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Math Fluxx Review

math fluxx (1)

In Constant Fluxx...

In 1997 Andrew and Kristin Looney brought a game of ever changing rules to the world that quickly became the marmite of card games. Presented as a deck of cards of very simple design, Fluxx threw out the rules, or to be more specific, took all the rules, shuffled them up, and threw them all together in a mad game of random chance. To start, each player receives three random cards and each turn consists of a draw one, play one mechanism.

From then on there are a number of different types of cards to play. First there are Keepers. These green cards are placed in your own personal play area, some coming with unique powers. Then there are pink Goals. Goals are how you win. Each goal card will show a collection of keepers and if that goal is in play when you have the matching keepers in your play area, you win. This forms the basis of the game.

Get keepers, find the matching goal and win. However, there are other types of cards that will mess with this system. There are action cards that perform instantly, enabling you to steal keepers or draw extra cards. And the cards that give the game its name, the rule cards. New rules can be added at any point and change gameplay considerably. Some of the classic rules might be that you draw or play more cards each turn, or that you have a hand size of one. It is these cards that build up into a crazy haze of chaos that will either make you love or hate this game.

A,B,C - Easy As...

There have been many versions of Fluxx since its original release. these have covered themes such as zombies, nature, pirates, Martians, fairy tales...the list goes on. One thing that linked them all however, was proper nouns! Every version had characters and locations or plant life and animals. But, in 2017 a side step was taken into the more abstract world of mathematics with Math Fluxx.

Firstly, I will ignore the use of the American ‘Math’ in the title. Secondly, what makes this version different? The main feature here is that every goal is a number. Some small, some large. They all have a title that either borrows from the world of maths, or from popular culture. I enjoyed the nod to the Beatles with ‘When I’m 64’. Next come the keepers, and with no surprise, they are also all numbers. The aim of the game is to achieve the goal number by creating an equation using your played keepers. This might be as simple as keepers ‘2’ plus ‘3’ equals goal ‘5’. If this is already starting to make your brain hurt them this edition might not be for you.

5 & 6 – Pick Up Goals

The thing that really stands out in this Math Fluxx version, is the variety of goals available. Although most will give you an explicit number, there are a mix of cards that are a bit more creative. The ‘Your Own Age’ card allows you to create goals that are different for each player. This may make things harder for the older members of the group and a lot easier for the younger ones. I also love how by presenting a goal that could be different for each player, you can bypass the usual competition for the same cards. ‘Today’s Date’ removes the need for an equation completely and just asks you to have the numbers of that day of the month.

There are others that do the same such as ‘Binary Number’ which happens to be one of my favourite. In order to win you need only ‘1’s and ‘0’s in front of you. And yes that includes ‘10’s. There is also an action card that plays with binary numbers in the same way. Perhaps the most complicated goal in the game is ‘One Hundred Pi’. This goal gives you ‘314’ but also adds that anyone who can go further in the sequence of pi will win overall. New rules can be added to change goals by making it only possible to win by using ‘+’s or by having multiple mathematical actions in their equations. Suddenly '2+8' won't win but '(1x2)+ 8' will. There is so much variability in this little deck!

7 & 8 – Playing It Straight/Boring

The thing that let’s down this edition is the lack of artwork. Illustrations are credited to Andrew Looney and are quite simply hand drawn numbers in different colours. Fluxx has a bit of a reputation for its lack of interesting artwork. The best looking editions utilising brand imagery like SpongeBob or marvel. However, with something as simple as numbers it feels like there is a real missed opportunity. With a little creativity there could have been more much needed charm in the deck.

That aside, I was surprised with just how much I enjoyed playing this version. This edition is by far the most playful with its goals. Despite not being particularly interesting to look at, it changes the game dramatically from any other deck. I am not a lover of maths by any stretch of the imagination, (I keep my phone calculator on my home screen!). However, there is something about the puzzle of the endless possible equations that just hooked me. If you like the game of Fluxx and have a few editions on your shelf but fancy changing it up a little, then this may be worth a try. But for those of you that go running at the mere thought of mental arithmetic, then maybe go for Zombie Fluxx which also offers some major changes to the game in a far sillier way.

That concludes our thoughts on Math Fluxx. Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts and tag us on social media @zatugames. To buy Math Fluxx today click here!