Martian Fluxx Review
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Players: 2-6 (ages 8+)
Playing Time: 5-40 minutes (though a new “Meta Rule” card also allows for a pre-set time limit)

Warning, Earthlings: these Martians don’t come in peace! In Martian Fluxx—the latest version of the fast-paced, quick-change card game from Looney Labs—players are Martians who have set out to conquer Earth. The only problem? The Pathetic Humans keep getting in the way.

Like Monty Python Fluxx, Martian Fluxx is played just like regular Fluxx—only with a few small, theme-based changes. As with all Fluxx games, each player starts with three cards. In the beginning, the rules are simple enough: when it’s your turn, just draw one card and play one card. But, with each new card that’s played, the rules can change—and the game’s goal can change, too (see my Fluxx review for more on the basic game play).

Meanwhile, you might find yourself collecting Pathetic Human cards—the grim Creeper cards—which, according to the basic rules of the game, can prevent you from winning. This time around, though, the Creepers aren’t quite as deadly as they have been in the past—which makes the cards a lot less frustrating than they have been in earlier versions. In fact, your Creepers can actually help your chances of winning. And, fortunately, once you get a Creeper, you’re rarely stuck with it—because many of the other cards give you plenty of opportunities to dump your Creepers (or give them to an opponent). So, even if you end up drawing a Creeper or two during the game, it still doesn’t ruin your chances of winning; it just puts another roadblock in your way.

The Martian Fluxx deck is filled with fun, alien invasion themed cards—from quirky Creepers and Keepers to goofy Goals. Even the Rule cards and Action cards get in on the fun. As with Monty Python Fluxx, though, that means that there’s a lot going on. Not only do you have to keep an eye on the ever-changing Goals and Rules (while trying to get rid of your Creepers), but some cards also have more than one use. For instance, if you have the Mind Controller Keeper on the table, you can also use it to move a Pathetic Human Creeper to another player. Or, if you have the Tin Foil Hat Keeper on the table, you’re immune to the powers of the Mind Controller. You definitely need to pay close attention to your Keepers and Creepers—and, as such, the game can sometimes get a bit complex.

In general, Fluxx is a surprisingly easy game to learn—because there aren’t a whole lot of rules to learn. For the most part, there are just five basic types of cards—and, once you understand what each one does, you’ll be ready to play. And the quirky alien theme of Martian Fluxx only adds to the fun. Of course, because of the game’s complexities, younger players will probably need some help—but grown-up Fluxx fans (especially those with a weakness for all things sci-fi) with enjoy this other-worldly edition of my favorite ever-changing card game.

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