Family Fluxx Review
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Players: 2-6 (ages 6+)
Playing Time: varies (the box suggests 2-30 minutes)

A couple of years ago, I first introduced my 11-year-old nephew and eight-year-old niece to my favorite card game, Fluxx. Since the game is recommended for ages eight and up, though, my niece needed some help—and it wasn’t until last year that she was finally able to play on her own. If we’d had a copy of Family Fluxx, though, she may have started playing on her own much sooner.

Like other versions of Fluxx, Family Fluxx is a fast-paced card game that has players racing to meet the game’s goal before it changes again. The basic rules are the same as they are in the original version. Players start with three cards each. In the beginning, on your turn, you draw one card and play one card from your hand. This could be a Goal card, which tells players what they need to do in order to win the game. It could be a Keeper, which will help you complete the goal. It could be an Action card, which instructs you to complete a one-time action (like trading hands with an opponent). Or it could be a New Rule, which alters the rules of the game. For instance, you could play a New Rule that requires everyone to draw two cards instead of one at the beginning of each turn.

Play continues until one player completes the current goal and wins the game.

Really, there are just a couple of differences between regular Fluxx and the family version. First, the cards are designed for younger players, with kid-friendly Keepers (like The Cat and The Stick and The House) and fun, kid-friendly Goal cards—from Recess to Cake and Ice Cream. There are a few kid-specific New Rule cards, too. And those sinister (and often rather confusing) Creeper cards, which can be found in recent adult versions of Fluxx, are nowhere to be found.

Still, the basic rules of the game—and many of the cards—are the same (or at least similar). It’s still a fast-paced game that’s constantly changing, and it still requires strategy and concentration—not to mention a little bit of practice. So although the game is recommended for ages six and up, younger players might still need a little bit of extra help. I recommend teaming up with your young Fluxx fan for the first few rounds—until he or she clearly grasps the rules.

The Family Fluxx deck is also much smaller—about half the size of a regular Fluxx deck. So while cards may be similar, there are much fewer of them—and games rarely last more than about 10 minutes. That makes it great for young players (who might lose interest in a longer game), but it also make it the perfect way to pass the time while you’re waiting for the pizza guy (or your friends) to arrive.

Basically, Family Fluxx is a lot like regular Fluxx—after someone played the Rules Reset card. It’s simplified and stripped down, without all of those extra twists that make the adult versions more challenging (and sometimes a bit frustrating). So whether you’re playing with a child or a grown-up beginner, Family Fluxx is a great place to start. And for die-hard fans, if you’ve got just a few minutes to fill, it’s a quick and fun way to pass the time.

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