Star Fluxx

Amazon Product Name (APN): Looney Labs Star Fluxx

Manufacturer: Looney Labs

Review by: Dad

Our rating: 5 of 5 stars

Star Fluxx is our favorite scifi themed version of the popular game Fluxx by Looney Labs.

Looney Labs has been producing Fluxx for several years now, and as of the time of this writing, there are over ten different versions of the game in print. Actually, they’ve been making Fluxx so long, there are an additional seven versions now out of print (Mom’s favorite: Eco Fluxx is one of them). 

Looney Labs has found the formula for a crazy card game with massive humor, charm, and in the case of Star Fluxx, tons of our favorite scifi references.  No matter which version of Fluxx you play, you’ll be getting into a fun, easy to learn, but hard to master card game.

Fluxx is a card game where the rules and win conditions are constantly in flux.  Games of Star Fluxx can last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or more depending on how many people are playing and what cards get drawn.  When the basic rules are set, every player is dealt three cards and they draw one card and play one card on each turn. But chances are, those rules won’t last long. This fast paced card game shines when the rules start changing.

Suddenly, you are drawing five cards a turn, playing your entire hand and completely changing the goal every turn. Or you’re drawing one card and have to play three. Or you’re changing hands. Or you’re discarding everything and starting over.

No two games of Star Fluxx are the same, and play continues until someone is able to meet the conditions of the current goal.  Oftentimes a player who everyone thought was lagging behind will win, suddenly leaving everyone asking “How did that happen?” and it always leads to us playing again.

Star Fluxx by Looney Labs is one of our favorite inclusions on family game nights, and is especially easy for traveling. It’s appropriate for ages eight and up, although younger children who can read an understand instructions on the fly are able to play, too.

Not into scifi?  Head to Amazon to check out Pirate Fluxx, Cthulhu Fluxx or Fairy Tale Fluxx for a version of this game in a theme that you love.

Want more? Check out some of our other lists and reviews below.

House Rules – Make every game your own

Follow the rules, that’s what we’ve always been told.  But I’m here to tell you after 30 years of gaming, sometimes it’s beneficial to not follow them.  Sometimes, it’s better to tweak the rules or even make up your own.  While there are a plethora of board and miniature games out there to play, not all of them are perfect, in fact it’s hard to find a game that is. Over the years, I’ve often found myself asking, Why did they do that? What part of the game is that rule supposed to balance? Or even just saying, This part makes zero sense compared to everything else.

Change the rules. Have more fun.

Enter the House Rule.  I’ve been using house rules as long as I can remember. Striving always to improve my gaming experience with my friends, tossing out mechanics we hated or tweaking things until everyone is having fun.  One great example is how we play Castle Panic with The Wizard’s Tower expansion by Fireside Games. In the standard rules, you replace one of your core tower’s with a Wizard’s Tower allowing the group access to powerful spells to fight back the hordes of beasties and bosses.  We found that with the new expansion it was far easier to lose towers and if the wizard tower gets annihilated by a flaming boulder those spells are gone, but you still have to fight all of the overpowered beasts in the expansion without them.  We continually lost when that one special tower went down early in the game.  No one was having fun, so we changed the game up. 

Even our favorite games sometimes need tweaking.

We started placing the Wizard tower in the very center of the six standard towers, making it the last to get hit by enemies getting into the castle but still allowing it to be set on fire.  This one small change made all the difference.  We started winning again, not every game of course, getting the Chimera and the Dragon breathing fire every round can still be a game killer with bad token pulls.  But we were back to a more standard win/loss pattern that had us having fun and working hard to hit those card combos and keep the castle alive. 

That’s the point of house rules, get everyone sitting around the table having as much fun as possible, build those memories.  If something just isn’t working, change it

House Rules aren’t just for board games.

For miniature games like Warhammer: Age of Sigmar or Star Wars: Legion House Rules become even more important.  These types of games can be complex and often time, new players can’t remember a rule, experienced players aren’t able to reference it quickly enough in the rule book, or players interpret rules differently and have a dispute, etc.  This is when House Rules truly shine.  All players can decide on a solution in the moment, flip a coin, or agree to answer the question later.  Following the exact rules becomes secondary to moving on and enjoying the game.  (Sorry rule lawyers.) This serves several very important functions. It keeps the game moving, keeps it exciting, makes sure everyone is having fun and helps teach you to not sweat or get bogged down in the small stuff. 

All of these things make for much more engaging and relaxed gaming sessions with your family or friends.  House Rules can be applied to any game you play.  Those rules were written with the best intention of the game designer to provide players with a specific experience. Not all games that make it to market have been play tested to find every possible flaw, and not all games that make it to market are balanced well. Monopoly is a classic example of poor game balance (most games in our experience end in rage or boredom). One player quickly outpaces the rest and everyone else slowly loses the ability or interest in playing the game.

Make your own house rules.

You can go forth and make your games your own!  If something isn’t working in a game you’re playing, tweak the rules until the game flows smoothly again. Whatever rule is giving you trouble, change it, rearrange it, or just plan chuck that game rule out.  No alarms or game police will arrive if you don’t play the game exactly as the rules are written.  If you can alter one thing about a game that has stopped your family or friends from having fun, fix it and let the good times roll.

Still not sure if house rules are right for your family game night? Here’s another article from about how house rules help their board games.

Sushi Go! Game Review

Amazon Product Name (APN): Sushi Go! – The Pick and Pass Card Game

Our Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review by: Dad

Sushi Go! Is one of our favorite pick-and-pass card games by Gamewright.  It even made our Top 10 Family Boardgames list for 2019. It’s a simple deck-sharing game designed for two to five players. Gamewright recommends the game for kids ages eight and up, but our six-year-old has no problem playing and winning Sushi Go! during family game nights. As a parent, I’ve discovered Sushi Go! is great for younger players, as its one of those kids card games that improves perception of probability, counting and critical thinking skills.

Sushi Go! plays a lot like the draft portion of collectible card games tournaments. Each player is dealt a hand of cards, determined by the number of players.  Players each select a card from that hand and place it face down on the table.  Once everyone has chosen, all players reveal their cards. Then, players pass their hands to the person on their left, and another card is chosen. Just like on a sushi belt at a restaurant, the hands go around and around the table until all cards are chosen. 

Scoring happens after this speed card game has gone through three rounds. In Sushi Go! scoring is the most strategic part of the game, and is entirely dependent on the combination of sushi you have collected.  As an example, a pair of tempura is five points, while the player with most maki takes six points. In these fun card games, you have to keep an eye on what other people are collecting, try to remember what is in each of the hands moving around the table, and maximize the amount of points you can earn every round to be successful. (If you ever play Sushi Go! with us, be warned that Mom’s Pudding game is strong.)

Sushi Go! Is a one of those fast card games that lasts around fifteen minutes, making it a perfect filler game on your family game nights. We like to take Sushi Go! with us when we go camping and to conventions since it’s portable and fun to play.  Sushi Go! is also available in a party edition that has been expanded for up to eight players.

You can pick up a copy of Sushi Go! from Amazon by clicking here, or ask for it at your favorite game store.

Find out more about Sushi Go! and some of our other favorite family game night games! Read our Top 10 Family Boardgames list for 2019 here.

Want more? Check out some of our other lists and reviews below.

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