This isn’t something we’d normally review and I am quite admittedly taking advantage of my very loose job description here, which says only “Find games and write about them.” Nowhere in there does it say they have to be computer games necessarily because in the modern world I’m regularly called on to review console games, web games and all sorts of handheld monstrosities. Hell, I’ve even reviewed games for a Mac in the past – yuck!
How I got introduced to the game of Zombie Fluxx, which is one of the best and most ridiculous card games I’ve ever played, is practically an article in itself. Suffice it to say though that in the aftermath of a recent after-work gathering I awoke with a bit of a headache to find that my signed copy of Planescape: Torment had been replaced by a pack of cards in a green box – Zombie Fluxx.
Zombie Fluxx, which is apparently a variation of a parent game just called Fluxx, is surprisingly sophisticated for a card game and the tactics required are deep and unusual. And possibly imaginary too. That’s mainly because there aren’t really any set rules in the game at all – or rather, there are but they remain in a constant state of flux. Clever, that.
There are different types of cards. Creepers and Keepers are the most important because these represent Zombies and Weapons respectively and it’s through these you can win or lose the game. The other types; Goals, Rules and Actions are all self explanatory. At the start of the game every player is given three cards and the basic rule – Draw one, Play one – is placed in the middle. Players then take it in turns to have a go, drawing and discarding to separate decks.
And from there the game ends up changing every few seconds. Players decide the rules of the game for themselves by placing down Rule cards, change goals by playing Goals and they complicate matters with Actions. By the end of the first turn you’ll have gone from ‘Draw one, Play one’ to ‘Draw five, Play two, with a hand limit of zero and a goal which sees you trying to escape the Zombies by collecting a Car and a Chainsaw in the form of Keepers’.
By the midpoint of a game it can be harder than trying to get smoke into a coke bottle with a cricket bat and it’s at that point in our lunchtime tournaments that Hiren usually gets flustered and plays the ‘Reset Rule’ card, taking everything back to basics and prolonging the game even more.
And that’s just the start of things - because the rules can eventually get more complex than an octopus having ‘relations’ with a hedgehog, so you have to keep your wits about you at all times, despite the fact that the basic outline of the game can be explained in minutes. In fact, it’s that gradual and growing complexity that really makes Zombie Fluxx such a fun experience.
Zombie Fluxx is something which only flew into the bit-tech offices by happenstance and, as we said before, it isn’t something we’d normally review. There isn’t even all that much to say about it even since we can’t do an in-depth graphics analysis or a discussion about the difficulty levels.
Hell, because the rules are forever a’changin’ we can’t even have a proper discussion about the balancing for the game. If you’re having problems with the rules then you can always change them.
Well, that isn’t strictly true – it is possible to get into some annoying situations in the game. The one which annoys us the most is when you end up with rules that stipulate you can only draw one card, must play all your cards and have an empty hand when the round finishes. That particular combination means that the game can get dull until someone plays a new rule card, though you’ll only ever have yourself to blame for the mess.