Fluxx is a quick card game from Looney Labs and is one of the strangest games I've ever played. Every time a card is played some aspect of the game changes. Either the rules change, the goal changes or the players are forced to swap cards in some fashion. I love this game because of the hilarious situations the game puts you in over and over. For example, it is not unheard of for a player to win by accidentally having the right combination of cards in front of them as another player is forced to change the goal against their will. As an appetizer Fluxx is perfect since it's possible for new players to join the game in the middle of a hand and it can be watched to be learned.
Cam Turner / Geek
from his list of 11 Best Geek Board Games
Looney Labs games have just the right mix of random and strategy. My husband, who was a computer science and math major, likes games like Volcano and Zendo, which require planning, pattern recognition, and logic. Most games can be picked up and learned in a few minutes, allowing for everyone to start having fun right away. Looney Labs games get your brain going in different ways and are great for all sorts of people, especially geeks.
Looney Labs Games are designed *by* geeks (two former NASA engineers)
*for* general audiences. Their games are easy to understand and
teach, with short rule sets, so they're easy to introduce to
skeptical new players. However, the games are clever enough
in their mechanics to keep analytical types engaged. Everybody
has fun, so Crazy Eights players and Bridge players can meet at
the same table.
Elliott C. "Eeyore" Evans
|If there's one thing geeks love, it's customization. The mod culture,
the Do It Yourself (DIY) culture, they both run very strong in the geek community.
Treehouse and Icehouse Pieces fit right into that niche. One
Treehouse set, and you've already got a variety of games with the
ability to create more. More Treehouse sets, and you've got the
ability to tap into the vast DIY culture and history of Icehouse. From
custom-made pieces to unique fan-created games, every aspect of the
system taps into the dig-in-and-do vibe that most geeks have in
spades. Nearly all the Looney Labs games tap into that same aesthetic
-- Fluxx, Chrononauts, NanoFictionary, they don't only allow for
customization, they practically -ask- for it. The open-source geeks
will love the idea of being able to write and wiki any kind of games
There's also the collector's aesthetic that most geeks love --
Treehouse/Icehouse in particular lends itself to the Dragon Dice /
Magic: the Gathering player's habits, but a complete set can be had
without breaking the bank!
And the bonus is that customized or out of the box, the games are just
as engaging for the family and friends of geeks. Fluxx in particular
makes a great party game for everything from kids birthdays to family
Thanksgiving, late-night college fests and low-key nights at home.
The rules are usually 'a moment to learn, a lifetime to master' and
because they're very down to earth and tech-simple themselves, they
lack any stigma that some other 'geek' games have on them.
Laurie J. Rich
feminist poet geek
Fluxx tickles a common geek funny-bone; geeks tend to love anything meta, or higher-order. A game in which the cards change the rules of the game as you play allows geeks to manipulate the game from within the game, satisfying that meta-hacking instinct, and is also just fun for geeks who like to tinker and change things. I usually get more fun out of setting up interesting combinations of rules (draw 4, play 5, X=X+1, or maybe draw 5, play 1, first play random, better watch out for that 10 cards in hand goal) that just make the game chaotic and crazy, or that make the strategy change in interesting ways, than I do by trying to win.
Icehouse is an ideal geek game system. It is a modular, reusable component, much more elegant and efficient than the the bulky, single use boards and pieces used by most games. It has proven to be a wonderful system for experimentation and game design, as an open system that anyone can tinker with. Furthermore, numerous Icehouse games are great geek games; RAMbots lets you program robots, Zendo is a beautiful game of inductive logic, Homeworlds is a great game of scientific conquest, and so on. The sheer elegance, beauty, and simplicity of the Icehouse game system, combined with the great games that are available for it, make it my absolute favorite game system, and in fact several of the games are my favorite games.
Educational Games Programmer
I think that one of the geekiest things about the Looney Labs games is
the way people find out about them. Either you see them in a FLGS
(Friendly Local Game Store) that often carries other geek staples like
D&D, Magic and stuff like that - or you hear about them more often
than not on the internet or at gaming conventions. I've also seen
them for sale at comic conventions, Ren Faires - anywhere that geeks
congregate. The whole homegrown nature of what the Looney's have done with the games and
their business really appeals to the "Make" culture of doing things for
yourself. Open sourcing things - making the development of new games
open to beta testers....These are all geek things....
Pyramids are just cool. It's like a modern deck of cards. Such
simple pieces that are easily recognisable, but so wide in the variety
of games you can play. Cheap to get into to play things like
Treehouse and Martian Coasters. A little more can give you many many
more options. But unlike Collectible Card Games, there's a finite
limit to what you need to get to be able to play everything. Want
more variety? Go check out some games online! Got an idea for a
game? Design it, get other fans to play test it, and then post it
online to share the wealth.
I was introduced to Fluxx at a Hacker's convention (the non-pejorative
version of that term) while eating lunch. Someone came over, asked if
a group of us wanted to play this game called Fluxx, and began
playing. I missed most of the rest of the conference that day.
Looney Labs Games appeal to some very basic geek instincts - Fluxx has
a very "software" feel to it - you're changing variables, trying to
match changing conditions, and those conditions are almost all boolean
conditions. Try to program Fluxx (and so many have!) and you realize
how much like a program the game mechanics are.
And what Geek hasn't wanted to travel through time? Chrononauts gives
you a time machine and a timeline to play with! The "programmer"
influence there is obvious as well - rules for changing the timeline
are boolean operators.
Not only are the pyramids visually "futuristic", but their games
tap into many of the same themes that geeks fall into: RAM-bots is
programming with pyramids, while Zendo is a deep game of logic couched
in mystical terms.
And then it comes as no surprise that all these spring from someone
who is a geek himself. Everything about Andy screams "geek". Who but
a geek would create a room in his house wallpapered with maps? Who
but a geek would install a model train running through multiple rooms
in their house? Populate the rooms with pinball and videogames,
including a videogame he wrote? Assemble his storm-trooper action
figures into a kick-line? While there are many geeks that are
programmers, and many geeks that are involved in the space program,
Andy Looney is a geek who now makes his living making wonderful games
for other geeks like us to enjoy. Thanks Andy!
Allen "Prisoner" Firstenberg
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or call (301) 441-1019