Speed Review: Chemistry Fluxx
As a geek, Chemistry Fluxx massively appealed to me. My Dad used to be a Chemist, and so I have always had that chemical blood running through my veins. As such, my girlfriend actually got me a copy of Chemistry Fluxx for my Birthday last year. Now it is time to turn our gazes in that direction for a Speed Review.
For those who don’t know – Speed Reviews are where we review a game in less time than it takes to actually play the game. I started doing them originally because I would be writing long reviews out of compulsion rather than because every game needed one. This is one of those speed reviews, and the playtime for Chemistry Fluxx is 5 to 30 minutes. So, with that in mind, we are going to put 17 minutes 30 seconds on the clock.
17 minutes 30 seconds on the clock –
Right, let’s go.
Chemistry Fluxx is one of the latest installments in the Fluxx series of games, designed by Andy Looney and created by Looney Labs. It is a game in which the rules are constantly changing – in flux if you will – and with very simple rules. Chemistry Fluxx is a card game in which you play trying to match chemicals to various goals that can be put into play during the game.
For those unfamiliar with the Fluxx format – Fluxx is a game in which the players start with three cards and two very simple instructions. They must:
- Draw a card.
- Play a card.
Easy, ey? Well, yes and no. The cards are unlike the cards in any other game as they fundamentally change the very concept of the game. This is due to the types of cards that can be played –
- Keepers – These are the solutions to the game. They are collectibles that can be used to fulfill goals.
- Creepers – These are bad. You can’t win the game with a Creeper unless the rules say so.
- Goals – These are the goals to achieve in order to win the game.
- Surprise – These are cards that can be played to directly intervene with the cards another player is playing.
- Action – These are actions that can change how you interact with your hand, the deck, or opponents’ cards.
- New Rules – These are ultimately what the game is about. They change the rules to the game, so one moment you could be drawing one and playing one, the next you are drawing five and playing four. Before you know it you are drawing five, playing all, discarding keepers, changing goals, and all in all the whole game becomes chaos.
Or, those are the cards that are in a normal game of Fluxx in different proportions. Chemistry Fluxx is a cut-down version of the game, with just as many cards, more Keepers, but no Surprise cards and no Creepers.
8 minutes left
The components are really nice in Chemistry Fluxx. I don’t know what the finish is on the cards, but they do feel awesome (I think some kind of laminate). They are great to shuffle and deal.
So what is it like actually playing Chemistry Fluxx? Well, it may surprise you, but it is very similar to a standard game of Fluxx. It soon becomes chaos and the game is usually over before you even thought it was at threat of ending. The game is incredibly fast-paced, and a brilliant filler game.
The question then becomes: “What makes this different to standard Fluxx?”
Well, in some ways, Chemistry Fluxx is a cut down version of the game and, in some other ways, it suffers because of this. From a competitive perspective, the reduction of Surprise and Creeper cards does remove some of the competition from the game, meaning it is almost entirely about New Rules, Keepers, and Goals. There are Action cards, which play their part to amp the game up, but generally speaking, this is more of a set collecting game than Fluxx has ever been before.
3 mins remaining
The question is now: “Is that a bad thing?”
And, you know what, I don’t think it is. Chemistry Fluxx is not a competitive game and it pales in comparison to games like Star Fluxx or Pirate Fluxx for a game night. BUT (and this is a big but) I don’t think it is designed to be brought out on a game night. Chemistry Fluxx is not a game night game, but it is an educational game. It is a game that gets you thinking as you match up molecules and solutions. It would be a fantastic game for anyone who wants to learn about Chemistry, especially teenagers where gamifying the subject could really help them expand their knowledge.
Let me know what you think in the comments below. Are you a fan of the Fluxx games or are you not? Do you think this is a good idea or just another episode in the franchise? Let me know in the comments.