Pirate Fluxx Review
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Players: 2-6 (ages 8+)
Playing Time: About 5-40 minutes

Lately, the wild and crazy card game engineers over at Looney Labs have been busy coming up with all kinds of wacky variations on their fan-favorite games. In recent years, I’ve eagerly examined the pros and cons of Martian Fluxx and Monty Python Fluxx, along with updates of old favorites like Family Fluxx and Eco Fluxx (always with help from my favorite game-playing guinea pigs, my niece and nephew, who only agree to hang out with me if I come bearing a deck of Fluxx cards). Now, the latest addition to the Fluxx family, Pirate Fluxx, combines the popular Fluxx game play with a jolly new theme—and a powder keg of new surprises.

For the most part, the rules of Pirate Fluxx are the same as earlier versions of the game. It starts with the same basic rules: on each turn, you draw one card and play one card. The card you play could be a New Rule, an Action, a Keeper, or a Goal—and, with each card played, the game changes just a little bit. The object of the game is to match the Keeper cards in front of you with those indicated on the current Goal—but that’s easier said than done, since the rules (and the Goals…and your Keepers) are constantly…in flux.

In addition to the fun pirate theme (Yar!), Pirate Fluxx also features a few twists. This time around, the Creeper cards (those nasty cards that prevent players from winning) are kept to a minimum—there are only two. Pirate Fluxx also introduces some new cards—called Surprise cards—which can be used to change things up at any time during the game, regardless of whether it’s your turn.

Mixed in with the familiar Actions and New Rules, you’ll also find some new pirate-themed cards. My personal favorite is the Plunder! Rule, which allows players to plunder a Keeper card from any other player during each turn. It makes the game even more unpredictable—and it gives players one more thing to think about during each turn. But, well, it’s always fun to steal cards from your opponents (even—or perhaps especially—if you have no need for them).

With things like Surprise cards, the Plunder! Rule, and various cards with dual functions, you’ll definitely have a lot to keep track of while playing the latest version of Fluxx—but not so much that it’s overwhelming. Of course, it helps if you’ve played the basic version of the game first—so you’ll already have a good grasp on the rules. But once you’ve gotten the hang of it—and you’re ready to step up your game a bit—you’re sure to find that Pirate Fluxx is a not-so-buried treasure (and it’s a whole lot more fun than walking the plank).

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