Nov 4, 2015

[Games] Batman Fluxx

Once you've played one variant of Fluxx, you can pretty much play them all. And while this or that variant of the game has tried to make things feel a bit more distinct, for the most part the game remains largely unchanged over the years. And as much as it's stated that you can mix and match Fluxx sets to create more dynamic games, a lot of times we avoid doing that just because the cards are so similar and sorting them back into their respective sets seems like too much of a headache.

Batman Fluxx is one of the more recent franchise-related reskins of the game and one that does provide a few quirky shifts to the game that do help make it feel distinct from the other versions. Loony Labs seems to be making a serious push to craft more of these franchise-related versions of the game, which does seem like a viable business opportunity for a lot of games out there.

It is interesting to note that this game actually utilized the somewhat iconic style of the 90's cartoon, Batman: The Animated Series. And I'm totally game for that sort of pandering.

Batman Fluxx is a a franchise reskin of the original Fluxx game created by Andrew Looney. The game still supports 2-6 players and remains compatible with all other versions of the Fluxx game.

Like all other Fluxx games, Batman Fluxx starts with the basic rule of Draw 1, Play 1. And beyond the changes to some of the names of cards and of course the various Keepers and Creepers, some rule shifts really change things up.

First, Creepers depict the various villains from Batman's rogue's gallery. However instead of merely preventing the player with the Creeper from winning the game, they instead prevent all players from achieving victory while they are in play. And thus one can either try to get a Goal card that uses villains as part of the victory conditions or the player should find a way to remove villains from play with their cards.

To this effect, a lot of the Keepers provide different ways to remove Creepers from play, especially those that depict Batman, Robin and Bat Girl. There are quirkier Keeper abilities like how the Batcomputer pretty much adds 1 to all your card limits while the Bat-Signal can allow you to take the Batman Keeper from any other player.

The game features a lot of the usual New Rule cards that we've come to expect including changing Draw and Play numbers along with Hand Limits and Keeper Limits. The most distinct new rule added to the game is Arkham Asylum, which starts to collect Villain Creepers whenever they're discarded. Other cards in the game interact with the Asylum to either allow individual Creepers to return to play (assuming you need them to win the game) or the loss of the rule will mean the Villains will eventually return to the game.

The game has a fair amount of play in it versus other Fluxx games and the simple rules change about Creepers affecting everyone's victory conditions is a great motivator for people to work together to take our Creepers, even when they're not in front of them. It certainly helps everyone get into the spirit of things as you are either on the side of good trying to help out Batman or you're working against Gotham by aligning with the villains.

I also appreciate the effort put into simplifying all cards in the game. Gone is a lot of the text that used to explain each card type (Keeper, Creeper, etc) on the card itself and now it's more about relying on a basic understanding of each card from the rules along with strong color-coding. The variant also has a bit more character in terms of how the colored borders appear in this game given the addition of a little Batman logo as part of the whole deal.

I only wish that the Creepers themselves had additional abilities. As it stands, they're just blocks to winning the game in general however they don't have individual abilities like what we've seen with cards like Taxes and Death from the original game. But I suppose that may add unnecessary complications to the game and so they didn't bother - just me speculating here.

Batman Fluxx is still a lot of fun and remains to be a solid game whether as a member of the Fluxx family or as a product in the Batman franchise line. I really liked the feel of things with the Villain Creeper rule and I'm sure a lot of you Batman fans will enjoy things as well. Thus the game gets 4 Surprise cards that the Batcave can prevent out of a possible 5.


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