Are you a Trekkie or a Jedi? Captain Kirk or Luke Skywalker? Spock or Obi Wan? I'll admit I grew up in the grey area between the franchises. The Phantom Menace had just released (and soiled the series in the opinion of many a Star Wars fanatic) and Star Trek Voyager was prime time viewing for my old man. Which, in turn, meant it was prime time viewing for me. Growing up I became obsessed with watching it and easily clocked around four cycles through the series in a year. From the beginnings of the Caretaker to the Borg Hive heist, I remember it in all its cheesy glory!! It can be chaotic, but it always ties itself together nicely... making it the perfect theme for Fluxx! Star Trek Voyager Fluxx is a hand management, set collection game for 2-6 players.
Star Trek Voyager Fluxx runs on the same mechanics and principles of any Fluxx game. Players use cards to manipulate the state of play and edge towards achieving the current goal.
To begin a game, the starting rule card is placed in view and reach of all players. Players then receive a three card hand and the deck is place central to all players. Players are now ready to play the game.
This particular variant of Fluxx has cards in similar categories of the others in the family, with one addition.
- Rule cards change the current rule set for all players. This includes how many cards are drawn, played, held and can even affect actions that can be done in a turn. These take effect immediately.
- Action cards allow players to do actions outside of the standard ones available. These are often used to gain an edge.
- Goal cards set out what players are aiming to achieve.
- Keeper card are things players have under their control. In Star Trek Voyager Fluxx, these come in varieties of objects, equipment and crew. They also have beneficial effects which players can utilise to win.
- Creeper cards are negatively impacting cards that are played as soon as they are drawn. They don't count towards the draw count but prevent players from winning unless stated otherwise.
- Surprise cards are the only cards played out of turn. These impact the current state of play or the current action.
Players take turns to draw and play the specific number of cards directed by the current ruleset. They may also use other rules where possible. The objective of the game is to achieve the current goal's objective by owning the required Keepers or other specific goals.
How It Handles
Fluxx was my first taste of controlled anarchy in a card game. It's unpredictable and actions can seem astronomically powerful and make you feel like you truly have the edge over your opposers. So is this just that with a Captain Janeway coat of paint slapped on top? Nope! I'd argue this is the most controlled Fluxx I've ever played. It still has the madness and lunacy of its predecessor but has cards that reduce those god-like powers but still ensure it's a fun, competitive game.
"The Enemy Of My Enemy..."
Creeper cards were new to me in Star Trek Voyager Fluxx. I hadn't experienced the burden of harbouring them before and they're a hindrance. You get one and chances are it'll attach itself to one of your Keepers, meaning that your only means of getting rid of it is to bin that Keeper. Normally this wouldn't be an issue but Keepers are coveted like gold. Every change in Goal may require one of the many cards you own... making you a target to both those Creepers and the creeps you play with. The Creepers work slightly differently to one another, but are generally a nuisance!
All's not lost, though. Being that blessing in disguise you never realised you needed, these Creepers may actually bag you the win! Imagine the rage on your opposers face when a combination of the dreaded Borg and Species 8472 grant you the victory you deserve!? What's more is how many cards can be used to remove, or just move, these Creepers! Don't let them sit pretty with any amount of crew cards, nail them with The Kazon! It's done really well and sits excellently within the theme, though drawing four in a row is a true kick in the teeth. Trust me, it always happens to me!
"We're Starfleet Officers. 'Weird' is a part of the job."
The Rule, Goal and Action cards in this little card game are gorgeously Star Trek-centric. So much so that an outsider with no understanding would find it charming, but weird. And that's ok! With so many Fluxx flavours, it's unlikely you'll get every quip and joke.. but I feel the cards in this one make it a little more accessible than its priors for the most part.
The Action cards still have Fluxx's original flair for the most part, but it works. It's those centred around the show and the puns used that you'll care about. Not enough to not use the ludicrously powerful Actions, but enough to want the Voyager flavoured ones!
The Goals are where the real weird kicks in. In a tremendously positive way, of course! Star Trek Voyager Fluxx's Goals are excellently reminiscent of the key events of the show. From the madness of the holo-deck to the key event's happenings as Voyager drifted through the Delta Quadrant, anyone who's seen the show would pick out every single one of these. What I like the most about this though is how specific they are to the show. No goal requires X cards or X Keepers. It's all centred on the show and the events within.
"Fun Will Now commence"
People have a love-hate relationship with Fluxx in my experience. You either love the anarchy, manipulatives and unpredictability or loathe it. I for one love it. It works, and works well! I find the game is balanced based on card use alone but can acknowledge some issues. For one, if you never draw a Draw X card rule, it'll be slow going for a short period. Also the Play All But One rule is torture - particularly if you have cards you don't want to play as they'll negatively affect you! But that said, it's part of the madness and helps balance out that guaranteed win hand of cards.
As soon as you've got people drawing and playing four cards a pop, you've then achieved that lunacy the designers wanted. You'll play fast and play aggressive, knowing full well everyone else will too. There can be no prisoners. No remorse. No forgiveness. It's just full throttle, Warp 9 with Phasers set to anything but stun.
Another Nostalgia Trip!?
As you've no doubt guessed, I love Star Trek Voyager. And I really enjoy Fluxx. For me though, the execution of the theme within the mechanics is fantastic. It's done really well and has the right number of references and hints needed to make it a stand out game for aesthetics. Fans will spend every turn referencing characters, episodes, events and the likes while non-Trekkies will just play a good game of Fluxx. It's definitely reignited my love of the show and I'm two seasons deep already. Overall I'd say the theme is just that, a theme. The execution of the game in the theme is what makes this a tonne of fun to play!
Star Trek Voyager Fluxx is a superb amount of card slamming chaos, perfect for light between games game. Fluxx as a franchise will never be the BIG game you choose to play, but it will be that fast-paced light game you'll play again and again. It has a solid amount of tactics to it and requires you to act on your feet at times. There's some take that in there too! Often, games are over before you can blink... but with such a speedy setup and play system, you'll have it going again in no time. And it's Star Trek! What more can I say!?