote about this one back when it was a Kickstarter project, and it was cool to see the brand continuing to thrive and grow.

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Another gaming classic with a modern twist is Tatsu, which combines Asian-inspired mythology with backgammon-style gameplay. Designed by the same creative team as the tile-placement game Hive, Tatsu is a clever, elegant game all about strategy and guile. It’s easy to learn and tough to master, and I suspect it will do quite well.

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If you’re looking to combine strategy with rapid-fire gameplay, Tenzi is for you. In Tenzi, you’re given ten dice, and you have to keep rolling them until all ten match. It’s like Speed Yahtzee! But with dozens of additional variant games at your disposal, from stacking to scoring to rule-shifting games, this dice game has legs and is easy to tote around to play anywhere.

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If you’re looking to take your card games anywhere, the team at Narrows Hill have a great solution for you. The Card Caddy is not only a protective case for any deck of cards, but it opens up into a perfect card-dealing and sorting setup for ease of play.

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We also got an early glimpse of a forthcoming addition to the Fluxx family of card games. Since Fluxx is celebrating 21 years on the market this year, the crew at Looney Labs is celebrating with Drinking Fluxx, a spirits-soaked version of their famous chaotic rule-shifting card game.

You can mix and match the various ingredients to try to create a winning formula (and perhaps a sideline as a bartender for your fellow players). Just make sure you call a cab after playing.

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Whereas Tenzi and Fluxx are quite portable, Banana Bandits from CMON Games requires some space, since you have an entire 3-D building to set up as your game board. As you and your fellow players try to prove yourselves as worthy successors to the boss of the Banana Bandits, you’ll climb and explore the building, collect coins, and tangle with opponents, all on an impressively realized game space.

Will you be top banana, or is it time for you to split?

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And the last game I’ll be discussing today is Doctor Who: Time of the Daleks, an elaborate galaxy-spanning game where you play as one of six Doctors traveling across time and space in order to complete missions, save the innocent, thwart your enemies, and generally wreak timey-wimey havoc.

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Between the terrific miniatures and the expansive options available for players, this was one of the highlights of Toy Fair for me, and I can’t wait to see how they incorporate additional Doctors into the game later down the line.

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Obviously this is just a small sample of all the fantastic, eye-catching puzzles and games that graced New York Toy Fair this year. But nonetheless, it’s an impressive group, covering so many different aspects of the puzzle and game world, and constantly blazing new trails in terms of creativity and innovation.

I have no doubt you’ll be seeing more about some of these projects as 2017 rolls onward.

[You can check out our full gallery of photos from New York Toy Fair on Facebook by clicking here!]


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You can also share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and explore the always-expanding library of PuzzleNation apps and games on our website!

It’s Follow-Up Friday: PUZZLES…IN…SPACE edition!

Welcome to Follow-Up Friday!

By this time, you know the drill. Follow-Up Friday is a chance for us to revisit the subjects of previous posts and bring the PuzzleNation audience up to speed on all things puzzly.

And today, I’m posting the results of our #PennyDellPuzzleSciFi hashtag game!

You may be familiar with the board game Schmovie, hashtag games on Twitter, or@midnight’s Hashtag Wars segment on Comedy Central.

For over a year now, we’ve been collaborating on puzzle-themed hashtag games with our pals at Penny Dell Puzzles, and this month’s hook was #PennyDellPuzzleSciFi, mashing up Penny Dell puzzles and anything and everything having to do with cartoons, animated film and television shows, characters, catchphrases, famous lines…anything!

Examples include The Day The Earth Stood Syll-acrostic, Captain James T. Kirkuro, Keep ON Asi-moving, or Mystery Person of Interest.

So, without further ado, check out what the puzzlers at PuzzleNation and Penny Dell Puzzles came up with!


Star Wars!

Obi Wan & Only KenKen-obi / Obi-Ken Kenobi

Star Words: Attack of the Pine Cones

Star Words: The Empire Strikes Blackout!

X-word fighter

Anagram Skywalker

“These Three aren’t the droids you’re looking for.” / “These aren’t the Drop-Outs you’re looking for”

“Do or do not. There is no Try-Angles.”

”May the Fore ‘n’ Aft be with you”


Star Trek!

“Beam me Ups and Downs, Scotty!”

“The Double Trouble with Tribbles”

Deep Space Nine of Diamonds

Captain Jean-Lucky Star

Captain Kathryn Right of Way

“Make the Connection so.”

“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of A Few Choice Words.”

“Live long and progressions”

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kenken


Starspellman

Simon Says: In space, no one can hear you scream.

Battleships Galactica

Nineteen Eighty-Foursomes

Slaughterhouse Fancy Fives

A Wrinkle in Rhyme Time

Piggyback to the Future

Triplex Machina

The Frame-inator

“May the Solicross be with you” [Glenn’s note: I know this sounds like Star Wars, but it feels more Spaceballs to me.]

“Now that’s the worst disguise ever. That guy’s gotta be an Analog.”

Double Trouble in Little China

Garth Marenghi’s Darkplaces, Please

Flower Powers for Algernon

WordbEnder’s Game

Penny’s next puzzle…The Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything (answer on page…42)

So It GOes FISH

Heads & Tails from the Darkside

A Clockworks Orange

Galaxy Word Quest

Face to Face/Off

3rd Rock from the Sunrays

Tales from the Crypt-ograms

Two at a Time Lords

Doctor Who’s Calling

Close Encounters of the Three of a Kind

“Curse your Sudoku but inevitable betrayal!”

“You can’t Give and Take the sky from me.”

Doomsday Bookworms

Spanners

Weird and Wacky Science Words

RoboCombos

When Word Games Collide

The Puppet Mixmasters

Godzilla vs. Guess Who

Ringersworld

E.T. the Exchange Board

“E.T. Phrase Craze”

Flash Grand Tour

War of the Word Quest

Alphanumeric-ageddon


And the PuzzleNation readership got involved as well! @HereLetty delivered the terrific Galaxy Quotefalls and War of the Wizard Words!

Have you come up with any Penny Dell Puzzle SciFi entries of your own? Let us know! We’d love to see them!

Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on everything PuzzleNation!

You can also share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and explore the always-expanding library of PuzzleNation apps and games on our website!

The greatest gift exchange there never was…

It’s Christmas Eve, so hopefully you’ve perused our Holiday Puzzly Gift Guide and completed all your shopping in a timely and not-at-stress-inducing, hair-tearing-out manner.

But if not, fear not! Some of the puzzliest and cleverest people in the artistic, board game, and puzzle communities may have just come up with the perfect last-minute solution for you.

You’re probably familiar with the concept of the White Elephant gift exchange, wherein everyone supplies a gift, and then a game of keeping or swapping takes over, allowing people to take turns, develop friendly little rivalries, and generally enjoy a bit of holiday frivolity.

But have you ever heard of a White Heffalump exchange?

This year, numerous game designers, artists, and puzzlers were recruited by Mike Selinker, the head of Lone Shark Games, to participate in a White Elephant gift exchange. But this exchange had a marvelous twist: every gift was imaginary.

So everyone involved — including such names as James Ernest (head of Cheapass Games, publishers of Veritas), John Kovalic (artist for Munchkin and creator of ROFL!) and puzzler constructions Eric Berlin and Brendan Emmett Quigley — created an imaginary gift for the exchange.

And then they all played the game on Twitter, so fans and friends could enjoy the madcap holiday cheer.

Here are a few of the “gifts” created for the White Heffalump gift exchange:

It’s easy to imagine a trip with The Doctor would be a highly sought-after prize.

What’s more heartwarming than retroactively sharing a friendship since first grade? (And possibly an iron-clad alibi, should you need one…)

It’s like one of those grab-the-money booths from an old game show, but with SWEETS!

A formidable steed and a delicious meal all in one. You can’t lose!

And the wily Matt Forbeck offered up the ideal machine for generating presents for next year’s White Heffalump exchange.

From “time to play with toys” and a dapper platypus to a 29-word crossword and a wish-granting pocket pet, the gifts were hilarious, innovative, and absolutely ridiculous, and the gameplay back and forth as people traded and stole gifts was just as entertaining.

[For more details on the exchange, check out Matt Forbeck’s write-up here or Mike Selinker’s incredibly thorough recap here.]

So, if you’re still struggling with gift ideas, you can always go the White Heffalump route. It’s creative, low-budget, and loads of fun. Enjoy!

Thanks for visiting the PuzzleNation blog today! You can like us on Facebookfollow us on Twitter, cruise our boards on Pinterest, check out our Tumblr, download our Classic Word Search iBook (recently featured by Apple in the Made for iBooks category!), play our games at PuzzleNation.com, or contact us here at the blog!