Thursday, December 17, 2009

Zombie Thursday: Zombie Fluxx

Zombie Thursdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here.

Last week’s blog became a fairly in-depth look at voodoo zombies; I was even accused of being too smart by this blog’s owner! I will admit it got pretty scientific and researchy, which is what I promised you all the week before last.

This week, let’s get back to the lighter side of zombies (and I’m not talking about their ability to love or show mercy)! Every once in awhile I’m going to try and do a ‘review’ or some sort, be it zombie inspired music, zombie movies, or this week-- a zombie game!

On the table this week (or actually, on the living room floor) is a card game called Zombie Fluxx. This version is one of several in the “Fluxx Family.” I first discovered Fluxx in 2005 when I was living and working in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. There was this amazing store called Puzzles, Pranks, and Games which sold, well... puzzles, pranks, and games. I used to go every few weeks and pick up a new puzzle or board game, and I always valued the recommendations of the staff (the owners of the store were also performers in the production I was in). One day I decided to purchase original Fluxx, and I’m certainly glad I did! It is billed as the “Ever Changing Card Game” because there aren’t any set rules or objective to the game... they literally change throughout the game. Sound complicated? It can be!

Players are dealt three cards each. Each player takes turns in order and to begin with there are only two rules-- draw one card, play one card. That’s it! But it builds from there; some of the cards you can play are called “New Rule” cards, which either build on to the existing rules or replace them completely. There are “Keeper” cards which are laid out in front of you and are what help you win by achieving whatever “Goal” card comes into play. The goal of the game usually requires a player to have two Keepers that go together, for example, one goal in Fluxx is to the have a “Bedtime Snack” which means you must have a Milk Keeper and the Cookies Keeper laid on the table to win. The Goal can also change constantly throughout the game, so no objective is set in stone.

Jump now to Zombie Fluxx. The basic principles of Fluxx remain... but throw some undead terror into the mix, and you’ve got yourself a chaotic ever changing, quick thinking Zombie good time! Not only do you have the Keeper Cards (in this edition they are cards like Brains, Chainsaw, Baseball Bat, and Friends), but you also must deal with the (typically) unwanted Creeper Cards, aka the Zombies!! New rules allow you use some Keepers, like the chainsaw, as weapons to kill the zombies that are laid out on your side of the table (when a player draws a Creeper, they must immediately play it, and as in real life, you do not want zombies up in your grill!). The Goal cards in this version are things like “They Fear Fire” where you must have a Can of Gasoline Keeper and the Lumber Keeper to win (very Night of the Living Dead, huh?) and “I Alone Survived” in which the player must have the Car Keeper, no Friend Keepers, no Zombies, and all other players must have at least one Zombie card. Goals such as this one have so many points you must meet that it can be complicated to win.

It is also possible for everyone to lose in this version of Fluxx. There is one card called the Ungoal. It acts like a Goal card, but if the conditions are met, ALL players instantly lose because the Zombies kill you all! Why would you ever play this card? Simple-- some of the New Rules may force you to play cards in your hand, even cards you wouldn’t want to play... including the Ungoal!

My parents just flew home for the holidays, and what a better way of welcoming them home and spending a little quality time together than by killing some zombies? My mom and I sat down for two games of Zombie Fluxx and had a pretty good time playing. One downside to the game is that the rules, or lack of rules, can be a bit confusing or complicated to explain to first time players. It helps in playing the Zombie version if the players are already familiar with original Fluxx. We had played Fluxx a few years ago, but I had to explain the rules to her from scratch, not only Fluxx in general, but all the added rules of the zombie expansion.

The best way to learn this game is to just play it and learn as you go. How all the cards interact with each other begin to make sense as you start laying things out and playing the different Goals, Rules, and Actions. Our first match didn’t get too crazy. I think we stuck to the basic rule of “draw one, play one” for the whole game with few other New Rule cards coming into play. The Goal that lasted throughout our first match was the “I Survived Alone.” I won the first game almost by default. I had the Car Keeper in my hand, but unfortunately had zombies. My mom made a goof and played a card that allowed me to kill one zombie on my next turn. In the game, there are single zombies, pairs of zombies, trio, and quartets of zombies. If you kill a zombie, and you have a “pair of zombies” card, that pair gets “scared” and runs to the player of your choice. My mom set up my win by allowing me to kill my one zombie and have my scared pair run to her leaving me with the car, no zombies, no friends, and she had at least one zombie on her side! Epic Win!

Our second match was a true Zombie Apocalypse panic! We had about five different rule cards in play, and the goals changed at least four or five times. Our number of cards to draw, play, and discard changed frequently. We were allowed to kill zombies with our bare hands during the “Zombie Season” rule card, and realized that, hey, “Zombies Ain’t So Bad” meaning that even if a goal stated that you had to have no zombies to win, they were alright hanging out around you anyway! I exchanged one of my Keepers with my mom and changed the Goal to reflect the Keeper I stole, hoping to obtain the other Keeper I needed on a later turn. However, my mom’s next card allowed her to steal the Keeper back, and since I changed the goal, she then had both cards required to win the “They Fear Fire” objective. For both rounds, game play lasted for roughly 20-30 minutes.

Overall we had a fun time playing. The cards have really great and entertaining artwork on them, full of the traditional green skinned, flesh falling off, bloody zombies! Since the rules are always changing, game play never gets dull or boring, and certainly not predictable. However, there is a lot going on, so close attention must be paid to all the new rules and the goal to not only make sure that you can win, but also that you aren’t playing something to help your opponent win. The game says it is for ages 8 to Adults, but I honestly feel like this would not be the best gift to get a younger child. Original Fluxx might work well with a youngster, but Zombie Fluxx adds on a lot of new conditions and things to remember that I often found myself checking the “How to Play” sheet. Young children may get very confused and frustrated with the game.

Another awesome thing about this game is that it can either work as a stand-alone version, or you can shuffle it in with any other Fluxx deck! Using the 100 cards of Zombie Fluxx along with my deck of original Fluxx is sure to add even more insanity to the mix. Another version I have been dying to try out is Monty Python Fluxx-- can you imagine killing a zombie with the Holy Hand Grenade? Or having a zombified Spanish Inquisition jumping up to scare you? Imagine the possibilities...

I would definitely recommend this game for any lover of cool card games, zombies, or both! It is packaged in a fairly small box, so it would make a great stocking stuff for next week. I bought mine for fifteen dollars, and found it to be reasonably priced. This game is probably not carried at your major corporate toy stores or Walmart, but you are likely to find it at your local gaming store or comic book store. It comes from a company called Looney Labs, and is available for purchase on their site for sixteen dollars (although they encourage you to find a local retailer and support your community).

Have fun! And let me know what you think if you try this game out for yourself.

Hubby and I have been owners of the original Fluxx for years and just purchased both Zombie and Monty Python Fluxx this summer. All three are great games and it's nice to have the variation of the Zombie and the Monty Python after years of the original.

If you've played any of these, please let Miranda and I know your impressions below.


  1. I just saw the Zombie Fluxx in the store the other day and thought of you! I have the Monty Python version - it's a riot. But your idea of shuffling the zombie one and the Monty Python one together sounds amazingly awesome - I'm so gonna have to pick up the zombie one and do that.

  2. I DO love MP Fluxx and regular Fluxx. Now may have to buy Zombie Fluxx. DAMN YOU!!!!!!!

  3. I forgot... have you seen this?

    Archie McPhee... serving all your zombie needs.

  4. Oh No! Zombies sounds somewhat similar to "Last Night on Earth." Which if you haven't played "Last Night on Earth" I also HIGHLY recommend that as well. Probably will be a future blog review for you zombie game loving folks!


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