100 cards/$19.99/September 2009
Reviewed by Steven H Silver
The card game Fluxx was created in 1996, and over the years several different versions have been released, whether updates to the original game or spin-offs, such as Eco-Fluxx, Family Fluxx, or Stoner Fluxx. Recently, new versions of the game have also introduced new types of cards and themes which carry through the game play. in September of 2009, Looney Labs released Martian Fluxx, a version of the game which also allowed the players to play a game of Martian invasion.
At its most basic, Martian Fluxx is a card game in which players attempt to have their face-up cards, "Keepers," match the goal of that particular game. However, the beauty of the Fluxx family of games is that as play progresses and players attempt to achieve the goal, the rules and the goal can be changed at any time. Martian Fluxx followed the basic idea of all the other Fluxx games with a few additions.
This game sees the addition of "Creepers," which made their first appearance in relation to Zombie Fluxx and limit the ability of the player to win, even if the goal is reached. Martian Fluxx also allows for the idea of an "Ungoal," which can suddenly end the game as soon as it is played, and also "Meta Rules." These last must be agreed upon at the start by all players and can not change, in the case of Martian Fluxx setting a time limit to the game. Additionally, several of the "Keeper" cards allow the person who has played them to perform actions from looking at other players' hands to winning despite having Creepers. For players who have not played earlier themed versions of Fluxx, this may be most difficult aspect of game to get used to.
The rules of Martian Fluxx postulate that the game is a war game, with card play simulating an invasion of Earth by the Martians (the players). Although this a clever conceit, it does not affect the play of the game in any significant way. This idea, however, does allow many of the cards to play around with the common tropes found in Martian invasion literature and films, from the Goal "Mars Needs Women" to the "Tin Foil Hat" Keeper. Some of the cards even elicit the sound of Marvin the Martian explaining what he is about to do to Bugs Bunny.
A worthy addition to the Fluxx family of games, Martian Fluxx would form a nice intermission to watching films such as Mars Attacks, Invaders from Mars, and War of the Worlds. Of course, it also stands on its own and can be mixed with cards from other Fluxx games, although as with Zombie Fluxx and Monty Python Fluxx, to mix it with other themes would dilute the inventiveness of Martian Fluxx.
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