Adventure Time Fluxx Game Review

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The Basics:

  • For ages 7 and up (publisher suggests 8+)
  • For 2 to 6 players
  • Variable game play length

Geek Skills:

  • Active Listening & Communication
  • Counting & Math
  • Reading
  • Pattern/Color Matching
  • Hand/Resource Management

Learning Curve:

  • Child – Easy
  • Adult – Easy

Theme & Narrative:

  • What time is it?

Endorsements:

  • Gamer Geek rejected!
  • Parent Geek mixed!
  • Child Geek approved!

Overview

The Land of Ooo is full of magic and wonder. Danger and adventure await any brave or foolish enough to leave the comforts of their couch to go exploring. Two such adventures are Finn the Human and Jake the Dog. These two heroes travel the land, save princesses, and quest for treasure. Their legend grows by the day and now you get to be a part of their story.

Adventure Time Fluxx, designed by Andrew Looney and published by Looney Labs, is comprised of 100 cards. The cards are as thick and as durable as your standard playing card. Illustrations are provided by Ian McGinty, who had a hand in illustrating many of the Adventure Time characters.

The Land of Ooo

Adventure Time Fluxx is completely card driven (like all Fluxx games) and the rules of play can change as each card is played to the table. Nothing remains for long, challenging the players to keep as flexible as possible when attempting to obtain their goals. Understanding how the cards work is not very complex as each card will clearly describe what needs to be done and when. Even if you’ve never played the game before, by simply reading the cards, a player can play the game right out of the box with little difficulty.

Basic Rules Card

All Fluxx games start with 2 simple rules. On a player’s turn they draw 1 card and play 1 card. The Basic Rules card is placed during game set up to remind players what they can do. It won’t be long before this rule card is discarded, however, so don’t grow attached to it.

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New Rule Card

As the game progresses, new rules will be introduced. New Rule cards add and remove new game play elements, including trumping the Basic Rules card. Players shouldn’t become attached or attempt to form a strategy around any rule in the game, since there is no guarantee the rule will remain.

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Action Cards

Action cards allow players to bend the rules currently in play once and are then discarded. Action cards usually let the player do something nasty to an opponent or temporarily cheat. They can be stopped, however, if an opponent has the ability to block the Action card’s effects.

The most interesting Action card in Adventure Time Fluxx is “The Arena” Action card. This temporarily pauses the game and tasks the player’s opponents to verbally describe why one Keeper or Creeper card they have in front of them would survive in a brutal bout of arena combat. This can be done through actions, along with witty word play. An individual familiar with the Adventure Time universe will have the obvious advantage, but this is really an exercise in creativity and communication. The player who used “The Arena” Action card gets to decide which of the opponents did the best job, allowing their Keeper or Creeper to remain play. All others must remove their selected Keeper or Creeper card, sending them to the discard pile.

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Goal Cards

Goal cards define the game’s victory condition. Since there are no Goal cards at the start of a game, no one knows what they need to do to win. As the game progresses, Goal cards will start to be played. Goals are for everyone, which means if you play a Goal card, you are also giving your opponents a way to win. Players complete a Goal card by playing the right Keeper cards (most of the time). Only 1 Goal card is in play at a time in the middle of the gaming area, until the rules say otherwise. If a new Goal card is played, it replaces the previous Goal card.

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Keeper Cards

Keeper cards are used to complete the requirements described by a Goal card. Keeper cards are played in front of a player and belong to them until they are either stolen or discarded.

In Adventure Time Fluxx, a few of the Keeper cards provide extra abilities while in play. These should be considered special rules and how they are used is described on each card. For example, the “Marceline” Keeper card allow the player to claim a Goal even if Creeper cards are in play and the “Ice King” Keeper card gives the owning playing the ability to steal any princesses in play.

adventuretimefluxx_keepers Creeper Cards

Creeper cards are the villains in the game. Traditionally, Creeper cards in Fluxx simply stop you from winning. They are the proverbial stone in your shoe. There are a few Goal cards, however, that require a player to have 1 or more Creeper cards in play to win.

Creeper cards in Adventure Time Fluxx represent the foes that dared to challenge Finn and Jake. The Creeper cards tend to be the most thematic in the game, using actions that parallel how they were portrayed in the cartoon. For example, the “Candy Zombies” Creeper card moves to any player who has a “Candy People” Keeper card in play. That’s a nod to a cartoon episode where zombie Candy People chased down other Candy People. Fun stuff, if you know the story.

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Surprise Cards

Surprise cards can be played out-of-turn or during a player’s turn, but when they are played changes what the card does. Surprise cards are great for canceling other cards and quickly changing an opponent’s plans for their turn.

adventuretimefluxx_surpriseGame Set Up

To set up the game, first find the Basic Rules card. Place this in the center of the playing area. This card defines the starting rules of the game that all players must follow until such time a New Rule card is played and trumps it.

Second, shuffle the remaining cards and deal out to each player a starting hand of 3 cards. If any player has been dealt a Creeper card, they must immediately play it in front of them and are dealt a new card. Players should keep their cards that have not been played to the table hidden at all times.

Third, place the remaining cards next to the Basic Rules card, face-down. This is the draw deck. Leave room for a discard pile.

That’s it for game set up. Determine who should go first and begin play.

Adventure Time!

Adventure Time Fluxx is played in turns with no set number of turns per game. What a player can or cannot do is dependent on what the current rules state. Since the rules in play are always random and changing, it’s impossible to provide a comprehensive summary of a player’s turn. Instead, I’ll provide the most basic options.

Step 1: Draw Cards (Maybe)

Cards are drawn from the draw deck and only if a rule allows it. It’s possible to draw 1 or more cards during this step. Drawn cards are placed in the player’s hand. If the draw deck is out of cards, shuffle the discard pile to make a new draw deck. Creeper cards, unless otherwise stated by a rule, are always placed in front of the player, face-up, when drawn.

Step 2: Play Cards (Maybe)

The player now plays as many cards as stated by the current rule. Any card the player has in their hand is playable. If a New Rule card is played, it supersedes the old rule cards immediately. If the new rule change would have influenced the current player’s turn (for example, drawing cards), they now resolve the new rule. Action and Surprise cards are discarded when played, Goal cards are played to the middle of the game playing area (replacing previous goals), and Keeper cards are placed in front of the player. If you are pondering all the different ways the cards could be played and cause confusion, you are not alone. The game comes with a FAQ that addresses the majority of strange game conditions caused by the cards.

Step 3: Discard Cards (Maybe)

The player now discards down to the hand size limit set by the current rules. If the player doesn’t have any cards, this step is skipped. If they have more cards than allowed, they select the cards they want to put in the discard pile.

Step 4: Comply With Keeper Limit (Maybe)

The player must now discard down to the Keeper card limit set by the rules. This only applies to the Keeper cards the player has in play in front of them, not the Keeper cards in their hand or all the Keeper cards in play.

And that’s it! Well, not entirely. Recall that the rules will be changing constantly which will impact players when it’s not their turn and Surprise cards could be played at anytime to throw everyone off their game. Such is the chaos that is Fluxx. The player’s turn is now over and the next player now takes their turn.

Mathmatical!

The game continues as noted above until 1 player has completed the requirements of a Goal card. It’s perfectly possible that a player could win the game by playing a Goal card that requires cards already in play or a new Goal card awards victory to one or more players simultaneously. Players could also win out of turn.

To learn more about Adventure Time Fluxx, visit the game’s web page.

Final Word

The Child Geeks who were familiar with Adventure Time immediately started telling everyone about the characters depicted on the cards. Those who were not suddenly had a strong urge to leave the gaming table and go watch TV to see what all the fuss was about. Regardless of an individual Child Geek’s level of familiarity with the Adventure Time story and its characters, the game was enjoyed. According to one Child Geek, “I like this game and I like that it keeps using cartoons that I love watching. It’s like I’m playing the cartoons!” Another Child Geek said, “I don’t think this is any better or any worse than the other Fluxx games we have played, but I do like that it is based on Adventure Time.” For the most part, the game’s thematic elements were not noticed except in those rare situations where a Child Geek remembered the exact episode a Goal was based on or when “The Arena” Action card came into play. When the games were over, the Child Geeks voted to approve Adventure Time Fluxx.

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One Child Geek visibly reacts with surprise and excitement to a drawn card, while his older brother calls his bluff

The Parent Geeks were not all that enthused with this version of the game, finding it difficult to relate to anything the cards were about. None of the Parent Geeks had any problems playing the game and enjoyed it the most when their Child Geeks were at the table with them. According to one Parent Geek, “I don’t like this version of Fluxx, but I know my son does so I’ll most likely be playing it a lot.” Another Parent Geek said, “I don’t really care what the game looks like as long as my kids want to play it with me.” None of the Parent Geeks found the game bad, but all agreed it wasn’t the most interesting version of Fluxx put before them. The end result was a mixed approval from the Parent Geeks.

A few of the Gamer Geeks were pretty livid when I showed them the game. According to one Gamer Geek, “And here we have everything wrong with Fluxx. It’s just the standard game with Adventure Time painted over it. An obvious money grab, if you ask me.” Another Gamer Geek said, “I don’t have a problem with Fluxx and enjoy a number of them. This version of Fluxx feels lazy to me. I know there is a lot of material in Adventure Time they could have used. It would have been a better game if they included more of the story and characters in the game play instead of just using their images and names.” The vast majority of the Gamer Geeks found Adventure Time Fluxx to be little more than Fluxx with the cartoon characters included. That didn’t sit well and failed to entertain the gaming elitists. They voted to reject Adventure Time Fluxx, banishing it from their gaming table forever.

Not all Fluxx games are created equal, which is a very good thing. By default, Fluxx is about as thematic-free as you can get. It’s just cards with images, some rules, and – well – that’s it. Through the years, Fluxx has been mixed with a number of different themes. This improved the game to some degree, allowing players to better appreciate the game thanks to thematic elements they could personally associate with. It also opened the door to some subtle and not so subtle rule changes and variations of the original Fluxx game. To date, my favorite Fluxx games are Cthulhu Fluxx and Batman Fluxx. Both of these games skillfully mix their thematic elements in with the game rules, improving the game playing experience as a result.

The same cannot be said about Adventure Time Fluxx.

This version of Fluxx does make use of some of the cartoon’s more interesting storylines, but most of the game is just full of nods and catch phrases. In short, it didn’t feel like I was playing a game about Adventure Time and its characters. Instead, it felt like I was playing Fluxx with pictures, slogans, and very slight rule slants that were plucked from the exotic and weird Land of Ooo. Which is ultimately my biggest grievance. The game feels lazy. There is so much to use and explore using Adventure Time as the source material. After all, the cartoon was heavily influenced by Dungeons & Dragons and video games. The cartoon and its characters are big, bad, and bold. None of this is in the game.

But that’s my point of view as an adult and Gamer Geek. The Child Geeks loved playing the game mostly because they loved talking about the characters portrayed on the cards. That’s not a bad thing, but it did little to thrill adults. Which might or might not be an issue in the grand scheme of things. In either case, the game did well with the cartoon’s primary target audience. That being, children of geeks.

Fluxx continues to be a game that runs either red-hot or bitterly cold. Ironically, the game itself never really changes. What makes it or breaks it is the game’s theme and how deeply rooted it is in the game play. In the case of Adventure Time Fluxx, the cold ran bitterly deep with everyone but the Child Geeks. This version of Fluxx that will only appeal to the most feverish of fans of the Adventure Time cartoon. I personally would not recommend it.

This game was given to Father Geek as a review copy. Father Geek was not paid, bribed, wined, dined, or threatened in vain hopes of influencing this review. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek.

About Cyrus

Editor in Chief, Owner/Operator, Board Game Fanatic, Father of Three, and Nice Guy, Cyrus has always enjoyed board, card, miniature, role playing, and video games, but didn't get back into the hobby seriously until early 2000. Once he did, however, he was hooked. He now plays board games with anyone and everyone he can, but enjoys playing with his children and wife the most. Video games continue to be of real interest, but not as much as dice and little miniatures. As he carefully navigates the ins and outs of parenting, he does his very best to bestow what wisdom he has and help nurture his children's young minds. It is his hope and ambition to raise three strong, honorable men who will one day go on to do great things and buy their Mom and Dad a lobster dinner Cyrus goes by the handle fathergeek on Board Game Geek. You can also check him out on CyrusKirby.com. Yes, he has a URL that is his name. His ego knows no bounds, apparently....
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