Pirate Fluxx Review – Drink Up, Me Hearties, Yo Ho!
Fluxx is a well known staple in the board gaming world. For a long time it was considered one of the go-to small card games to play. First there was Fluxx, and then from there the franchise continued to encapsulate a whole host of other themes. It now includes a collection of other titles, including Star Fluxx, Chemistry Fluxx, Firefly Fluxx, and more. Today we are going to look at one of the more standalone versions of Fluxx, created by Looney Labs, called Pirate Fluxx.
The Core Information: What is Pirate Fluxx?
Pirate Fluxx is a 2-6 player card game with constantly changing rules. Designed by Andy Looney, and with art by Derek Ring, Pirate Fluxx is a pirate themed twist on the traditional game. It takes approximately 10-40 minutes to play, and is suitable for ages 8+.
From a personal perspective, Pirate Fluxx was the third Fluxx game we added to our collection after Cthulhu Fluxx and Star Fluxx.
How To Play Pirate Fluxx – A Very Brief Explanation
The rules to every version of Fluxx are very simple, and Pirate Fluxx is no exception. The players all start with three cards in their hands. The hands are made up of different types of card. The card types in this version of Fluxx are –
- New Rules
Keepers are collectables. Creepers are detrimental cards. Actions allow you to perform additional actions. Surprises allow you to interrupt the turns of other players. Then there are New Rules and Goals.
The game starts with the very simple rules to draw a card and play a card; however, as it progresses new rules can be played. There are some that are universal across all Fluxx iterations (like draw/play more cards etc.) however, there are also rules that are specific to Pirate Fluxx such as “Talk like a Pirate”, where you get to draw more cards for keeping an accent going, or “Long Live The Captain” where you can play more cards if the Captain’s Hat is on the table.
There are no goals or end game criteria at the start of the game and these come into play as players choose to play goal cards. These then add end game criteria to the game, being swapped out by new goal cards so there is only ever one on the table (unless the card “Double Agenda” is played).
The game continues until someone manages to achieve the goal in play.
Our Opinions – What is Pirate Fluxx Like To Play?
There are three very different ways to answer this question depending on whether you have ever played a Fluxx game before or not, and whether you like it or not. So, with that in mind, I’ve tried to explore all three below.
If you have never played Fluxx –
If you have never played a Fluxx game before, then Pirate Fluxx is as good a place to start as any. One of the best ways to explain what Fluxx is like to play is that it is a chaotic game. It is easy to think of Fluxx, especially reading a short summary like the above, and take it to be a relatively simple game. It is, and Pirate Fluxx has a complexity score of 1.42/5 on Board Game Geek. That being said, that doesn’t mean it can’t become a blur of playing cards and out thinking opponents.
At its best, Fluxx can be an exhilarating game. It can be really enjoyable, and when a good set of rules are out the game can be a neat 25 minutes of flurrying cards. Pirate Fluxx is an adaptation of the base game, and includes a few additional cards to make the game feel more in keeping with the theme. That being said, it is also a good introduction into the world of Fluxx. Pirate Fluxx will give a good impression of what it is like playing a game where everything is changing all the time.
Thus, at its best, Pirate Fluxx is a fun game. The constantly changing rules and quirky game play make it a fantastic game for people new to the hobby of tabletop games. At its worst though, Fluxx can become a bit of a slog. If the wrong rules get played, the game can take forever, just out of chance. If, for instance, it becomes Hand Limit 1, with draw one and play one, the game can last longer than 40 minutes. We’ve had a game of Star Fluxx last an hour and a half before. Pirate Fluxx has that potential to last forever; however, the odds of that happening are few and far between. It is still a good entry level game and a way into the tabletop genre.
If you have played Fluxx but you don’t like it –
I’m not going to lie, where Pirate Fluxx has a few changes, it doesn’t change enough of the base game to make it different enough to change your opinion if you don’t like the core mechanics. Unless you love the pirate theme, you will probably come across as indifferent to the game.
If you like Fluxx –
If, on the other hand, you have played Fluxx (or one of the many Fluxx iterations) and you like it then you will probably like Pirate Fluxx. It uses the main mechanics of Fluxx and adds in a few nuances that make it subtly different to Fluxx games that have come before.
One of the personal reasons why I like Pirate Fluxx is because it adds a more family friendly and party game aspect into the standard Fluxx formula. There are cards like the Captain’s Hat, which forces everyone to call the player who has it in front of them “Captain”, and the Speak Like A Pirate Card which forces everyone to speak like a pirate if they want to draw/play more cards. They are only two additional cards in the game but they make the pirate theme more immersive. They pull it out of the normal realms of “potentially just another Fluxx game” and into something that is fun and silly and perfect for families to play together. What those cards do is bring the game close to being a party game, and a few more cards would tip it over into that realm.
TL;DR: The Good, The Bad, and The Scurvy
Like with reviews moving forward (and a few moving backwards) on this blog, this is going to be a short rundown of the good, bad, and neutral points to do with this game. In this case we will be looking at Pirate Fluxx.
- Pirate Fluxx gets the theme across more so than a lot of other Fluxx iterations. This is through using a couple of additional cards that encourage player interaction.
- Unlike a few other editions of Fluxx (like Chemistry Fluxx and Monty Python Fluxx) Pirate Fluxx still has Surprise cards.
- This is a family friendly version of Fluxx.
- This is more or less the same as other versions of Fluxx, including Star Fluxx and Cthulhu Fluxx. If you enjoy other versions, or have never played a Fluxx game, then you will probably enjoy Pirate Fluxx.
- If you don’t like Fluxx then this probably won’t change your mind.
- There could be more cards in the deck to really help bring the theme across. With a little more interaction, Pirate Fluxx could be a really good party game that it never quite lives up to.
So, what can be said to conclude Pirate Fluxx? Well, Pirate Fluxx is a fun little game that is a good addition to the Fluxx family. It is fun to play and does have a more immersive aspect. That being said, if you are not a fan of other games in the Fluxx franchise then Pirate Fluxx won’t change your mind. It’s fun, it’s furious, but it doesn’t reinvent the wheel.
So, what do you think? Are you a fan of the Fluxx franchise? If so which is your favourite? If you’re not a fan – why not? Let me know in the comments below.