[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!
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