Up until now, we have been running our new Looney Saturday feature bi-monthly and only featuring Pyramid games. That was very intentional. Why, you ask? Because Looney Labs has SO much more than just Pyramid games and we wanted the flexibility to slot those games in as needed. Arguably their biggest success is the card game Fluxx, and the multitude of thematic editions available for it. We’ve certainly reviewed our share of them in the past, but today we are bringing you the first off-month edition of Looney Saturday with a look at Wonderland Fluxx!
It occurs to me that it’s been a while since we’ve reviewed a Fluxx game and there may be some new people here. So here is a very brief overview of Fluxx rules, regardless of theme specifics. The game starts with 2 Rules: “Draw 1 Card” and “Play 1 Card” with no win condition at all. As the game progresses new Rules will come into play, some will change the Draw/Play requirements, others could change basically anything. To win you must meet the requirements of a Goal Card, which is usually to have a specific set of Keeper Cards in play in front of you. A player meeting the requirements of a Goal IMMEDIATELY wins, even if it happens in the middle of someone else’s turn. That’s the short version of the game.
I’ve always had a love for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland on so many levels. The unique storytelling. The unique story. The nonsense. The rumours of Lewis Carroll’s drug-addled writing and metaphors. I have fond memories of performing as The Caterpillar with Treehouse Youth Theatre on the MainStage of Red Deer College (complete with Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum rigged up on bungee cords.) I’ve had multiple film versions, comic book versions, and so on. For the record, the absolute best film version was the 1985 made-for-TV special with an all-star cast.
One of the reasons I love that version is that it was aired in two parts, with the second part being based on Through The Looking Glass, but the two stories were not completely conflated as sometimes happens. This is where I note that this game is called “Wonderland Fluxx” not “Alice in Wonderland Fluxx” in part because Looney Labs has taken characters and material from both books. In the context of a game like this, that’s a great thing! If nothing else it provides access to the one and only Creeper Card in the game: The Jabberwock.
If you’re new to Fluxx, if you draw a Creeper card it must immediately be placed and a new card is drawn. If you have a Creeper in play in front of you can not win unless the current win condition specifically requires that specific Creeper. For example: the Goal Card “He Took His Vorpal Sword in Hand…” requires the “Vorpal Sword” + “Knight” Keeper Cards, but if the player also had “The Jabberwok” they would not be able to win. If they got rid of the Creeper, they would immediately win or if the Goal changed to “Hast Thou Slain the Jabberwok?” they would immediately win as that Goal requires “The Jabberwock” and “Knight”. Normally a set has several Creepers, so it’s interesting that there is only one here. “The Queen” could have easily been labelled a Creeper but wasn’t. As a slight tangent, I’m a bit surprised they called her “The Queen” rather than The Queen of Hearts, since they took elements from Through The Looking Glass, which also has a Red Queen and a White Queen. Although they similarly shortened The White Knight to simply “The Knight”. If they were ever to release a second Wonderland Fluxx (99.9% they won’t), or a Booster expansion (still doubt it will happen), I suppose those Queens would simply have the not-uncommon trait of “This card also counts as The Queen” allowing them to be used for win conditions like “The Royals” (“The King” + “The Queen”)
The last thing I want to talk about –because somehow it’s a contentious thing– is the artwork. Wonderland Fluxx uses Sir John Tenniel’s original 1800s line art, uncoloured as it would have originally appeared in print and the traditionally coloured Fluxx borders have a bit of an antique finish to them. There are people who prefer later versions of this art that has been painted or otherwise colourized, which is a perfectly ok opinion to have. Personally, I love the choice made to stick with the originals.
Wonderland Fluxx has been in the back of the Looney’s mind for some time and was finally produced at the request of a retail partner. As such, this version of the game has a much lower print run than some other editions, so if you want it don’t wait. If you see it in your Friendly Local Gaming Store, be aware you may not see it there again.
As an added bonus, if you order directly from Looney Lab’s webstore before the end of the year they will send you a FREE holiday gift. For the last several years, they have released a free print-and-play game; This year they have returned to producing a physical gift. Just pop over to the webstore and order it for free, or free with a purchase outside the US. I have one on the way, and it won’t have arrived in time for this review, but I don’t want that to stop me from expressing my excitement based on previous year’s gifts.
TheRatHole.ca does not accept payments for our reviews but may have received a promotional copy of this game for review.