I posted about Fluxx a while back, and I think it’s fair to say the comments had a mixed view on the merits of this card game of changing rules. It’s definitely not something to play as a serious competition as there’s a massive amount of randomness and almost no possible strategy, a computer simulation of Fluxx would be a terrible game. Playing for laughs with other people, though, is rather fun; my personal favourite rule card from Zombie Fluxx is the one where players have to groan like a zombie at the beginning of their turn, and if they refuse/forget anyone else can pass over a zombie Creeper.
In a massively surprising turn of events, Monty Python Fluxx turns out to ramp up the silliness even more. It’s mostly based on the Holy Grail, with Goals like “Grail Shaped Beacon” (you win if you have Sir Galahad and somebody else has The Holy Grail) and the “One, Two, Five! (Three, Sir!)” rule (treat any “3” on a card as “5”), with a sprinkling of the TV series (a Nude Organist keeper, actions including My Hovercraft Is Full Of Eels). A meta-game developed around two particular rules: one where you get to draw an extra card if you sing a few bars of a Python song at the start of your turn (and a second card if it hasn’t been sung before), and another where you get to draw an extra card if you speak with an outraaaaageous fake accent during your turn (you seely Eeeeengleesh kerrrrrrn-igggets), plus a second if you’ve kept the accent up since your previous turn. If there are two things I don’t need any encouragement for at the best of times it’s breaking in to Python songs and speaking with an outrageous fake accent, so I was trying to get those rules into play, and everyone else desperately tried to play cards to get rid of them as soon as possible (though not before a few creditable verses of the Spam song and Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life). All my singing was in vain in the end, as Jon triumphed by finding The Holy Grail, but I think it might have become my favourite card game ever. It’s just a shame nobody else will ever want to play it again…
In a mildly ironic turn of events I’m playing more games, especially MMOGs, than I have for a while, but finding less to write about. To steal the splendid imagery m’colleague uses, I’m sailing through the doldrums in a tarnished soup tureen (or perhaps on a raft consisting of several soup tureens lashed together, all that could be salvaged after the yacht Giddy Excitement foundered upon the rocks of Harsh Reality, though you have to wonder what all those tureens were doing on board in the first place; the crew must have really been into their soup, super tasty soup.) It’s not really with listlessness or a great sense of dissatisfaction, just a lack of the burning rage or excitement that usually fires the engines of bloggery. It’s also coming up to holiday season and the resultant drop-off in blogging, so to keep things ticking over I thought I’d borrow the idea of the Van Hemlock Podcast’s “What We’re Playing” segment, with an ingenious tweak of the title to cover the theft (though the criminal masterplan may have been slightly undermined by drawing attention to it just then).
To kick things off, a card game. I’ve generally missed out on the whole “German-style” board game movement, but we recently hit upon the cunning idea of relocating irregular pub gatherings to somebody’s house, allowing the hard drinking to be combined with game playing. Before delving right into Carcossonne or a 19-hour Talisman marathon, we beta-tested the concept with Rock Band and Zombie Fluxx, provided by Andy (purveyor of general splendidness including some rather excellent Warhammer miniature photos at Power Armoured Beard, where he’s also got a Fluxx reviewlet.) The basic rules are simple so a bunch of novices to be playing within minutes, but the point of Fluxx is that the basic rules don’t stay basic for very long as players put down cards that extend or replace previous rules and goals. A single game isn’t really enough to draw firm conclusions from, but the mutable rules are certainly interesting (something Tobold touches on from a MMOG perspective as he plays A Tale in the Desert). The changing goals make long-term strategy difficult, as cards that are essential to meet the conditions of one goal can become obstacles to meeting another, and even if the goal does stay the same for a while the action cards swiftly cause best laid schemes to gang aft agley. Playing with eight players as opposed to the suggested maximum of six probably ratcheted that chaos up a couple of notches too, even in the first turn we were drawing and playing various numbers of cards, Larry the zombie was shuffling around the table in different directions, everyone’s items got redistributed, and the goal had changed numerous times. It was rather chaotic, slightly confusing and heaps of fun, a great warm-up game. I’m rather tempted by Monty Python Fluxx now, especially as you can shuffle decks together to seek the Holy Grail during a Zombie Apocalypse.